In the global market, Australia has gradually positioned itself as a major hub for the games industry, based around a supportive domestic environment that’s also encouraging of international investment.
Such a welcoming and supportive gaming culture has led to vital economic growth, increasing jobs and revenues for both the mainstream gaming and iGaming sectors, with the latter focusing more on sports betting and casino gaming activities. In fact, job numbers have soared in recent years, as games studios and publishers increased their full-time workforces by 59% over the last financial year.
Mainstream Gaming Has Never Been So Popular
The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) is gushing with pride right now, and there are various good reasons why. This body is the biggest advocate for the video games industry in Oceania, which also means they’re a fascinating and insightful source of data surrounding this key segment of Australian business. They also regularly publish detailed statistical reports and surveys, organised in partnership with Bond University.
Catching the headlines at the Sydney Morning Post earlier this year, the annual Australia Plays report indicated that gaming is now far from niche, given that more than four out of five Aussies consider themselves to be active gamers. The numerical statistic the IGEA surveys reported was 81% of the whole population, which has rapidly increased from 67% reported in 2021. Inevitably, the greater participation also implies much higher spending on games.
Just a couple of months after the initial report was published, the IGEA then produced extensive consumer sales data for the Australian games industry, based on the financial year from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023. Overall, revenues rose by 5% to an incredible AU$4.21 billion, which covered total spending on video games, hardware such as PCs and consoles, plus associated peripherals like VR headsets and gamepads.
Marking a growing trend, the biggest slice of the overall sales pie was for mobile gaming, which rose by 3% to AU$1.56 billion, while digital sales rose by 6% to $1.5 billion during the financial year. But perhaps most interesting of all was traditional retail sales, as Australia bucked the declining worldwide trend for game purchases at physical stores, actually rising by 7% to AU$1.15 billion. All these indicators prove that gaming is absolutely booming Down Under.
Aussie iGaming Company Extends Global Reach
Gambling is practically a national pastime Down Under, and that probably explains why Lightning Link for real money has become such a well known brand of pokies, which is the name given to slot machines in the local vernacular. They are made by Aristocrat, and they also just happen to be the biggest producer of gaming machines in Australia, while the company has also made significant inroads in overseas markets.
Indeed, strategic moves and investments have significantly boosted 2023 revenues for, rising 13% to AU$6.3 billion during the course of the financial year. Aside from the bread and butter manufacturing of gaming machines in Australia, the portfolio of Aristocrat has extended to supplying software and games to leading online casino sites, plus early success during their expansion into the hugely competitive US market.
The biggest growth was observed in the Pixel United social gaming arm, accounting for AU$2.65 billion of overall revenues, while the growth of gaming revenues in the Americas has now reached $1.85 billion. Over the last twelve months, Aristocrat has negotiated various key partnerships across North America, including a lucrative deal for licensed slot games based around the NFL and several major American football franchises.
Aristocrat also plans to complete its acquisition of NeoGames in the first quarter of 2024, having struck a deal worth AU$1.2 billion for the takeover earlier in 2023. The Israeli-founded company will be an important addition to the portfolio of its new Australian parent, having already achieved global success producing iGaming, iLottery, and online sports betting platforms.
Positive Outlook for the Future
Both in the mainstream and iGaming segments of the games industry, further growth in revenues and employment is projected with confidence for the years to come, based on the strong foundations that Australia has in place already. Even the most conservative analysts predict compound annual growth rates of more than 7% annually, over the next decade.
This also paves the way for increased investment and further innovations, including Australia being at the forefront of Web3 games development, as blockchain underpins the next iteration of the internet. The country itself is uniquely positioned as an ideal bridge to the Western market, where the intention is to encourage mainstream adoption of Web3 gaming technologies.