Game on: home-grown video game employment grows 46%

The New Zealand video game development industry grew by 46% to 359 equivalent full-time jobs in the 12 months to September.

The New Zealand video game development industry grew by 46% to 359 equivalent full-time jobs in the 12 months to September.

The New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA) surveyed 21 games studios in September based in New Zealand, with the vast majority New Zealand owned, chairman Stephen Knightly said.

Game development jobs were on the up in the 12 months to September with 114 created, and local game developers expected to create 99 new jobs in the next 12 months, the survey said.  Approximately 40% of these would be for programmers, 40% for artists and 20% for managers, it said.

Mr Knightly said this was exciting.

“Unlike some other kinds of tech startups, interactive games studios have an large addressable market hungry for product and can generate cash-flow reasonably early in their history.”

Studios which took part in the survey included Sidhe, SmallWorlds, a social game world which has over seven million players, Cerebral Fix, NinjaKiwi, whose online game Bloons has been played over one billion times, and Grinding Gear Games.

The studios surveyed were developing 59 games collectively and 77% of these studios had self published their own original games, the survey said.

Mr Knightly said games studios were export businesses who increasingly retained their intellectual property in New Zealand.  According to Gartner Research the global video games industry would earn over $US74 billion this year.

“Globally, the games industry already earns more than Hollywood and local developers are getting their share of that pie,”

The NZGDA said that 99% of games developed in New Zealand were designed for international markets and exported.

Digital distribution had made it easier for studios to sell directly to a global audience, Mr Knightly said.

New Zealand studios had capitalized on the rise of smart phones and online gaming, with 73% of studios producing an iPhone game in the past three years, 42% producing an online browser-based game.  Of the studios surveyed, 30% had developed console games, 35% downloadable PC games and 35% Android games.

The NZGDA said 23% of New Zealand studios had received some form of angel or venture capital funding in recent years.

Mr Knightly said New Zealand’s distance from the rest of the world meant local game developers were early adopters of online digital distribution and publishing.

“We’re seeing the positive results of that investment now.”

For a look at some of New Zealand's successful games, set to a mean soundtrack, check out the NZDGA's video below:


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