Some impressive data has come from the New Zealand Game Developer’s Association (NZGDA); the development community has seen a massive increase in revenue over the past year.
For the 2012 year through to March 31, 2013, the NZ industry grew 86 per cent, to $36.3 million. Of that, a vast majority of money came from smartphone and mobile games, which saw $31.4 million in revenue.
This is a stark contrast to what’s been happening in the Australian game development industry, which has been shrinking rapidly. That said, what is left of the Australian developers are, like their New Zealand counterparts, focused on the mobile and PC markets. It would seem then that the Australian market is poised to start growing again, as it now shares similarities to New Zealand in terms of a general absence of large development studios, but plenty of talented indies and smartphone developers.
The NZGDA now represents 33 studios in New Zealand, which combined produced 55 games in the same time frame. What is interesting is that these developers have developed an international expertise in producing licensed content; close to 20 per cent of developers have produced a game for international entertainment corporations such as Disney, the BBC, Hasbro, Lionsgate and Dreamworks.
According to the NZGDA website, some of the hit games developed in New Zealand in recent years have included:
Path of Exile by Grinding Gear Games has over 3.2 million PC gamers and was featured on the homepage of the world’s largest online PC game store Steam.
Bloons Tower Defence 5 by NinjaKiwi was a US Top 50 Grossing Paid iPhone game.
The Blockheads by Majic Jungle was a #1 US iPad game, #2 US iPhone game with over seven million downloads.
MiniGolf Matchup by RocketJump was the #1 iPhone game in 28 countries with over 10 million downloads.
Turbo Racing League by PikPok had over 30 million downloads.
Robot Unicorn Attack 2 and Giant Boulder of Death by PikPok were both #1 US iPhone games.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic by Gameloft received 17.5 million downloads.
Littlest Pet Shop by Gameloft received 15 million downloads.
Wonderzoo by Gameloft received 10.5 million downloads.
Browser-based MiniMundos by Smallworlds reached 3 million Brazilian players.
PikPok’s sister label Sidhe launched All Blacks Rugby Challenge 2 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
New Zealand is the perfect example of how a nation that is small enough to struggle to find enough talent to produce console games has developed a significant games industry by being able to reward small, talented teams who are working on mobile and PC games.
– Matt S
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld