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Thursday, 05 November 2009 06:00

Australian Interactive Games industry nudges $2 billion

Recession proof? Not quite, whilst numbers announced today show green upward arrows across the board for the videogame industry, there were some shaky moments through 2009 for Australians in the business of bringing consumers living room fun.

The iGEA (interactive Games and Entertainment Association) in Australia is a collective of local publishers involved in the video game market place.  Today saw the IGEA release an analysis of the sector as provided by the independent market research firm GfK.

According to GfK this year sees the industry tracking 8.3 percent higher than for the same time in 2008. This puts the interactive entertainment market on track to record retail sales of AU$1.96 billion for the year.

Sales of console hardware has risen 10 per cent, and game sales are up 5 percent to AU$716 million with the Christmas bonanza still to come.

Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association said, ”The rise of family entertainment as a genre continues to underpin much of the industry’s growth, family console games now account for 32 percent of all games sold, followed by action (13.2%).”

“Family entertainment games outstripped action games for the first time last year, accounting for 28 per cent of all games software sales whilst action games accounted for 15.5 per cent.”

“Interactive games are played by all generations across the entire household and publishers continue to produce quality games to meet the demand.  In terms of classification, 67 per cent of all sales were generated from G or PG rated titles,” Mr Curry said.

Given Australia is yet to see a game classification system that includes an R18+ rating, along with the continued success of the Nintendo Wii and DS hand-held console, it is not surprising that figures are skewed towards G and PG titles.

“Christmas will see iGEA members delivering a number of highly anticipated games, along with some surprises, which should see sales surpass the records set in 2008.”

“Australia’s interactive games industry continues to see healthy growth now that video and computer gaming has become as mainstream in popularity, as watching television or surfing the net,” Mr Curry said.

Not everything has been rosy for the interactive entertainment industry in Australia for 2009.  At the beginning of the year, Fallout 3 and Resident Evil 5 distributer, Red Ant was closed down

More recently, Heroes Over Europe developer Transmission Games, based in Melbourne for over a decade, closed its doors last month.  After the cancellation of some major products Transmission Games endeavoured to struggle along for a short period before succumbing to jittery clientele pulling further deals from the team.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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