A new report says that an industry development plan for New Zealand’s interactive media and games sector could create a
billion dollar export industry by 2024. Introducing a coordinated plan that invests in emerging talent and allows
interactive media to access existing screen industry programmes would create hundreds of hi-tech and creative industry
The Interactive Aotearoa report was launched by Minister of Economic Development Hon Phil Twyford at Wellington games
studio PikPok today.
Produced by the New Zealand Game Developers Association with support from NZTech, WeCreate and government agencies, the
report looks at the social, educational and economic benefits of interactive media such as games, apps, simulations and
“Interactive media combines two of New Zealand’s strengths - our tech sector and creative industries,” says Cassandra
Gray, chairperson of the New Zealand Game Developers Association. “Our aspirational, yet achievable, goal is to see New
Zealand become a billion dollar exporter of interactive media, sitting alongside our successful film and software
sectors. We’ve made a strong start, but our sector is still young and growing.”
The report identified interactive games as the greatest potential creator of new jobs and export earnings. While New
Zealand’s games industry earned over $143 million in 2018, the global market is worth $258 billion. Gaining one percent
of the global video games market would generate $258 million in new exports. The sector has grown 39 per cent annually
for the last six years, and if an industry plan and government support maintained this growth rate then the industry
would be worth one billion dollars in 2024.
“Forty years ago our film industry partnered with the Government and we now have a multi-billion dollar screen industry.
Twenty years ago our music industry did the same. Our interactive and games industry has reached the stage where it has
the capability, skills and international opportunity to similarly contribute significant jobs, exports and social
benefits," says Gray.
The skills developed in interactive entertainment are also being applied to education, mental health and business apps.
For instance, fifty nine percent of New Zealand children have used educational games at school.
The report also covers the rise of esports, indie games, virtual and augmented reality, serious games, and Māori and
indigenous interactive storytelling.
Interactive media currently slips through the cracks of Government culture, media and innovation policy. To coordinate
the industry plan the report calls for the establishment of the New Zealand Interactive Commission, modelled on existing
creative industries agencies the music and film commissions, and an interactive innovation fund. The report also
recommends that Government screen and cultural programmes be modernised to include interactive media.
Globally, several countries have recently introduced interactive industry programmes. Finland, with a population similar
to New Zealand, has an interactive sector worth $3.8 billion annually - 25 times the size of ours - as the result of
Many of the report’s recommendations are already being implemented and will be discussed at the New Zealand Game
Developers Conference next month at Te Papa. The Game Developers Association has already increased the support package
for its Kiwi Game Starter startup challenge and is introducing a student day, mentoring programme and an industry skills
You can download the Interactive Aotearoa report from www.nzgda.com