Game as anything

The Kiwi-made game <i>Bloons</i>.
The Kiwi-made game <i>Bloons</i>.
Research into how New Zealanders are playing video games has found nine out of 10 households own a device on which they play games and nearly 80% of parents with children (aged 18 and under) play computer and video games.

In households that play computer or video games, 38% use a mobile phone and 9% use a tablet computer to play games. A further 51% of gaming households own a traditional game console.

The second report in a series conducted by Bond University, Queensland, "Digital New Zealand 2012" is based on a random sample of more than 800 New Zealand households and provides data on video and computer game use and attitudes, as well as the broader consumption of digital media.

Dr Jeff Brand, an associate professor at Bond University and author of the report, says research shows video games are no longer the domain of the traditional stereotype of a teenage boy: the average Kiwi gamer is 33 years old.

Mark Goodacre, director of Interactive Games & Entertainment Australia adds: "Kiwi gamers are growing up and they're parents and even grandparents. Research shows that 41% of people aged over 50 now play video games and a quarter of gamers have been playing for more than two decades."

Other key findings of the "Digital New Zealand 2012" report include:

• 47% of gamers are females

• The average adult gamer has been playing for 12 years.

• 58% of gamers play either daily or every other day.

• 92% of parents who play computer games themselves use them to help educate their children.

• Action was the most popular gaming genre in 2010, followed closely by family games.

It's game on . . .
The value of the New Zealand games industry is forecast to reach $192 million by 2015, as the result of a compound annual growth rate of 6.9%, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, "New Zealand Entertainment & Media Outlook, 2011-2015".

According to a recent report by the New Zealand Game Developers Association, the New Zealand video-game development industry grew by 46% this year, boosted by the huge growth of smartphone and online games.

In the 12 months to September 2011, 114 game-development jobs were created and the industry now employs the equivalent of 359 full-time people. In addition, local game studios expect to create 99 new jobs in the coming 12 months. Approximately 40% of these will be for programmers, 40% for artists and 20% for managers.

The results come from a survey of New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA) members unveiled at the AnimFX gaming, animation and visual effects conference at Te Papa, Wellington, last month.

"New Zealand games studios are export businesses, employing highly skilled technical and creative staff, creating original game ideas and increasingly retaining that intellectual property in New Zealand," NZGDA chairman Stephen Knightly said.

Examples of recent Kiwi game company successes include:

Shatter, by Wellington's Sidhe, rated No 1 PlayStation Network downloadable game by

Bloons, by Auckland-based Ninja Kiwi, an online game played well over one billion times. One of its sequels, Bloons Tower Defence 4, has sold more than a million copies on iPhone and iPad.

SmallWorlds, a fast-growing social game world, has passed the seven million players mark.

Chopper 2, by Majic Jungle, was a Mac App Store launch day hit, selling more than 100,000 copies in one week.

Sparx, by Metia Interactive in Auckland, won a United Nations World Summit Award and has been clinically shown to help teenagers manage depression.


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