A new report says interactive media is a $143 million industry and one of the fastest growing parts of New Zealand’s digital economy.
The report, "Interactive Aotearoa - driving growth and wellbing through interactive media", was launched today by economic development minister Phil Twyford.
Prepared by the New Zealand Game Developers Association with support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and NZTech, the report sized New Zealand's current industry at $143 million and outlined its broad applications of and opportunities for growth.
The report also found the industry grew at an average annual of 39 per cent over the last six years.
Cassandra Gray, chair of the NZ Game Developers Association, said however that growth was unlikely to continue without support and was small considering the size of the $258 billion potential market.
"The New Zealand interactive industry is young, yet we already have many of the ingredients for more success which is evident through the accomplishments of the first generation of developers," she wrote in the report.
"While New Zealand has a tight-knit and supportive industry, to compete on a global stage it needs to match the commitment shown by industry and government in Canada, Finland, the United Kingdom, France and more recently Germany who have developed specific industry development policies."
Interactive design was a key competency in a digital economy and can be applied to education, health and wellbeing, culture and identity, as well as creative industries, Gray wrote. If supported in the right ways, the potential for digital and social returns was "immense".
"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," she wrote.
Twyford said the industry fitted the profile of the kind of industries NZ needs to foster to achieve a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy because it is low on emissions, export driven and scalable.
“Whether it’s through game development, digital story-telling, augmented reality, education technology or health applications, interactive media is one of the fastest growing parts of the digital economy both here and around the world," Twyford said at the launch.
The report made several recommendations, including establishing and funding a dedicated industry development organisation and a contestable interactive innovation fund.
An industry and tertiary education working group could also be formed to report on skills and competencies employers expect from work-ready graduates while a "Centre of Digital Excellence" could be founded in Otago with support from the Provincial Growth Fund.
In July, the government launched a new, sector-led approach to growing industry innovation and boosting productivity with a focus on creating Industry Transformation Plans (ITPs).
The new report, which was produced by the New Zealand Game Developers Association with support from NZTech, WeCreate and government agencies, would help shape a future ITP for the creative industries sector.