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NZ interactive media and games sector can be a billion dollar export industry by 2024: report

NZ interactive media and games sector can be a billion dollar export industry by 2024: report

Auckland Museum commissioned a fully interactive and customisable digital experience to add an extra dimension to an exhibition of Ray Shannon's collection of over 13,000 butterflies

Auckland Museum commissioned a fully interactive and customisable digital experience to add an extra dimension to an exhibition of Ray Shannon's collection of over 13,000 butterflies

Credit: NZ Game Developers Association

It fits the profile of the kind of industries we need to foster to achieve a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy – it is low emission, export driven and scalable

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford

Interactive media is a $143 million industry and is one of the fastest growing parts of New Zealand’s digital economy. The global market, however, is worth $258 billion. 

“Gaining one per cent of the global video games market would generate $258 million in new exports,” according to a new report, Interactive Aotearoa – Driving growth and wellbeing through interactive media.

The report notes that the gaming sector has grown 39 per cent annually for the last six years. If an industry plan and government support maintained this growth rate, then the industry would be worth $1 billion in 2024.

The Interactive Aotearoa report was prepared by the New Zealand Game Developers Association with support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and NZTech.

It looks at the social, educational and economic benefits of interactive media such as games, apps, simulations and virtual reality. 

“The opportunities in interactive media are significant and our government wants to see the sector continue to strengthen and grow,” says Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford, who launched the report at Wellington games studio PikPok.

“Whether it’s through game development, digital story-telling, augmented reality, education technology or health applications, interactive media is one of the fastest growing parts of the digital economy both here and around the world,” says Twyford.

“It also fits the profile of the kind of industries we need to foster to achieve a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy – it is low emission, export driven and scalable. It also offers a range of social and cultural benefits in fields like health and education.”

Credit: NZ Game Developers Association

Our goal is to see New Zealand become a billion dollar exporter of interactive media, sitting alongside our successful film and software sectors

Cassandra Gray, NZ Game Developers Association

Cassandra Gray, chairperson of the New Zealand Game Developers Association, says interactive media combines two of New Zealand’s strengths - the tech sector and creative industries.

“Our aspirational, yet achievable, goal is to see New Zealand become a billion dollar exporter of interactive media, sitting alongside our successful film and software sectors. We’ve made a strong start, but our sector is still young and growing.”

“Forty years ago our film industry partnered with the Government and we now have a multi-billion dollar screen industry,” says Gray.

“Twenty years ago our music industry did the same. Our interactive and games industry has reached the stage where it has the capability, skills and international opportunity to similarly contribute significant jobs, exports and social benefits.”

Gray points out the skills developed in interactive entertainment are also being applied to education, mental health and business apps. 

Thus, the industry is calling for the establishment of the New Zealand Interactive Commission, modelled on existing creative industries agencies the music and film commissions, and an interactive innovation fund.

The report notes that several countries have recently introduced interactive industry programmes. 

Finland, with a population similar to New Zealand, has an interactive sector worth $3.8 billion annually - 25 times the size of ours - as the result of government support, says Gray.

Credit: NZ Game Developers Association

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Tags New Zealand Game Developers Associationvirtual realitywellingtonNZTechMinistry of Business Innovation and EmploymentCassandra GrayPhil Twyford

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