Australian Gaming Industry Thriving, Not Dying, Says Developer

Australian Gaming Industry Thriving, Not Dying, Says Developer

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Big studios might be closing, but that doesn't mean the Australian videogame industry is on its knees.

Australian videogame professional, Stephan Shutze says that, despite appearances to the contrary, the Australian videogame industry is not in trouble. Shutze says that people are mourning the death of an industry that isn't even "wounded."

Shutze said that the Australian industry - which has seen several large studios close in the last 18 months - was changing, and while those changes were difficult and often painful, they were a metamorphosis rather than death throes. Shutze compared the Australian videogame industry to the American film industry, which migrated from massive studios of the early part of the 20th century, to the smaller production studios we have today. The film industry evolved to survive, he said, just as the Australian game industry was doing.

He argued that the videogame industry might have grown too fast and said that the rise of casual and free games - an area where Australia led the world, he noted - had taken the large companies by surprise. He said that if the Australian industry could evolve into a more agile version of itself, with people moving between projects often, rather than working for the same company for years and years, it would not only help it grow, it would put it in a great position to compete with the rest of the world.

"Smaller independent studios have rushed in and achieved success in many surprising ways," he said. "Even individual developers are creating a living for themselves producing small titles. And before you discount this as relevant to the survival of an industry, ask how many film producers can generate a living income by themselves."

Shutze's comments don't really seem limited to just Australia: studios all over the world are closing down and/or losing staff. Shutze is also not the first person to suggest that the videogame industry may have grown a little too quickly for its own good. What Shutze is suggesting, however, is that the videogame isn't bubble bursting, it's reshaping into a new, smaller form that is more resilient.

Source: The Age via MCV

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I read somewhere in the last couple of weeks that the Australian government wants to put millions of dollars worth of funding into the game industry here... obviously riding on the wave of LA Noire and their connections to Team Bondi.

I think it's a great idea - you don't have to be in America or Japan to be brilliant... the Witcher is from Poland, Bioware from Canada and .. well I can't think of anything else but it would be awesome to have a developer here who didn't just make mediocre games.

Might help in lowering the goddamn price as well.. $110 AUD for games when the Aussie dollar is hovering around parity with the greenback is infuriating.

This might be the case but we still cant deny that Blue Tongue closing was a big loss for our industry

Makes perfect sense. Those large companies closed, not because of a dying industry, but because they failed to anticipate and meet consumer needs. If a company invests large amounts of money into many failing projects, that company will die. That is all we are talking about, failed investments on the part of the large companies. I'm not surprised smaller studios are still doing well and the single developer model is very popular right now. It all says really fantastic things about the industry. Mostly that big expensive schools that "teach" you how to make videogames are not necessarily the answer to success in the industry, nor is getting a job at a prominent developer.

uguito-93:
This might be the case but we still cant deny that Blue Tongue closing was a big loss for our industry

I'm still mourning the loss of Pandemic Studios, yeah sure they made some games that didn't exactly do so well...

...but they also made Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, Destroy All Humans!1/2 and Star Wars: Battlefront I/II.

Damn you EA!

The Australian gaming industry can thrive all they like, it will still suck unless they finally get a M18 rating in there somewhere.

Really? Whenever I hear news about the Australian game industry, it's always either related to the R18+ rating, or about another studio closing down after either its second or third game. This may be because I'm not looking in the right places, or because news about indie or casual games isn't generally worth reporting, but from what I can tell, the Aussie industry is far from flourishing.

On that note, I love the idea that Australia is supposedly "leading the world" in casual and indie games, whilst Microsoft doesn't seem to think it's even worth adding an "indie" section to the Aussie live arcade on the XBox.

inglioti:
I read somewhere in the last couple of weeks that the Australian government wants to put millions of dollars worth of funding into the game industry here... obviously riding on the wave of LA Noire and their connections to Team Bondi.

I think it's a great idea - you don't have to be in America or Japan to be brilliant... the Witcher is from Poland, Bioware from Canada and .. well I can't think of anything else but it would be awesome to have a developer here who didn't just make mediocre games.

Might help in lowering the goddamn price as well.. $110 AUD for games when the Aussie dollar is hovering around parity with the greenback is infuriating.

You mean the same Team Bondi that was sold off like a gutted fish a few months after that release?

