The number of people employed by the New Zealand video game industry has increased by 46% to the equivalent of 359 full-time jobs nationwide, according to the New Zealand Game Developer’s Association (NZGDA). In addition, developers expect to add another ninety-nine jobs over the next twelve-month period.
All in all, twenty-one game studios were surveyed with fifty-nine video games between them. 77% of studios have at one point self-published their own games. Most of them are small studios publishing indie games for the iOS (73%) and Android (35%) markets with only 30% developing games for the console market.
The main reason for this is that New Zealand’s geographic isolation from the rest of the world makes traditional game publishing too expensive to be competitive in the industry and therefore pushed Kiwi developers into online self distribution.
Analysis: I do actually live in New Zealand currently, and I suspect this news isn’t only good from an employment perspective but also a bit of Schadenfreude. This is due to how the Australian video game industry has faced massive layoffs as big companies like Krome, THQ Australia, and especially Team Bondi have shut their doors in recent months for various reasons.
That being said, the Aussie video game industry is still several times larger than the New Zealand industry and the Kiwis rely on independent publishing of smaller games.
It just goes to show how much things like the Apple App store and Steam have opened up a whole new avenue of income for small developers worldwide that might not have existed otherwise.