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The game development industry in Australia is second to none. Dynamic and sophisticated, Australian companies are already developing and marketing titles for the largest game publishers in the world. Australia offers world-class creative talent, advanced technology and exceptional management experience.
Australia’s key strengths in the game industry are:
• • • • • • OVER 40 GAME DEVELOPMENT COMPANIES DEVELOPING GAMES FOR OVER 20 YEARS MORE THAN 200 TITLES FRESH CREATIVE TALENT HUGE SKILLS BASE GREAT INFRASTRUCTURE AND ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY • WORLD CLASS EDUCATION AND TRAINING COURSES ENSURE CONTINUED TALENT SUPPLY NOW AND IN THE FUTURE • CRITICAL MASS OF COMPLEMENTARY CREATIVE INDUSTRIES, INCLUDING FILM AND TELEVISION, DESIGN, ADVERTISING AND NEW MEDIA • GLOBAL COMPANIES IN AUSTRALIA INCLUDING ACTIVISION, ATARI, EIDOS INTERACTIVE, ELECTRONIC ARTS, MICROSOFT, NINTENDO, SONY, TAKE TWO INTERACTIVE, THQ, UBISOFT ENTERTAINMENT AND VIVENDI UNIVERSAL • OPEN FOR BUSINESS 24/7
Australia’s ﬁrst electronic game company, Beam Software, is established in Melbourne. Beam Software goes on to develop more than 150 game titles, making it one of the most proliﬁc game development companies in the world. The Hobbit, developed by Beam Software on multiple platforms (including Spectrum, Commodore 64, IBM PC), and one of the ﬁrst major games produced in Australia, is released.
Beam Software’s, The Hobbit, reaches No.1 best selling position throughout Europe and is converted to most computer formats. Sales exceed 500,000 units.
Interactive Binary Illusions is established in Brisbane.
Torus Games is established in Melbourne, developing on all popular platforms. Tantalus Interactive is established in Melbourne. The company rapidly moves from arcade conversions to hand-held games and console titles. Both companies go on to become global leaders in development of hand-held games.
Beam Software’s SNES Cricket achieves No.1 status in Australia and the UK. Blue Tongue Software is established in Melbourne. Auran is established in Brisbane and grows to become one of the largest four studios in the state. QANTM (Queensland and Northern Territory Multimedia) Co-operative Multimedia Centre Pty Ltd is established in Brisbane. Wildﬁre Studios is established in Brisbane, specialising in arcade games. Tantalus Interactive releases Manx TT Superbike on Sega Saturn and PC. It is among the leading Sega Saturn titles of the year.
Eyecon is established in Brisbane to create ﬁrst person shooter titles and edutainment products. QANTM provides a Diploma of Multimedia and graduates move into the emerging Brisbane games market.
The Game Developers’ Association of Australia (GDAA) is established to represent the local game development industry.
The Victorian Government releases Game Plan, Australia’s ﬁrst Government strategy to address issues facing the game industry, including business growth, infrastructure and skills. The Victorian Government welcomes the Australian Game Developers Conference to Melbourne for the next three years.
The Victorian Government launches Game Plan: The Next Level, its second game strategy which includes a $250,000 commitment to subsidise Victorian companies’ access to Sony PlayStation2 development kits.
By 2001, Ratbag has released three value products in their Dirt Track Racing series with total combined sales in excess of 2 million units. Infogrames Melbourne House releases Le Mans Dreamcast which is voted Best Driving Game on any platform worldwide by EGM. Auran releases its 3D game engine which is extensively licensed in South East Asia. The company releases its ﬁrst TRAINZ Railroad Simulator and goes on to release an updated version every year, growing registered online members to 120,000 by 2004 with 500 new registrations per week. Halfbrick Studios is established in Brisbane, specialising in hand-held games.
Eyecon releases its network multiplayer ﬁrst person shooter, Gore, worldwide. Auran releases the ﬁrst of its TRAINZ railroad simulation games based on its proprietary Jet game engine. Infogrames Melbourne House releases Grand Prix Challenge which is voted the Top Driving Game for the Sony PlayStation 2. The Creative Assembly, an arm of UK based parent company, establishes a studio in Brisbane to co-develop Rome: Total War on PC. Ratbag releases World of Outlaws Sprint Car Racing (an IP controlled by Ratbag). BigWorld is established and launches its massively multiplayer middleware technology, and becomes a world leader with clients in China, Korea, Japan, Europe and North America. Krome Studios self funds and releases TY the Tasmanian Tiger, retaining ownership of the IP with a distribution deal with Electronic Arts. TY goes on to sell over 1.3 million units globally.
