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Skills shortage as Aussie gaming industry booms

Skills shortage as Aussie gaming industry booms

A recent study has projected Aussies to spend $5.8 billion on computer and online games over the next four years

Australians are expected to spend $5.8 billion on computer and online games over the next four years however a lack of locally available skills available to the country's gaming industry could see it miss out on this boom.

According to Queensland University of Technology researchers, Australians are poised to increase their gaming spend by almost 50 per cent from $1.1 billion in 2009 to an estimated $1.6 billion in 2014.

The report examined a number of industry areas including its evolution, characteristics and performance, the international games space, and the skills those employed in the industry on which there is a strong focus.

“We conducted two polls as part of the study, and to our surprise, 83 per cent of the respondents believed that skills shortages still exist, in spite of the recent downturn in the games industry caused by the global financial crisis.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) at Queensland University of Technology’s Dr Sandra Haukka authored the report and said the shortage of skills across the industry are a major challenge.

“We conducted two polls as part of the study, and to our surprise, 83% of the respondents believed that skills shortages still exist, in spite of the recent downturn in the games industry caused by the global financial crisis,” Haukka said in a statement.

“The other poll confirmed our concerns about the content, delivery and outcomes of games courses, with 84% of participants believing games courses in Australia are ‘highly ineffective’.”

The study makes a number of recommendations to address the skills shortage including the forming of links between the industry and providers of games courses, pairing graduate skills with industry requirements, establishing more on-the-job training opportunities and being less dependent on the skills of overseas hires.

“To grow and prosper, studios must also take greater advantage of increasing revenue streams from online and mobile games, adopt new business models, respond to new audiences and changing player demographics, and explore new lines of business, such as serious games and advergaming – using computer games as promotional aids,” she said.

According to Haukka, the success of several applications can be realised through making the most of these new channels.

“With 27 per cent of mobile users already using their phone to play games, Australian developers will continue to benefit from strong consumer demand for apps for mobile devices.”

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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