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Games sector aims high

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 20 August 2019, 2:55 pm

Interactive media, which includes gaming, could become a billion-dollar industry in New Zealand within five years, according to a new report released by the New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA) this week.

The Interactive Aotearoa Report notes that the New Zealand's games industry earned over $143 million in 2018, while the global market is worth $258 billion. "Gaining one percent of the global video games market would generate $258 million in new exports. The sector has grown 39% annually for the last six years, and if an industry plan and government support maintained this growth rate then the industry would be worth one billion dollars in 2024."

NZGDA produced the report with support from NZ Tech, WeCreate and government agencies. It looks at the social, educational and economic benefits of interactive media such as games, apps, simulations and virtual reality.

NZGDA Chairperson Cassandra Gray says: "Interactive media combines two of New Zealand's strengths - our tech sector and creative industries. Our aspirational, yet achievable, goal is to see New Zealand become a billion dollar exporter of interactive media, sitting alongside our successful film and software sectors. We've made a strong start, but our sector is still young and growing."

The NZGDA is calling for the establishment of a New Zealand Interactive Commission, that is modelled on existing creative industries agencies the music and film commissions, and an interactive innovation fund. The report also recommends that Government screen and cultural programmes be modernised to include interactive media.

"Forty years ago our film industry partnered with the Government and we now have a multi-billion dollar screen industry. Twenty years ago our music industry did the same. Our interactive and games industry has reached the stage where it has the capability, skills and international opportunity to similarly contribute significant jobs, exports and social benefits," says Gray.

It points to Finland, which has a population similar to New Zealand, as having an interactive sector worth $3.8 million annually. This has come about as the result of government support.

It looks as if the NZGDA may have the ear of the Government - the report was launched by Minister of Economic Development Phil Twyford and "many of the report's recommendations are already being implemented."

Further discussion on the report and its recommendations will take place early next month at the NZGDA's conference in Wellington. In the meantime, you can read the 112-page report here


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