11 Dec 2020

NZ games industry 'proves particularly resilient during the pandemic'

5:43 pm on 11 December 2020

Exports from the game development sector grew 60 percent in the year to April, but the industry is worried there's not enough support to sustain the growth.

Adult entertainments. Back view of concentrated young man is sitting at desk with friends and playing car racing video game using steering wheel. Males are wearing headphones and resting in background

Photo: 123rf

Figures from the New Zealand Game Developers Industry Survey show the interactive media sector earned $323.9 million in the year to April, an increase of $121m on the year earlier.

Game Developers Association chair Chelsea Rapp said the industry benefited from being able to continue production during lockdowns and soaring demand as people around the world stayed home.

"Almost all of local creators' income came from overseas audiences.

"The games industry has proven itself particularly resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic, both here in New Zealand and around the world. We are uniquely positioned to contribute to our economic recovery with weightless digital exports, but that growth will depend heavily on our ability to support young and emerging enterprises."

The 10 largest studios earned 95 percent of this revenue, however three-quarters of studios are small - employing five people or less. Rapp said the assocation was concerned by the lack of support to grow these firms.

Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications David Clark said that was something the government would address through its Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan.

"The plan will collectively help us set the direction for the digital technologies sector for the next 20 to 30 years. As these results highlight, we have a strong foundation for future growth, and an opportunity to leverage our creativity and success to date to build a truly global industry based here in New Zealand.

"I am confident that this industry will continue to help our economic recovery from Covid-19 through delivering weightless exports, continuing to create jobs throughout New Zealand, and by developing a range of products for a global audience, whether they be an entertainment game, or a serious game that supports mental wellbeing or health and safety training."

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