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The industry that’s more than just fun & games

Adelaide will continue to shake off its conservative label with the announcement of a new digital games development hub to launch in the city. The initiative is expected to create up to 500 jobs, leveraging the fast-growing industry. And the State Government is to be thanked, contributing a $2 million grant.

Nearly $500,000 of this will go to fitting out a collaborative workspace, Game Plus, on Pirie Street. This will be home for select developers, such as Mighty Kingdom.

According to Director Phil Mayes, the space will help his company expand and put South Australia on the front line for gaming development start-ups – positioning Adelaide as a “destination of choice for companies looking to expand or establish themselves in the game industry.”

Mayes believes the hub will be an industry game-changer. With an aggressive growth strategy planned for Mighty Kingdom, Adelaide offers unique advantages to reach global markets. The company currently has 35 staff on the books and plans to look for new workers with a broader skillset.

A significant portion of the funding ($1.3 million) will go towards producing and marketing games in Adelaide, while $200,000 is assigned to develop industry-specific skills and education programs.

So, what kind of people are Mighty Kingdom and other gaming companies looking for?

“We’ve had people successfully transition from the hospitality industry or other adjacent industries like visual effects or defence. I don’t have a degree so I don’t impose that as a requirement,” said Mayes.

A $90 billion industry by 2020.

The games sector is expected to be worth $90 billion within two years. Its year-on-year growth rate is one of the highest in the world. Game developers can capitalise on localising their mobile, social, online, and PC games.

To fully capitalise on this opportunity, the skills of future gaming workers need to be honed. The rapid pace of change means workers need access to ongoing education and training, a space like Game Plus can offer.

In a recent report, Working in Australia’s Digital Games Industry, the importance of certain non-technical skills and on-the-job training are outlined as solutions.

Some of the ways suggested to improve the skilling of games workers include:

  • Courses with student showcases, salons and collaborative classes
  • A meta-organisation that is a single face for game-related programs and researchers
  • Providers considering the main features of courses, recognised as being excellent/best-practice, whether accredited or non-accredited
  • Identifying the range of skill needs for serious games development for possible translation into education provision
  • A Games Education Fund; more incentives for the design of curricula relevant to industry
  • A one-stop online repository and community site for teachers for video games and visual effects educational resource
  • Raising awareness of the video games and visual effects industries in the eyes of STEM and arts graduates
  • An understanding of visual effects, game art, animation, and motion graphics.

Game Plus aims to alleviate identified challenges faced by the industry and provide an industry pathway for new and existing companies. It will be both a hub and national network for digital entrepreneurs to co-locate, share resources, knowledge and opportunities – with support extending to related specialist technology start-ups.

It’s the first of its kind in Adelaide. The city has seen a rise of co-working, collaborative workspaces in the past few years. The Government hopes to see new and emerging start-up gaming companies, all being in the same location. The space will feature three offices and 29 ‘hot desks.’

New industries emerge post-manufacturing, changing SA’s economic landscape.

Confidence in South Australia’s economy is rising, after the decline of one of the state’s leading industries – car manufacturing. Positivity is the highest in the nation and the Government’s funding in the hub is set to drive investment from game developers around Australia and the world. This grant is on the back of the $2 million Future Jobs Fund, Job Accelerator Grant and payroll tax cuts for small business.

Game Plus is the latest in great initiatives to come out of South Australia, and one that’s set to redefine the economic landscape. If you’d like to learn more about the games industry and future job opportunities, please contact Jess Perry at jessica@careerblueprint.com.au.

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