Game developers aim to create billion dollar export industry

The New Zealand Game Developers Association has called for an industry development plan for New Zealand’s interactive media and games sector saying it could create a billion dollar export industry by 2024.

The call is in a report,Interactive Aotearoa: Driving Growth And Wellbeing Through Interactive Media, into the social, educational and economic benefits of interactive media produced by the association with support from NZTech, WeCreate and government agencies.

According to the report the industry earned over $143m in 2018 and has grown 39 percent annually for the last six years. It says gaining one percent of the $258b global video games market would generate $258m in new exports.

It points out several countries have ralready introduced interactive industry programmes and that Finland, with a population similar to New Zealand, has an interactive sector worth $3.8b annually as the result of government support.

The chairperson of the association, Cassandra Gray, said a government industry partnership similar to those for the film and industries could produce big benefits.

“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,” she said.

“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."

The report argues that interactive media currently slips through the cracks of Government culture, media and innovation policy and calls for the establishment of a New Zealand Interactive Commission, modelled on the music and film commissions, and an interactive innovation fund.

It also recommends government screen and cultural programmes be modernised to include interactive media.

The report was launched by economic development minister Phil Twyford who, while not committing to any specific government response, said the government wanted to see the sector strengthen and grow.

“We look forward to continuing discussions with the interactive media sector on how its future potential can best be realised,” he said.

In July the government introduced a new approach to industry policy designed to grow more innovative industries in New Zealand and lift the productivity of key sectors. It proposed creating industry transformation plans for different sectors and Twyford said the Interactive Aotearoa report would help shape a future industry transformation plan for the creative industries sector.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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