Victoria, Australia – the self-dubbed Creative State is investing in the future of entertainment media, digitals games.
Home to the largest employment sector of digital games in Australia, Victoria has shown no signs of slowing down when it comes to supporting the $138 billion a year global gaming industry. With heavy-hitters under its belt, like Melbourne International Games Week and the Melbourne Esports Open, Victoria has proven that they are committed to welcoming a new era of gaming celebration.
To find out more on how Victoria is supporting the future of the gaming industry, our team spoke to the Senior Manager for Digital Games and Fashion of Creative Victoria, Fran Kerlin.
Tell us a little bit about Creative Victoria?
FK: Creative Victoria is the arm of government that champions and supports the creative industries – fashion, design, screen, art, music, performance, etc. Digital games are one of our most exciting creative sectors with unprecedented growth both in studios establishing themselves and also game output.
Victoria is a games powerhouse, home to more than half of Australia’s industry, something we are very proud of and work to strengthen. With Victorian Government investment, Creative Victoria runs industry-related programs across the year, designed to boost export potential, enrich the sector through working with educational institutions and build job capacity.
What kind of projects does your department support that contributes to the games industry?
FK: Running annually in October, Melbourne International Games Week is our premier event! This is the biggest game event in Asia Pacific and includes programs such as an industry conference, developer days, an education summit for teachers and so much more. A huge accomplishment for us this year was seeing PAX Aus attract its largest audience ever. The full program encompassed over 30 events and activations that saw over 80,000 people attend.
In collaboration with Film Victoria, we also support international engagement by taking Victorian delegations to the world’s largest games industry events – GDC in San Francisco and Gamescom in Germany. Also, this year, we took twelve Australian studios to Seattle, Washington, on a curated trip to spend time with decision-makers from Nintendo, Microsoft, Epic Games, Valve, Unity, and others. This free trip presented some amazing opportunities to build international connections, secure business deals and have their games reviewed by experts!
Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW) attracts the newest games and innovative technology from Australia and around the world.
Source: Melbourne International Games Week Gallery (Photos by @GAZIPHOTO)
Why do you feel it’s vital that Victoria supports local talent in the games industry?
FK: Victoria is currently home to over 50% of Australia’s digital games studios. Additionally, there are over 20 tertiary institutions that teach subjects relating to game development, ensuring a steady supply of graduates with a passion for games. Our local games industry is full of talent, skills, and ideas, and our studios are producing global hits. We’re in this for the long haul, so it’s important to grow the games industry in a sustainable way. We want to ensure our local talent is recognized, celebrated and committed to remaining in Victoria where they can thrive.
What are some of the upcoming trends you see taking off in the next five years?
FK: The development of VR and AR continues to gather momentum with more and more applications coming online. Just this year we saw the release of our first AR-inspired fashion collection! Also, 2020 is going to be a big year for the release of new hardware, and there are also some big titles coming our way. Rapid change within the industry is leading to the spawning of so many new ideas for both technology and its use.
How can Victorians support their local games industry?
FK: There are many events that take place in Melbourne – Melbourne International Games Week, the Melbourne Esports Open, a massive event that sees the eyes of the world upon us. Let’s make sure we continue to celebrate our local success stories, titles like Florence and Untitled Goose Game ensure all eyes are on Australia. There are plenty of Victorian made games to enjoy!
Florence is an interactive storybook developed by Aussie game developers, Mountain.
How do you see Fortress Australia fitting with Creative Victoria?
FK: Very easily! Esports continues to grow and prosper with enormous interest here in Australia and on the international stage. Up until now, there has not been a dedicated venue for esports players to come together to play, learn and celebrate their achievements. Fortress Melbourne will be a great addition to the culture of games here in Victoria.
Thank you to Fran Kerlin and her team for opening our eyes to the amount of support that goes behind grassroots projects in Victoria.
With education being a key pillar for Fortress Australia, it’s important to us that we help spread the word and support local Australian talent.
Make sure to visit Creative Victoria for more information and support your local Australian indie game developers!
Photo credit: Melbourne International Games Week Gallery (Photos by @GAZIPHOTO)