The state of Australian game development at Gametech 2011
Laura Parker from Gamespot AU has covered one of the panels from the two day Gametech 2011 conference which ended yesterday. The panel consisted of Tony Lawrence (general manager at 2K Marin and president of the Game Developers Association of Australia), Tom Crago (CEO at Tantalus Interactive), and Cari Callewaert (lead unity evangelist at Unity Technologies).
The panelists discussed the current state of the Australian games industry and acknowledged the hardships it has been experiencing in recent times. It's going through a lot of change and Lawrence says that it must find its direction and focus internationally. The new studios that are popping up are representing the future of the local industry, and these start-ups are embracing digital distribution and new models. Special mention was given to Halfbrick Studios and Firemint in helping the industry get to where it is now.
In relation to Firemint, Tom Crago, sees publisher acquisition as a beneficial thing for the industry. From Gamespot AU...
(Tom Crago) Of course, it's preferable when local studios create their own intellectual property and manage to stay independent," he said. "The industry should be proud of its history of making games in this country; we've been doing it for more than 30 years."
Other important issues raised include the new research and development tax credit, which Crago believes is a positive step forward and will encourage further investment in the games industry. Further support is needed for the nurturing of students in the game education sector with a wider range of game related courses, internship opportunities, and cadetship schemes required. Students should be encouraged on entrepreneurship and informed on what works and what doesn't.
In a discussion on independent games development, the panelists say that the big challenge facing new developers is Game Design. They cite the lack of experience as being a real disadvantage, and while indie developers can produce quality game titles, most don't know the difference between good and bad game design and the know-how of experienced game designers. It's of a similar sentiment from Nick Haggar, Project Director at Blue Tongue Entertainment, expressed in a Kotaku AU interview a few months ago...
(Nick) "If you look at those guys who are successful in the iOS space, they are seasoned developers. They did not start by creating iOS games – they moved here because they have the experience and they know how to make games.....
I'm not sure if we’re seeing the right fragmentation with seeds breaking off from larger groups and being the genesis for experienced developers."
All in all, an interesting insight on the state of the local games industry by notable industry heads. Read all about it at Gamespot AU!