MCV had the opportunity to speak to Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA), about the future of the Australian market.
What are the major challenges as you see them for the Australian market in the next year?
Whilst the games industry is forecast to enjoy steady growth over the next 5 years, there are still some challenges facing the local industry. The predominant challenge is how business models will adapt to deal with the increased popularity of e-commerce and digital distribution.
Classification remains a challenge in Australia for exactly the same reason. In fact, generallly classification remains a challenge, R18+ aside, as government and bureaucrats try to ascertain how to deal with the impacts and uncertainties introduced by these new business models.
How has the iGEA's focus shifted to stay in touch with the industry in the last two years?
The Board of iGEA has undertaken a strategic review recently and set ourselves a plan which we review and amend regularly to ensure we meet our primary objective of helping to ensure there’s a business and legislative environment that supports our Members’ businesses to grow.
One of the key expectations our Members look for is the ability and opportunity to connect – with each other, with the consumer, with the wider entertainment industry, media and with government. iGEA aims to facilitate these complex connections via events such as Industry Briefings, quarterly Member meetings, the formation of Membership committees to work on submissions to government as and when they arise, regular retail meetings and even our inaugural soccer tournament which was held last week.
All of these activities help us stay informed with regard to wider industry issues and other important issues affecting our Members.
What are the main things the general public in Australia and New Zealand don't understand about videogames and gamers?
Essentially, that “gamers” are not a minority group – it is the exact opposite with non-gamers being now the minority. We know that gamers aren’t the stereotypical fat dirty teenagers with pizza stains on their shirt, that haven’t left the house for a month and ready to shoot anyone they don’t like.
Unfortunately, mainstream media likes to perpetuate the myth, although luckily for us, the stories are getting fewer and further between. Slowly, people are listening (and playing games themselves) and some are even beginning to realise that nearly half of the population gaming is actually female and the majority are over 32 years old. Wait until you see our DANZ12 research report and we can further bust those ridiculous myths!
The average Australian and New Zealander also doesn’t realise just how big the industry is from an entertainment perspective. Who would have thought so many video games are now everyday well-known franchises, many of which break any sort of movie or music record ever set when they are released?
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