Revenue in the Australian video game industry has risen to $345.5 million, up 21% on the FY2022, according to the latest data from the Australian Game Developer Survey (AGDS).
The eighth annual survey, from peak industry body, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) corroborates Australian consumer sales data released earlier this year, showing the ongoing popularity of locally-made video games.
And it also shows the importance of government support for the sector and its ongoing growth, with 51% of the 111 studios surveyed saying they hope to applly for the hard-fought-for Digital Games Tax Offset (DGTO), while 49% are already accessing some form of government funding. Among those is the recently reinstated Australian Interactive Games Fund (AIGF) from Screen Australia, and boosts in games funding from Victoria and Queensland.
Interestingly, Victoria has the lion’s share of employees in the sector at 41% of the national total, with 29% of studios based there. While NSW is in second place with it comes to market share of studios at 22%, the state’s full-time employee (FTE) numbers are well behind Queensland’s at 16%. The Sunshine State has 20% of studios and 25% of total FTEs.
IGEA CEO Ron Curry said the survey shows how that stage and federal support shapes the sector, with Australian studios committing to the development of more projects, with more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) predicting income growth.
“79% of studios have less than 20 employees, and nearly half of all studios (45%) have existed for less than five years, highlighting growth in independent and emerging businesses,” he said.
“With continued government support to ensure success in our industry, we will likely see our younger studios turn into veterans – like the 32% of Australian studios that are 10 years or older today. We even have 63% of studios planning on hiring over this financial year, creating 200+ new jobs.”
Overall, gaming in Australia now employees nearly 2,500 people, a 17% increase on 12 months earlier.
Curry said that nonetheless it was a challenging time for the industry and some studios are really feeling the effects.
“Funding and support must continue to ensure the long-term growth and success of the Australian industry so we can maintain the positive trajectory and continue contributing to the Australian economy and talent development,” he said.
The survey also revealed that Australian studios face a range of challenges including access to early-stage development funding, international publisher deals, and hiring specialised talent when local talent is hard to come by. As a consequence many studios have turned to remote hiring offshore to lower costs and unlock the potential of hiring interstate or international talent.
The good news, Curry said, is that diversity in local studios is increasing with 26% of developers identifying as women and 5% identifying as trans, non-binary, or gender diverse.
“Our incredible local studios continue to perform on the global stage – 87% of our video game revenue comes from outside Australia into the local economy and 19% of our game developers who responded are receiving investment from overseas businesses, ” he said.
“There is always potential for our local industry to grow sustainably, and thanks to the survey’s respondents we can now target the issues affecting local studios with renewed certainty and clarity.”