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Australian Games Industry 2011 head count

It's been a while since the local games industry has had a nation-wide head count, but that's changed now thanks to Justin Brow from 60Sox (on behalf of the ISIS program). Justin made the call for developers a short while ago with the aim of gathering a more up to date headcount of the industry, and he's successfully managed to collect a whole lot of staff number details from local game development studios, including independent games developers and games developer related services (e.g Firelight Technologies with Fmod).

Please note, this study has only taken into account 'commercial entertainment' games and *not* serious games, advergames, infotainment etc. Using the data that Justin has passed on to me, I've made this nifty infographic. Click on the image below to view the entire image.

Now, Justin admits that the numbers aren't exactly "water-tight" due to some omissions which he'll explain below, but nonetheless, the numbers collected still provide a very reliable ball park figure on the current size of the Australian games industry.

(Justin) Obviously given the splintered nature of the industry atm, I do not profess that the attached count is water-tight. There are big shops operating who may well have reasonably-numbered teams of games developers working away (for instance, at this stage I have not spoken to anyone at Animal Logic or Rising Sun) as well as a myriad of one-person operations busily making the next Fruit Ninja in bedrooms across the country. I will say, though, that the attached count is certainly indicative of where we are at as an Industry today.

A big, huge thanks to Justin for doing all the work involved in contacting, following up and gathering all the data. There's a whole lot of discussion that can be had around these numbers and stats.

** Some additional information about this data here by Justin**

Submitted by Nick from Let'… (not verified) on Thu, 17/02/11 - 11:29 AM Permalink

Nice work on the stats and graphics. :) It's good to see some aggregated numbers visualised.

I'm surprised that Spinfast is listed as the biggest studio in Perth though. I would have thought that Different Methods (4 full-time, 1 part-time) or Rockethands (7 part-time) would be the largest.

Submitted by Justin Brow (not verified) on Thu, 17/02/11 - 7:06 PM Permalink

The numbers under Spinfast in the data I provided Souri infact count the guys working under Robert at Staring Man as well. So the figures are for both studios put together. Nevertheless, as far as fulltime staff goes, these guys are definitely constitute the biggest studio current in Perth.

Submitted by Justin Brow (not verified) on Thu, 17/02/11 - 12:17 PM Permalink

This is an ideal opportunity for us to really try to get a solid count of who is actually busy making games in Australian today (or servicing those people that are, like FMOD for instance). The disparate nature of the industry today makes it almost impossible for one furry geezer to track down all operatives, but if a bunch of us can contribute and shine a light on other areas of games developers, we'll get a more accurate head count. Since I released these figures to a few key dudes yesterday, I'm getting suggestions of other teams around the country (I'll add these to my master list and see where it takes us). So, if you've got suggestions of other teams - or individuals - who we might not have included in this head count, please let us know... there's a pretty final list in the other post Souri has linked to above. NB: Not 'serious games', not 'advergamnes', not 'branded content' etc - this count is looking at games people make that they sell to people who want to play the game. Thanks everyone!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/02/11 - 4:59 PM Permalink

Does this include the ex-Krome people that now work for KMM Games in Brisbane?

Submitted by souri on Thu, 17/02/11 - 5:12 PM Permalink

Yes, KMM was included in the stats. They'd be the third largest dev in Queensland, just ahead of Halfbrick.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Justin Brow (not verified) on Thu, 17/02/11 - 7:01 PM Permalink

Vic (total count = 44)
above 10 f/t employees = 8
under 10 f/t employees = 36

Qld (total count = 22)
above 10 f/t employees = 5
under 10 f/t employees = 17

NSW (total count = 17)
above 10 f/t employees = 3
under 10 f/t employees = 14

ACT (total count = 6)
above 10 f/t employees = 2
under 10 f/t employees = 4

SA (total count = 14)
above 10 f/t employees = 0
under 10 f/t employees = 14

WA (total count = 23)
above 10 f/t employees = 0
under 10 f/t employees = 23

So, as far as our count to date goes, it makes for a total of 18 studios across Australia atm with 10 or more fulltime staff.

