New Zealand’s Game Development industry continues to grow and talented artists and developers are in demand. The industry earned a record $143 million in the last financial year, a rise of 43 per cent on the previous year, and the government is keen to grow the sector so it is the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025.
According to an independent survey of 41 New Zealand Game Developers Association studios found 93 per cent of revenue came from exports of digital creative software, and the number of artists and developers employed in the industry by 10 per cent.
These underlying factors are part of the reason, Yoobee School of Design has found students keen to embark on their career with them. Kieran Smith, Head of Faculty at Yoobee in Wellington says, “With government interest and support of the interactive media industry this is an incredible opportunity to put New Zealand on the map. It’s a fast moving, competitive industry and is an exciting area for us here at Yoobee. New Zealand has a surprisingly vast and diverse games development industry that’s really pushing the boundaries of traditional game development, as well as cutting edge development in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. There’s a huge amount of interest from students and we’re excited to be able to be a part of this amazing tech frontier”.
He continued, “We offer a programme that students can develop a broad range of fundamental Game Art and Development skillsets over the first year with the opportunity to move into specialist areas of interest as they proceed through the second year of the course.
Our goal is for students to be able to move directly from this qualification into the Games Industry as a member of an established studio in broad range of art and/or technical roles or to be able to produce their own projects as an indie-developer in their own right.”
Recent Yoobee graduate, Jonathan Adams completed a Graduate Diploma in Game Art & Development and worked at Mixt studios in Wellington before branching out into freelance opportunities. He says, “Nowadays there are a lot of skills you can learn online, but they can never substitute the environment and structure that I got out of the games course at Yoobee. The course gave me good foundational skills, as well as setting me up to succeed in an entry level position. It also taught me how to teach myself, by getting me to find the career path I want, and showing me how to find the content that will help me get there”.
He adds, “With the recent government recognition of the industry’s growth, it’s important to acknowledge that the entertainment industry is highly scalable and competitive. One year a business might make a profit, then next it may double, but they don’t have to hire any new staff. Personally I think this is the time to create your own entity. That’s where I’m focused, as there is potential in a growth industry to really drill down and develop cool products. There’s lots of talent around, and it’s an exciting and challenging time!”
With CNBC reporting in July 2018 that gamers around the world were likely to spend around $138 billion on games this year, and predictions that the video gaming trend will only accelerate, as engagement grows with young people, women and on college campuses, there’s no doubt this is an industry on a global fast growth trajectory. New Zealand will benefit from getting on board.