Local game industry on path for growth

Although some larger game development studios fell over in the wake of the global financial crisis, Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA) president Tony Lawrence is confident that there's a lot of potential for the Australian gaming development industry.

GDAA president Tony Lawrence on the Australian game development industry Although some larger game development studios fell over in the wake of the global financial crisis, Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA) president Tony Lawrence is confident that there's a lot of potential for the Australian gaming development industry.

Although some larger game development studios fell over in the wake of the global financial crisis, Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA) president Tony Lawrence is confident that there's a lot of potential for the Australian gaming development industry.

In an interview with ZDNet Australia's sister site GameSpot AU's Laura Parker at GameTech 2011, Lawrence said, "What happened in the local industry was tragic to watch. Those guys built the industry into what it is today. I still speak to a lot of Aussies who have moved around the world and are doing well. It's been good and it's been bad."

Lawrence, who is also the general manager for 2K Marin, pointed to industry successes such as the Firemint games studio, which was recently bought by Electronic Arts.

He said that one of the positives coming from the harder times has been that local independent developers could benefit from it.

"The great thing about the Australian industry ... is the talent that's there. Australia, as far as development is concerned, is still a developing community that punches above its weight and I don't see that dissipating any time soon," he said.

However, Lawrence said there were still challenges for smaller publishers.

"Sure, these are smaller platforms, but the iOS market, for example, is saturated. Marketing is also a problem — having great marketing is the key to having a game that sells. The work-for-hire business model is also one we have to look at — we have a great economy, but the dollar is not great for those kind of contracts."

Lawrence also welcomed the introduction of the research and development tax credit, saying he would be interested to see what sort of impacts it would have for large and small publishers alike.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what those impacts could be. I believe it should start to encourage a lot more investment within the games development industry. We might see some big publishers moving in, we might see it easier for small studios to start to have the cash flow required to release a game, but essentially growth is what I'm seeing from the new tax credits."