Game Developers Conference at AUT University on September 19.
Datum: 11. September 2014 03:19
A survey of 30 NZ Games Developers Association members found revenue from games and apps more than doubled to $80.2 million in the year to March, 90 per cent of those earnings coming from digital software exports.
The association said digital distribution platforms such as Apple's AppStore and Steam meant distance to market was no longer a challenge for local developers.
"Interactive entertainment software is a hi-tech weightless export industry that creates New Zealand-owned IP [intellectual property] and competes on a global scale," said association chairman Ben Kenobi. "Interactive games are a serious business in New Zealand."
The association said a cluster of well-established studios were driving the industry's revenue growth.
Major local developers include Auckland's Grinding Gear Games - developer of Path of Exile, which has seven million players - and NinjaKiwis, whose Bloons TD Battles has been downloaded more than 10 million times.
But the sector's growth could be impeded by a slump in the creation of new start-ups and internationally successful developers said Kenobi - a Star Wars fan who changed his surname by deed poll.
He said developers found it difficult to get money from government creative sector funding programmes and funding programmes targeted at the IT industry.
"We can't really access any of those funds so it's hard for people to start up new studios and also for the smaller studios to expand."
Private investment, including crowd funding, was another option for expanding the industry, but it could be difficult to obtain.
New Zealand's video game sector employs 450 full-time developers and several hundred more part-timers, the survey shows.
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The association cited Finland as an example of the industry's potential, saying its interactive game development sector was worth more than US$3 billion last year.
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"Hopefully we can attract more investors next year and start to build up this industry," Kenobi said.
"It's going to take us a while to get to the level of Finland, but I think we're definitely capable of doing it skills wise."
The association has launched a $25,000 start-up competition - the Kiwi Game Starter - which aims to raise awareness of the challenges facing local developers.
Three finalists will pitch their prototypes and business plans to a panel of judges during the New Zealand Game Developers Conference at AUT University on September 19.
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