The Growing Potential of New Zealand’s Gaming Industry

The Island Now

According to Phil Twyford, the Economic Development Minister of New Zealand, the local gaming industry will be worth $1 billion by 2024. During the 2019 financial year, the gaming market earned $203.4 million (double compared to 2017) and it is predicted that the industry will continue to grow.

More and more software development companies are starting to create top-notch casino games to play on the go or realistic plots with amazing graphics. So what is going to happen with the NZ gaming industry in the future? Will it continue to expand? We conducted our own survey and researched the topic in more detail.

Gaming in New Zealand: forecasts

Gaming is considered the fastest-growing segment and industry in New Zealand. Around 60% of game development studios in NZ say that they are planning to grow by 10% over the next years. At the moment, there are almost 700 specialists that work on developing games but with an annual 42% growth, the shortage of skills and developers becomes a problem.

Just imagine: during 2019, New Zealand’s game development studios have earned $203.4 million dollars (compared to $99.9 million in 2017). However, 96% of the revenues come from exports. These figures were published by the NZ Game Developers Industry Survey.

It’s chairperson, Cassandra Gray, says that such outstanding revenues are a result of hard work and solid governmental regulations of 39 gaming, interactive, augmented reality, virtual reality, and EdTech enterprises. She is motivated to support developers and companies further and is sure that cooperation between studios and the government is rather fruitful.

According to the same survey, the ten biggest development studios in New Zealand generate 93% of the revenues and employ 77% of the workforce. If they continue to grow at the same rates and other market participants will speed up, the total value of the NZ gaming industry will reach $1 billion by 2024.

Gaming studios are present in all segments and markets of the country. For example, 24% of development studios create applications or games for business clients or government institutions. 20% of studios work on products for colleges and universities.

63% of game studios develop mobile applications, 53% – games for personal computers, 38% – console games, 22% – augmented reality applications, and 19% – virtual reality games.

Want more proof that New Zealand’s software developers should be recon with? Well, 59% of the studios have a stable 10% yearly growth and during the last year, 8 apps built in New Zealand were launched on the Apple Arcade.

  • NinjaKiwis Bloons TD6 has occupied a leading position among paid games on App Store;
  • Grinding Gear Games: Path of Exile was among ten most played PC games of the world;
  • Valleys Between was named the Best Feel-Good Game at the International Mobile Gaming Awards.

Based on A Creative NZ and On-Air study, game development is one of the most paid and interesting occupations in the country. 31% of the roles are occupied by programmers, 29% by artists, 24% by producers and designers, and 12% by marketing and management specialists. This means that for every technical position in game development there is a 1.25 creative specialist.

Problems of the gaming industry

However, when studios were asked about the industry’s potential and growth, half of them said that a shortage of skills significantly limits business growth. In addition, the number of vacancies is slightly higher than the number of NZ specialists with the required skills. 79% shortage of skills is marked among senior specialists in technology and art while 14% of industry experts are on work visas.

Another problem that studios are facing is the lack of funding and investments in the early stages of development. Companies with good ideas simply don’t have sufficient funds to hire a team of developers and designers and are not able to remain competitive on the market.

Bright future ahead

According to Newzoo analytics, the global gaming market is going to reach $200 billion by 2023, and New Zealand game developers may significantly contribute to such a success. New Zealand has all the chances of becoming a recognized software developer considering how people love video games, how supportive the local government is, and how promising the industry is.

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