AIE student enrolments now reach 200 and the Academy wins the Registered Training Organisation of the Year Award. Torus Games’ Doom II is named Best First Person Shooter Game on GameBoy Advance at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The Victorian Government’s world-ﬁrst Sony PlayStation2 Program is launched and managed by the GDAA. The program provides 12 Sony PlayStation2 development kits to local developers plus a performance analyser. The GDAA establishes its national headquarters in Melbourne with support from the Victorian Government and the AIE. Its ﬁrst Executive Director is appointed.
The Queensland Government announces its ﬁrst games package to support local developers with $A800,000 to be provided for industry development over four years. Infogrames Melbourne House rebrands as Atari Melbourne House. Torus Games is the ﬁrst Australian developer to sign a ﬁrst person shooter, Ice Nine, on Sony PlayStation2 for BAM! The Creative Digital Industry Network is formed in the Australian Capital Territory to represent local industry. Tantalus Interactive’s Top Gear Rally wins the IGN Award for Best GameBoy Advance Racing Game. It also wins Australian Game of the Year and is Australia’s ﬁrst game on any platform to be published by Nintendo. The company also opens its mobile game studio in Kuala Lumpur.
Blue Tongue Software releases its ﬁrst console title, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, which goes on to sell over 400,000 units.
The Electronic Games Investment Fund Ltd is created. Auran signs an $A8.3m joint venture development deal to develop a MMPORG for the Asian market, using its Jet engine and the BigWorld technology, creating an Australian total solution. The company is also producing four new titles a month. Transformers Armada, developed by Atari Melbourne House, is voted one of the Best Games of 2004.
The GDAA hosts a major international networking event at the Game Developers’ Conference in the US, with over 150 publishers, investors and industry players attending. The Great Aussie BBQ puts Australia on the map. The Australian industry has its largest ever presence at E3 (the largest entertainment show in the world) with 39 companies showcasing product. The Australian stand is supported by nine Government agencies and over $A15m worth of deals are signed within 3 months of the show, with $A8.6m of those signed at E3. Micro Forté launches Citizen Zero, a revolutionary crossplatform MMORG action game, powered by BigWorld’s technology. Micro Forté and Solid Networks announce a joint venture at the Tokyo Game Show to establish BigWorld Japan.
IR Gurus Interactive releases AFL Live Premiership Edition which goes straight to No.1, making it the fourth AFL endorsed football game for the company to reach No.1 in Australia and sales in excess of 500,000 units since the launch of AFL licensed games. The Creative Assembly releases the multi-award winning Rome: Total War on PC. The game is one of the highest rating strategy games of all time. In 2004, four local game studios produce game titles linked to major Hollywood ﬁlm properties: Krome Studios releases King Arthur; Ratbag releases Dukes of Hazzard: Return of the General Lee; and Blue Tongue Entertainment releases; The Polar Express; Tantalus Interactive produce the GameBoy Advance version. THQ acquire Blue Tongue Entertainment, extending its operations to include studios in Brisbane and Melbourne. The Sony PlayStation2 Development Kit Program, sponsored by the Queensland Government, is extended to Queensland developers. The Australian Games Innovation Centre (AGIC), a Victorian Government initiative, is established in Melbourne to house the Melbourne Campus of the AIE, the National Headquarters of the GDAA and a national game showcase.
Micro Forté is established in Sydney making it the oldest Australian-owned independent studio. It is now an emerging publisher of massively multiplayer online games.
Ratbag is established in Adelaide and grows to become the largest game studio in South Australia. Interactive Binary Illusions releases Halloween Harry which becomes the best selling shareware game until the release of Doom.
Auran releases Dark Reign which sells over 685,000 units and is rated in the Top 10 Real Time Strategy Games by Game Developer magazine in the US.
Beam Software becomes part of Infogrames Entertainment Group. Infogrames Melbourne House is born. ndWare is established in Melbourne, developing for handheld games and later expands into the mobile games area. Irrational Games establishes a game development studio in Canberra. The AIE launches the inaugural Australian Game Developers’ Conference (AGDC) in Sydney.
Government of Victoria: Game Plan Government of Victoria: Game Plan - The Next Level
Beam Software’s, Way of the Exploding Fist, is the No.1 Best Selling Title in Europe, selling over 500,000 units. Micro Forté releases America’s Cup Sailing Simulation and sells over 60,000 units, setting a record for most units sold in Australia.
Torus Games: Sentinel
Infogrames Melbourne House releases GP500, celebrating 20 years in the industry and release of over 150 titles. The AIE establishes its campus at Canberra Technology Park and delivers Australia’s ﬁrst Diploma of Computer Game Development plus the ﬁrst speciﬁc course for games programming. Micro Forté releases Fallout Tactics, the next release in Interplay’s fallout franchise, which sells over 300,000 units and goes to No.2 in the US sales’ charts. The Queensland Game Developers’ Cluster is established to provide a focal point for local developers (now Electronic Games Queensland), supported by the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council. Irrational Games Australia releases its ﬁrst game, Freedom Force, which wins a number of awards including IGN.com’s Best Strategy Game, Gamespot.com’s Best Story and Best Acting and Computer Gaming World’s Strategy Game of the Year.
