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Growth of the Gaming Industry in New Zealand and Its Internal Economic Impact

New Zealand has a growing gaming industry that spans across multiple genres. The focus in this particular segment has been the mobile gaming industry, which was already booming even before social distancing norms had to be implemented. However, after the worldwide pandemic made its appearance in 2020, online pokies and the video games industry have grown to all new heights, both in terms of popularity and business.

As the overall gaming industry continues to grow in size, it’s natural to be inquisitive about the kind of economic impacts that this growth is having on New Zealand’s economy. A brief look through some key facts and stats should help in getting a better understanding of where things are right now.

Doubling the Revenue Generation in Two Years

At the end of 2017, the video gaming sector in New Zealand had generated NZ$99.9 million, which was a significant growth already, when compared to revenues generated in the years before. That impressive number of nearly NZ$100 million in revenue pales, though, when compared with the number in last year’s report, as presented by the New Zealand Game Developers Association.

Apparently, a whopping NZ$203 million was generated in 2019 by the video games segment in New Zealand, which is more than double the amount we had seen in 2017 (NZ$99.9 million). That’s a growth of more than 200%, in just two years’ time.

Stats, Patterns, and Predictions for the Video Game Industry’s Growth in New Zealand

The following stats and projections should help us better understand how well the gaming business is doing right now, and how likely the same is likely to continue in the foreseeable future:

  • International exports accounted for 96% of the total revenues generated
  • The top ten game development teams in New Zealand together contributed about 93%, or roughly NZ$189 million
  • These top ten development studios are also the ones who employ over 77% of the employees in this sector
  • As of now, the sector is growing at a whopping 39% per year on an average
  • According to the Interactive Aotearoa, New Zealand’s video game industry should be able to pass the NZ$1 billion mark by 2025
  • No other creative tech segment has a higher average or projected growth rate than the video game industry in New Zealand
  • The survey was conducted on 39 development studios, which were responsible for all Kiwi game releases in 2019 that managed to generate revenues of any significance
  • Out of those 39 Kiwi game development/interactive studios, 59% believe that they are going to grow by 10% or more in 2020

Highest Earning Genres and Titles Fuelling Growth in the Gaming Sector

Classic pokie machines used to be a favourite gaming genre for Kiwis, but online pokies have replaced them, for the most part, these days.  As a result, Casino.Com, an online pokies site for New Zealand players is now a top-earning in 2020.

Grinding Gear Games had originally released Path of Exile in 2013, and the action MMORPG remains one of the most popular and highest-earning games in the entire genre, even in 2020.

one of the highest-earning games on the App Store last year was Bloons TD 6, and it was released by one of the top ten game development companies in New Zealand, NinjaKiwi.

Employment in the Gaming Segment

The 39 studios included in the study linked earlier, employed a workforce of 683 employees at the end of 2019. This means that growth of 24.14% was seen in the sector in terms of employment opportunities, as compared to what the number was in 2018 (550).

Going through the stats as mentioned next will help us realise that the gaming industry in New Zealand is growing with high promise for technical workers, but as far as managerial and marketing roles are concerned, this is not a prospective sector for them:

  • 133 new jobs were created and fulfilled in 2019
  • 31% of all employees in the Kiwi gaming segment are software programmers, engineers, and coders
  • Digital artists take up the second most wanted position at 29%
  • 24% of the workforce are game design experts who lead production
  • In last place, and at a lowered percentage than last year, are all roles related to marketing, sales, and management (12%)
  • The need for sales, marketing, and managerial employees is expected to be even lower in 2020
  • 47% of companies in the segment are unable to grow properly due to a lack of skilled game developers and digital artists
  • Almost 80% of the potential vacancies are for experienced software engineers and digital artists
  • Creative NZ and NZ On Air placed Kiwi game developers as being among some of the country’s highest-paid creative professionals

Growth in most luxury/entertainment related segments signifies a healthy economy, and since that growth is so massive in this particular case, New Zealand’s overall economy is certainly growing at a steady pace. How it will turn out at the end of 2020, though, is a bit uncertain due to the ongoing state of things, but we should see at least some growth within the Kiwi gaming industry even this year.