MCV spoke to Antony Reed from the GDAA today, who argues that the grim figures reported by the ABS are lacking in some crucial details.
So the Australian Bureau of Statistics is reporting a decline in the games development sector in Australia. Do you agree with their appraisal of how big the industry is now?
One of the things which stood out for me was the number of studios they had listed, which was 84. We actually have over 180 registered developers in the country, so I'm quite curious as to why they didn't identify them.
And what about the overall estimate of the Australian industry's income of AUD$89.4 million?
In terms of the income sheets, I pretty much agree with that. If you look at the 2011/2012 year, a lot of the big successes that we had (and we of course have the obvious inclination to point towards the Fruit Ninjas of the world here) weren't generating the levels of revenues that they had in years prior.
There is going to be a natural decline, because as you look at the number of small, independent studios just getting started which are just working on their first products, they're not going to generate those kinds of revenues until their fourth or sixth title.
I thought that what was profoundly interesting about it was that inasmuch as they mentioned the industry's revenue, they never really compared it to those creative industries which are heavily supported by the Federal government.
You mean film and TV, for example?
Yeah, exactly. So these industries will receive in the order of tens of millions of dollars every year in support and subsidies. Then there's the games industry, which only receives a very small fraction of that, and yet our operating profits are higher than the other sectors.
This is an industry which has done it on its own, and has proved that we were able to restructure and withstand the global financial crisis and appeal to the global market. It's now starting to wade through and rebuild itself, and it's done it without subsidy.
And do you think that's generally recognised by people reading those stats?
I think it should be highlighted more. It's not the ABS' job to do that, but I think it's something that's very quickly overlooked if you do direct number comparisons. It doesn't tell the full story. At all.