Although the last half of 2008 will be remembered as the beginning of a time of economic hardship, 2008 on the whole proved to be a massive year for the Australian games industry. Games and hardware sales expanded 47 percent from the previous year, generating A$1.96 billion in sales over the course of 12 months, according to independent data analysts GfK Australia.
The "family games" genre experienced the most growth in 2008, expanding a whopping 137 percent, which made family games the number-one selling genre.
Breaking down the figures even further, the hardware-accessories category grew by more than 68 percent. Not too far behind was software (increasing 57 percent) and console sales (which grew 43 percent).
The last few years has seen exponential growth for games in Australia, with Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia CEO Ron Curry saying: "Sales figures for the past two years actually show that the industry has grown over 112 percent since 2006. The industry has really witnessed phenomenal growth, which has largely been driven by people playing games together."
Interestingly, last year also saw a growth in games with G and PG ratings, which saw 58 and 33 percent expansions, respectively.
These figures come one day shy of a year after the IEAA released its figures for 2007, which showed that the local industry had generated A$1.3 billion worth of sales, a 43 percent expansion over 2006.
[UPDATE] Curry said that the family-games genre "includes things like card games, music and dance games, party games, puzzle, quiz, board games, virtual pets. So we put in things like SingStar, Buzz, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Mario Party, and Eye Toy [into the figures]."