Game Devlopement in NZ
The games industry is a big business, its a billion dollar a year market and Its slowly growing in New Zealand but with help from the government it could grow much much faster.
Much much faster.
Growth in any industry is important, it creates more jobs, brings in more money to the national economy and in some cases can bring positive attention (some thing this country loves).
In recent years we have seen this type growth in our film industry, more specifically the post production and props sector of it. Company’s like Weta Workshops, Weta digital and ParkRoad post production have all had increases in work given to them from major Hollywood studios. These company’s have all expanded to accommodate these new projects, Weta has even started to partner with places like Victoria university to start courses to train up new employes.
This makes the government happy to give grants and benefits to people interested in making film and television in New Zealand. its both good publicity and good revenue for our economy that heavily relies on tourism .
Now if the government was to do the same sort of grants and benefits for the games industry, i could see the same level of growth and income that our film industry has. However the government doesn’t quite see it that way.
The thing with the film industry in New Zealand is that its mostly contract work, Weta relies on contracts from other countries instead of working on content from New Zealand directors. The big thing with the games industry is that its mostly people coming up with new IP instead of the contract work.
As it was put to me a few weeks ago, in this rather good analogy. “the government sees the film industry as a factory, hundreds of people all working to produce large quantity of product for contracts”. With videogames though its not putting out tonnes of product as quickly as possible. it take time to make a game lots of time and money, in New Zealand we have tones of time its just the money we don’t have.
if i was the New Zealand government, i would totally set up something similar to “NZ On Air” or the “New Zealand Film Commission” to give grants to start-up studios to fund the creation of new ip. if done right the risk would be minimal and the benefits plentiful.
There are examples of this in other countries around the world, places like Canada and Australia both do this. Now they have a thriving indie community and large scale developers, all creating new jobs a bringing in new revenue streams.
But alas the government doesn’t quite see it the way i do, there might be something im missing being totally out of the loop when i comes to how our government is run. i do think its is possible for this to happen eventually. I know the managing director at pikpok has been actively trying to get the government to see the light, even getting them to rethink giving money to EA to open a studio here, which essentially prevented the utter cannibalization of our small but existent industry.
To get this to happen, i think its going to take “the lord of the rings” of video games to get them to change there stance. That day hope fully will come, sooner rather then later.