Not exactly the kind of thing I'd want to be associated with.

Yeah, those game prices are criminal. No wonder why they prefers casual and free games.

Anyway, as much as I like the small indie guys, I wouldn't necessarily want to bury the projects made by larger teams, as long as they are MANAGED WELL. I know that is really tough to do, but so many nice things have been made that way, and it would be a shame to see that go.

I live around the corner from Activision head office in Sydney. I wonder what joyous work goes on in there ... 0.0 ... and I wonder if they're hiring. Not that I could do anything besides write stories, play test, and do voice acting for them.

uzo:
I live around the corner from Activision head office in Sydney. I wonder what joyous work goes on in there

Oh, all the fun and frollicks you get at any Distributor HQ, which is mostly what Activision's Oz branch does - national distribution for Oz.

Andronicus:
or about another studio closing down after either its second or third game.

Part of the problem was that Australia had a larger industry than it could realistically support, propped up by many of the studios working on shitty, shitty movie tie-in titles and other throw away crap all made affordable back when the Aussie dollar was weak... as the AU$ has grown in strength those jobs have moved to countries with much weaker currencies and economies. Simply put, there isn't enough work going around to support the number of studios we had.

Sadly one of the victims of this was Melbourne House, one of the oldest 3rd party game developers in the world. :(

In other news Marvel Comics shut its doors today, signifying the thriving state of the American Comic Book Industry.

Logan Westbrook:
Shutze's comments don't really seem limited to just Australia: studios all over the world are closing down and/or losing staff. Shutze is also not the first person to suggest that the videogame industry may have grown a little too quickly for its own good. What Shutze is suggesting, however, is that the videogame isn't bubble bursting, it's reshaping into a new, smaller form that is more resilient.

That would still be a bubble bursting. "Growing too quickly for its own good" and then scaling back down rapidly is the definition of a burst bubble.

Fronzel:

Logan Westbrook:
Shutze's comments don't really seem limited to just Australia: studios all over the world are closing down and/or losing staff. Shutze is also not the first person to suggest that the videogame industry may have grown a little too quickly for its own good. What Shutze is suggesting, however, is that the videogame isn't bubble bursting, it's reshaping into a new, smaller form that is more resilient.

That would still be a bubble bursting. "Growing too quickly for its own good" and then scaling back down rapidly is the definition of a burst bubble.

Not really. A burst bubble indicates a complete collapse, which isn't what Shutze is suggesting is happening.

Shutze compared the Australian videogame industry to the American film industry, which migrated from massive studios of the early part of the 20th century, to the smaller production studios we have today. The film industry evolved to survive, he said, just as the Australian game industry was doing.

<facepalm>
ok well maybe the movie industry migrated from big studios to small ones in the begining of 20th century. however what we have now is many "smalle" studios owned by big sutdios. and they own like 97% of americas cinema.

Iron Lightning:
In other news Marvel Comics shut its doors today, signifying the thriving state of the American Comic Book Industry.

wait really?

I thourght marvel was HUGE....you know with movies and such

or are you talking about the actual comic book part, like making and publishing new comic books? if what your saying is true

Fuck the Steel Industry, fuck farming, fuck all of it! This is where it is at my fellow Australians. WE shall be the worlds largest entertainment creator and distributor!!! and also mining

Vault101:

Iron Lightning:
In other news Marvel Comics shut its doors today, signifying the thriving state of the American Comic Book Industry.

wait really?

I thourght marvel was HUGE....you know with movies and such

or are you talking about the actual comic book part, like making and publishing new comic books? if what your saying is true

Seriously? No, fool, that was just an analogy. All I'm saying is the Australian gaming industry being "thriving" after so many Australian game companies crashing is just as ridiculous as saying the American comic book industry would be thriving in the event of Marvel Comics crashing. Rest assured, if something that devastating happened you would've heard about it.

uguito-93:
This might be the case but we still cant deny that Blue Tongue closing was a big loss for our industry

Word! My brother worked for a certain Victorian developer that will remain nameless. They got bought out twice and then culled the majority of their staff. I believe they're doing mobile phone games now. My bro is now off to Canada to try and resurrect his career over there. First stops, Bioware and Ubisoft Montreal ;-)
I've met a couple of now ex-Blue Tongue guys through him, and it's a shame what happened to them.

 

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