NZ Interactive Games 2020 Survey Results
11 December 2020

New Zealand’s video game developers have proven themselves resilient through Covid-19. Our interactive media sector earned $271 million in the year to 1 April 2020.

The industry benefited both from being able to continue production during lockdowns as well as soaring demand as people around the world stayed home and played digital and online games. 96% of local creators’ income came from overseas audiences.

The figures come from the annual New Zealand Game Developers Industry Survey of 42 interactive, gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality and education tech companies.

“Games and interactive media have given so many people the opportunity to come together when lockdowns and border closures have kept them apart,” says New Zealand Game Developers Association Chairperson Chelsea Rapp.

“The games industry has proven itself particularly resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic, both here in New Zealand and around the world. We are uniquely positioned to contribute to our economic recovery with weightless digital exports, but that growth will depend heavily on our ability to support young and emerging enterprises.”

The ten largest studios earned 95% of this revenue but are now 11 years old on average. However, 75% of studios employ five people or less and the Association is concerned by the lack of support to grow these firms to take advantage of the export opportunity.

Despite the survey being conducted in the middle of New Zealand’s second Covid-19 lockdown, 49% of studios surveyed predicted significant growth (10% or more) this coming year. Only 17% of studios predict any decline in sales.

While lockdowns have increased the market opportunity, travel restrictions have made it harder to make publishing deals and secure funding. The top four challenges studios reported facing were a shortage of experienced staff, Covid-19 travel restrictions, attracting early stage funding and attracting investment for expansion.

Last year’s Interactive Aotearoa report by the Game Developers Association recommended that the Government create an interactive innovation fund and industry development plan to grow the pipeline of new interactive firms. The Government is currently consulting on the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan and the Screen Sector Strategy 2030, which these could be part of.

The New Zealand Game Developers Survey 2020 Highlights

The data comes from a survey of 42 New Zealand Game Developers Association studios conducted by independent researcher Tim Thorpe and is for the financial year ending 31 March 2020.

NOTE: The Total Revenue figure for FY2020 has been revised since these results were originally reported in December 2020, after a review of the FY2020 data identified a potential error. Only the total revenue figure has been revised and all other figures are unchanged.