Over the past 18 months, foreign developers have been closing their Australian factions (most recently THQ), giving the impression that the gaming industry is facing dire times. Mind you, the dramatic price drops in Nintendo’s and Sony’s PlayStation consoles have only strengthened the stigma.
According to Shutze, the gaming industry is simply restructuring how it produces games. As production technology becomes more accessible to a new wave of developers, smaller studios are becoming more competitive. Team Bondi is one example, with the local boffins putting together the critically acclaimed and successful L.A. Noir game.
Shutze compares this shift to the one experienced by the American film industry in the early 20th century, morphing from massive studios to the plethora of smaller ones around today.
“Smaller independent studios have rushed in and achieved success in many surprising ways,” he said. “Even individual developers are creating a living for themselves producing small titles. And before you discount this as relevant to the survival of an industry, ask how many film producers can generate a living income by themselves.”
Shutze points out that Australia has more people working in the industry than ever before, and although there are some people who are being axed from the industry, he’s adamant the industry is not withering.
“I am calling it, right here right now: the Australian games industry is not dead. It’s not even wounded.”
The International Data Corporation’s (IDC) recent findings seem to agree with Shutze’s argument, suggesting the gaming industry hasn’t peaked just yet. Between 2010-2015 they anticipate a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3.9 per cent, reaching US$39.7 billion.
“Prognostications that claim consoles have peaked as a product category are premature,” said Lewis Ward, consumer markets, gaming, manager for IDC.
“I expect that the launch of the (Nintendo) Wii U, a revamped interactive entertainment console from Microsoft in the 2014 timeframe, and the arrival of Sony’s ‘PS4’ circa 2015 – along with more than a few exclusive, innovative games – will help drive a new wave of console-centric spending in the next several years.”
Read: Don’t Write Off The Video Games Console Market Yet
Perhaps the gloomy gaming climate is a result of exhausted technology, in simple need of an update. The current gen PS3 has been out for five years already, while Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console has been around for six, and in the tech environment, that’s nudging retirement.