While 2009 has proven to be a tough year for the Australian economy, the video games industry has managed to minimise its impact and even set itself up to outgrow its 2008 value of A$1.96 billion.
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) has revealed that with the Christmas rush fast approaching, 2009 is set to be the Aussie game industry's biggest year yet. September proved to be a particularly good month, seeing an 8.3 per cent rise over September 2008.
Console hardware sales have risen 10 per cent so far this year to A$456 million, while game sales have risen 5 per cent to a total of A$716 million. Those figures were collected at the end of Q3 2009.
Last year saw the rise of the family games genre in Australia, which includes titles like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Buzz, and Mario Party, and this year it seems to have made an even bigger impact, with family games now accounting for 32 per cent of all games sold throughout the year. The closest genre to that is action, with a 13.2 market share.
iGEA CEO Ron Curry told GameSpot AU that he believed there were a couple of reasons the Australian games industry had avoided the global financial crisis. "The first was, we've seen a lot of cocooning happening. People who have been spooked by the GFC and have stayed home and looked for ways to spend their money and get some longevity out of it. Secondly, from an economic standpoint, Australia wasn't hit as hard. So then our natural growth continued to happen."
Interestingly, the figures put out by the iGEA today show that out of all the games sold throughout the year, 67 per cent of those fell under the G or PG classification. Despite this, Curry said an R18+ classification was still needed in Australia. "One per cent of all games are refused classification. [Having an] R18+ rating is a way of future proofing the industry, future proofing it for adult aged content. At the end of the day, 30 per cent of all games fall into an M, MA 15+, or R 18+, rating, which is still a fair amount."
While these figures are a cumulative figure for all games from the start of 2009 through to Q3 2009, overseas game markets haven't fared so well. This morning it was reported that the US, UK, and Japan (the world's three largest gaming markets) had suffered a 6 per cent dip in sales throughout Q3 2009.