Submitted by Justin Brow (not verified) on Fri, 18/02/11 - 8:51 AM Permalink

Again, based on the figures we used above, here's the % split of the workforce in each state working differentiating between outfits with more (>) or less (<) than 10 employees:

Vic (total count = 410 fulltime employees - 'ftes')
working in orgs with >10 ftes: 362 (88.3%)
working in orgs with <10: 48 (11.7%)

Qld (total count = 262 fulltime employees - 'ftes')
working in orgs with >10 ftes: 245 (93.5%)
working in orgs with <10 ftes: 17 (6.5%)

NSW (total count = 144 fulltime employees - 'ftes')
working in orgs with >10 ftes: 111 (77.1%)
working in orgs with <10 ftes: 33 (22.9%)

ACT (total count = 74 fulltime employees - 'ftes')
working in orgs with >10 ftes: 71 (99.6%)
working in orgs with <10 ftes: 3 (.4%)

SA (total count = 21 fulltime employees - 'ftes')
working in orgs with >10 ftes: 0 (0%)
working in orgs with <10 ftes: 21 (100%)

WA (total count = 20 fulltime employees - 'ftes')
working in orgs with >10 ftes: 0 (0%)
working in orgs with <10 ftes: 20 (100%)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/02/11 - 9:55 PM Permalink

Would also be interesting to have some kind of idea how many of the people no longer part of the Australian industry have left games altogether or gone on to work in other games studios overseas.

Submitted by Justin Brow (not verified) on Fri, 18/02/11 - 8:26 AM Permalink

What I'd *love* to do is somehow get a hold of the staff lists of Krome at its peak and contact everyone and find out where they went as the company contracted. It would provide an incredible insight into the nature of the industry today in Australia. Did most of the senior staff go OS? Did the key programmers get snapped-up by totally removed industry sectors, such as banking? I know Kennedy Miller Mitchell picked up a bunch of Krome-folk in Brisbane to keep working on HF2, but where are all the rest? Would make for an unreal study. Can anyone help me? (I'll try emailing Robert Walsh now...)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 18/02/11 - 8:55 AM Permalink

There would be privacy concerns just getting people's details.

I agree a comparison would be interesting, but would be concerned about just getting HR records given out.

Perhaps maybe do a public callout to ex-Krome employees. Via linked in, facebook etc.

Submitted by mchaza (not verified) on Fri, 18/02/11 - 12:09 AM Permalink

Wonder if you guys can try and round up how many of an possible 1000+ previous workers are looking for work in the games industry. Because there could of be lot of experienced and talented devs waiting for the next opening that could really affect the many new uni students every year that all join the list.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 18/02/11 - 7:15 AM Permalink

I know that some companies have moved to the "contractor" only model of employment.
It would be interesting to see some stats on this.

Submitted by tristanjl on Fri, 18/02/11 - 11:52 PM Permalink

A few of us that I know of have landed themselves positions overseas - I'm over in Canada myself

There's also a number at the that landed positions almost immediately.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 21/02/11 - 1:57 AM Permalink

now can you help someone like me (with less than six months in the biz) to get a job over there and put a good word in? lol

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 19/02/11 - 3:56 AM Permalink

yeah off the top of my head I can think of around 10 ex-krome that have gone onto roles on overseas studios.

Submitted by Momo (not verified) on Sat, 19/02/11 - 2:50 PM Permalink

LinkedIn can give you a rough idea of which company people most moved to:

After Krome Studios employees went to...
THQ (12)
KmmGames (11)
The Creative Assembly (8)
Ubisoft (5)
Dr. D Studios (5)

Submitted by Auntie (not verified) on Sun, 20/02/11 - 4:11 PM Permalink

The 2008 ACMI figures are not really usable as a figure - the source is a descriptive and generalised comment in a hand out about the Australian games industry and while the hand out cites a GDAA document elsewhere, the (2006) GDAA doc says:

"The Australian electronic game industry now generates revenues of approximately $110 million per annum and directly employs approximately 1600 people of which 1350 are permanent staff and 250 are contract staff."

The 2007 ABS figures .... 1431 employed in the industry .. would appear to include a wider remit in terms of their definition of what makes up the industry than the current head count:

"At end June 2007, there were 45 businesses in Australia involved in the provision of digital game development services. These businesses employed over 1,400 people and generated a total income of $136.9m which represented an average of $3m per business."

So this would probably include those who make Educational Games, Transmedia outfits who make screen based games as part of their wider works .. and perhaps even a few 'whatevers ...'

If we are comparing like with like then the 2007 ABS figures give us 1,325 Full Time employees (92.6%) compared to 931 (current figures only) of 1031 employees (90.3%) but much more interesting is that the 2007 ABS figures give us 45 businesses and even these early figures give us 126 studios!

It might be useful to get a bit more granularity on these numbers and ask questions about the way the industry has changed and how it is evolving.

Submitted by Ben Macmillan (not verified) on Mon, 21/02/11 - 3:30 AM Permalink

Is it possible I can ask for a list of the WA headcount/studios?
Just wondering who got on the list,