The Victorian Government releases Game Plan: Game On, its third initiative to support the Victorian electronic game industry which includes options for establishing an Australian Games Innovation Centre in Melbourne, funding for local game content development, access to market intelligence, support for international trade shows (GDC and E3), plus continued sponsorship for the AGDC until 2005.
Blue Tongue Software: Jurassic Park - Operation Genesis
Beam Software obtains a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX:BEM), the ﬁrst game company to go public. Blue Tongue Software releases AFL Finals Fever, the company’s ﬁrst product and the ﬁrst PC based AFL football game. The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) ofﬁcially opens its ﬁrst campus, in Canberra with 20 students. QANTM takes its ﬁrst cohort of students – 3 groups of 20 into the training subsidiary Australian Silicon Studio Training Centre. IR Gurus Interactive is established in Melbourne, specialising in equestrian and stadium sports games. Micro Forté establishes its second studio and headquarters in Canberra.
Ratbag: Powerslide Auran: Dark Reign
Beam Software: The Hobbit
Ratbag’s ﬁrst game, Powerslide, wins Racing Game of the Year (and runner up Best Graphics Engine) with IGN.
Micro Forté becomes the ﬁrst game studio to raise venture capital and makes a $A9m investment in R&D over the next four years. Krome Studios is established in Brisbane and ﬁve years later is Australia’s largest game studio with over 130 staff.
Pandemic Studios, an arm of US parent company, is established in Brisbane. Blue Tongue Software releases Starship Troopers, using new terrain technology developed in-house. Tantalus Interactive releases South Park Rally, the ﬁrst Sega Dreamcast title developed in Australia. QANTM is contracted by the Queensland Government to provide 80 scholarship places in a nationally accredited Diploma of IT.
IR Gurus Interactive develops AFL Live 2005, the ﬁrst company to utilise the Victorian Government’s cash ﬂow facility to ﬁnance a game. The company releases Saddle Club-Willow Brook on PC which goes on to become the Best Selling Children’s PC title in Australia and New Zealand. The company surpasses worldwide sales of 500,000 units of equestrian sales and also becomes the ﬁrst Australian-based development company to sign a ﬁrst party deal with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for Gaelic Football 2005.
QANTM wins the Registered Training Organisation of the Year Award. Team Bondi is established in Sydney. Gridwerx is established in Brisbane, specialising in online games. A major showcase of the Australian industry, managed by the GDAA, is launched at E3 for the ﬁrst time, with 29 companies attending and with the support of seven Government agencies. Over $17m worth of deals are signed within four months of the show. The AIE runs Australia’s ﬁrst Advanced Diploma in Game Development. The ﬁrst Women in Games event is held at the annual Australian Game Developers’ Conference.
Atari Melbourne House: Transformers Armada
The Microsoft Xbox Development Kit Program, sponsored by the Victorian Government, is launched in Victoria. A total of 21 development kits are made available. IR Gurus Interactive’s, Heroes of the Paciﬁc, is the ﬁrst game developed through Victoria’s Sony PlayStation2 Development Kit Program to gain a publishing contract. Krome Studios announces a major deal with DPS Film Roman in the US to bring TY the Tasmanian Tiger to television as a direct-to-DVD and syndicated cartoon series. DPS Film Roman, producers of The Simpsons and X-Men: Evolution, sign TY, the ﬁrst video game property licensed by them for animation. Krome Studios releases the sequel, TY 2: Bush Rescue. Halfbrick Studios produces the GameBoy Advance version. Irrational Games Australia ships Tribes: Vengeance, a sequel in the successful Tribes multiplayer online ﬁrst person shooter franchise. The company also establishes a marketing and distribution deal with VUG for Freedom Force vs The Third Reich.
The AIE, with support from the Victorian Government, opens a Melbourne campus with 60 students in the ﬁrst intake. Torus Games celebrates 10 years in the industry and development of over 20 game titles. Tantalus Interactive celebrates 10 years in the business with over 20 game titles. The company also releases Unreal 2 on Xbox, the ﬁrst ever Australian developed, online console game.
Krome Studios: TY the Tasmanian Tiger Government of Victoria: Game Plan - Game On Micro Forté: Fallout Tactics Irrational Games Australia: Freedom Force IR Gurus Interactive: AFL Live 2005
By 2003, the Australian electronic game industry has over 40 companies and 700+ people working directly in game studios. Over $A100m is being exported annually.
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