Is the industry shrinking?

I've read the articles and many people have made posts around sumea talking about the fact that the Aussie games industry is shrinking and all our jobs will be outsourced overseas to cheaper "farms"

But problem is I am yet to actually see this occur. From speaking to friends in other companies and looking around my own place of employment in Brisbane all I see is companies expanding. There are more jobs now then I remember last year. A few of the companies have expanded and put on whole new teams to handle more projects. So which companies are firing teams and sending the work elsewhere? Its an interesting topic but I am yet to speak to someone who has actually experienced it.

lorien's picture

You should have a look around China and Asia in general. I was given a tour of most of the games training/education institutions in Hong Kong last year, as well as Cyberport http://www.cyberport-project.com.hk/home.htm

Very scary how much govt cash is being thrown at new media around Asia in general, and just have a look at South Korea, where computer games were completely illegal 5 or 6 years ago.

The english speaking issue is going away too- AFAIK every single uni student in HK has been doing intensive english for years. Tip for people lost in HK: find a young looking person and start speaking english.

As far as I can see Australia simply has no way of competing with them (long term) in the fee for service market. Population alone makes this so, let alone the big push that many Asian governments are doing.

Also these people have been making loads of games for their own markets that we never see here, my point being that there are highly experienced studios there already.

India is even more scary in some ways, they've been sending loads of students all over the world to study computing for years.

Mdobele's picture

OK so this isnt the Asian market here but I did find it rather amusing. A job add I got on one of my mailing lists..

Hi all,
We are an Australian company, currently working out of Doha, the capital
city of Qatar (near Saudi Arabia)
We are designing and constructing the opening and closing ceremonies of
the 2006 Asian games, to be held here in Doha.

We need a Max 7 freelancer, with gear, to travel to Qatar, ASAP (within
the next few days)
for about 3 weeks work, possibly more.

Qatar is a safe country, with a very western lifestyle.
all flights, accomodation and transport etc will be provided.

can you please contact me offlist if you are interested.
regards,
Mike Annear

So instead of a company outsourcing from Australia to overseas people we have a complete role reversal.

LiveWire's picture

To me it seems the Australian industry is growing. I am constantly hearing of possitions opening and companies expanding.

It's still a small comunity though, which is great, yet it puts out quality work. I think if the government would support the industry more we might see more original IP and great grwoth and security still. They could also help in funding start-ups, i believe there is pleanty of room for small companies and/or innovative ideas as long as your're prepared to supply most of the funding youself, and governemnt grants could greatly help with that.
Take for instance HalfBrick or Fuzzy Eyes - two very small, young companies, they prove you dont need AAA grade visuals and 100+ worker monkeys to make a game that sells.

EDIT: just reaslised that this is will probably appear to be in direct contradition with a bitch i ranted on about in an earlier post somewhere. To clarify, the other post was a bitch at the way the industry currently works, the optimisim expressed above with reguards to start ups and innovative ideas relies on going about things in a different way, i.e. self/alternative funding, targeting select markets, and other things.

CynicalFan's picture

Perhaps on the surface the local industry appears to be doing well, but, have you actually bothered to look below the surface of some of these companies that appear to be doing well and ?expanding??

Now, being one of those that has said that the industry is in for rough times ahead, I personally have never said that the industry is shrinking at the moment ? or that was never my intention. I believe this is to occur 6 to 12 months from now. This is when the next generation of gaming platforms ? the XBOX-360 and PS3 ? would have arrived and begun to take root ? though it could be 6 months longer if there are delays in their release.

As I have stated elsewhere, for the most part ? leaving pretty much the local studios established by international companies like Irrational Games, Pandemic Studios, Creative Assembly, etc ? do not have the know how to compete. They are years behind in technology, they are below average in product (game) design, and their production values are questionable ? resulting in low quality products for the global market. Their business and project management is also suspect and largely to blame for their failings.

Really, I don?t know why I bother to keep on repeating this stuff ? I am getting tired of doing so. To tell you the truth, I think actions speak louder than words anyway, and my words for the most part are lost on most of you.

Who knows, maybe I and others that think like me, are wrong. Maybe the Nintendo Revolution for instance, will be a platform that will be the saving grace for developers instead of another Virtual Boy ? a gimmicky utter failure.

As for the young studios doing well, one would hope so, as this is a great time of opportunity for them to do so, to grow and take root ? but try not to believe the hype out there, as old and young studios tend to all do it: spread / create hype.

lorien's picture

I asked some VIPs late last year about all the positions that seemed to be coming up on sumea. They said it wasn't the result of expansion within their own companies, more that one particular individual had poached people from lots of studios and they were trying to fill the gaps he left. No I'm not going to mention any names at all, and this was late last year.

Dragoon's picture

Publishers worldwide are consolidating more development in house, and are farming out less projects. Game development costs are going through the roof (upwards of US $50million now on console titles)l.

This is making it a lot harder for independant studios (not owned by a publisher) to get funding.

Risk is a big factor, a lot of studios don't have the man power or capacity to manage such huge projects, and publishers are taking them in house. There aren't too many huge publishers in Australia (0), so its increasingly difficult to get projects here, as for companies overseas.

I, for one, take my hat off to the CEO's locally for managing to stay in business. It's getting a lot tougher.

lorien's picture

quote:Originally posted by Dragoon
I, for one, take my hat off to the CEO's locally for managing to stay in business. It's getting a lot tougher.

As do I to all those who do it with honesty and ethics.

Mdobele's picture

I still see the majority of companies in my area expanding to support new project teams. And the others still healthily trying to hire staff to fill already existing gaps.

To my eyes it is expanding and doing well, wether it bursts in 6 months time we will just have to wait and see.

Dragoon's picture

quote:Originally posted by lorien

quote:Originally posted by Dragoon
I, for one, take my hat off to the CEO's locally for managing to stay in business. It's getting a lot tougher.

As do I to all those who do it with honesty and ethics.

Lol, thats a bit nieve. By and large the game companies in Australia treat each other with respect and honesty, but then things happen and relationships go sour. It is business after all, and as long as everything is ok, people will be nice and honest, and play by the "rules". When things are not ok, people will do *anything* to keep going.

An honest publisher is an oxymoron. Enough said, and if you think otherwise you'll get screwed. Some of the things that I've heard publishers have done - well just say the mind boggles.

lorien's picture

Don't get me wrong, I said "all" because quite a few companies have done things like apologised to people who've they stuffed around in various ways. "All" was to mean I know of quite a few good ones, and there are (I hope) plenty more I don't know about.

Others have done things that verge on outright theft then had the gall to try to hire people they annoyed without those people even applying for a job.

Some of the things studios have done boggle the mind too, but point taken about publishers...

Again there is no way I'm going to mention any names.