When most people think of things people like to do in Aotearoa, they usually think of the great outdoors, be it tramping, hiking in the mountains, or enjoying all the pleasures of the sea – to name just a few of the veritable smorgasbord of recreational possibilities involving Mother Nature. But apparently, the Land of the Long White Cloud is also a great place to take a break from the physical world, sit back, and play some video games.
That’s a pretty bold statement, sure. But there’s some facts to back that up. Data from the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) reveals the New Zealand video and computer games industry generated $424 million in revenue in 2016, a seven per cent increase from 2015 sales – which was the previous record. New Zealand industry growth also outpaced that of Australia (which experienced a four per cent increase in revenues in 2016). Overall, Aotearoa’s video games industry saw a total of $125 million in traditional retail sales, with an additional $299 million in digital and mobile sales.
According to research commissioned by IGEA from analyst firm Telsyte, digital and mobile sales continued on an upward trajectory in 2016, with 16 per cent growth on 2015 revenues. Mobile games remain the largest revenue source, generating $167 million last year. Downloadable games and downloadable content (DLC) saw the most growth – up 20 per cent and 21 per cent respectively. That makes up for a fall in revenue from people walking into shops and buying physical video games and consoles; data from The NPD Group shows traditional retail sales decreased nine per cent on 2015 figures, with hardware and software sales both declining – despite an overall increase in the number of games sold for the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo 3DS. More than half (53 percent to be exact) of games sold had an unrestricted classification (G, PG or M) – suggesting that not everyone has an appetite for blood and gore.
IGEA CEO Ron Curry says the numbers are a sign that Kiwis enjoy their virtual entertainment. “The New Zealand video game industry is in great shape and continues to grow year-on-year,” he says. “The data clearly shows an ongoing revolution in the purchasing habits of what is an increasingly digital customer base. Consumers are incredibly engaged with our industry’s products and have embraced new ways to access and play game content, and extend the life of their games, such as virtual and augmented reality and downloadable extras.”
Foad Fadaghi, managing director of Telsyte, says something similar. “New Zealand gamers continue to evolve their game purchasing behaviour, boosted by the greater availability of high speed broadband service.”
Since 2009, IGEA has provided a review of the state of the video games industry in New Zealand using commissioned research from The NPD Group. With the growth in downloads and mobile gaming, the NPD data has been augmented with research from Telsyte to provide a complete picture on the state of the industry.