Kiwis spend up large on video games

Kiwis are spending more than ever on video games and related hardware.

Kiwis are spending more than ever on video games and related hardware, forking out $400 million last year.

According to the latest figures from the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA), sales of games, hardware and accessories rose 13% in 2015.

Both traditional retail sales and digital sales increased, by 4.5% and 18% respectively. Retail sales hit $136 million and digital sales hit $256 million, including sales of hardware, packaged games, subscriptions, digital sales and mobile games.

IGEA chief executive Ron Curry says the industry’s growth is a testament to this country’s strong gaming culture.

“New Zealanders are keen on early access to games, with one in four buyers willing to pay in advance to play a game before the official release date,” he says.

“While there is no doubt that there has been diversification in the games market, retail sales were also strong.”

Research from analyst firm Telsyte agreed with market data from NPD group that suggested the popularity of current generation consoles – such as the Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U and Playstation 4 – led to increased digital game downloads last year.

“New Zealanders’ appetite for digital downloads of full games has grown strongly and is set to make up around a third of all game sales this year,” Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi says.

Offshore sales 
The local video game industry jumped to 568 employees by August last year, according to separate research from the Game Developers Association. While it was the largest increase in the previous three years, the 27 studios involved posted flat revenue, suggesting New Zealand's increasing spend may be headed offshore. 

Local employees fell by at least 159 when French-owned Gameloft NZ, the largest studio in this country, closed this year. 

More than 82% of revenue for New Zealand's gaming industry comes from offshore, enabled by digital distribution platforms. 

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