Today and tomorrow, Luna Park Sydney is playing host to Gametech 2011, a conference that aims to drive the local industry forward as a seminal "meeting of the minds" for all things tech and gaming here in Australia.
Representatives from all walks of the Australian industry are in attendance, from media and retail, to developers, publishers, agencies, the government and more.
The event opened with the Minister for Home Affairs and R18+ gaming champion, Brendan O'Connor, who articulately addressed the Australian state of play when it comes to our rapidly growing industry (thanks Laura Parker
"The federal government understands we have a responsibility to deliver reforms that minimise the regulatory burden on the industry," he said in his opening address. "The current classification system is based on an old paradigm. Back in 1996, nobody would have imagine that people would one day be playing Angry Birds on mobile devices while sitting on a train connected to a wi-fi network. Fifteen years on, the federal government wants a vibrant game development industry in Australia. Our market has grown and can boast over 50 companies with over 200 popular gaming titles to its credit. The games industry in Australia is now worth over A$1.3 billion annually, with an annual growth of 15 percent.
He then added to his address, the current plan and position on the introduction of an R18+ classification in Australia.
"It's been on the agenda since 2002 and it's fair to say that it’s time for a decision," he said with deliberation. "On a fundamental level, [R18+ for games] is required to give the Australian classification system parity with other countries. Australians needs a robust classification system that protects children from harmful material while ensuring adults are free to make their own decisions."
The increase in revenue and growth for the industry in Australia looks to be opening more doors than just classification reform, hopefully the federal government can take away a renewed sense of vigour for game development here in Australia and offer more tax breaks or monetary incentives to promote growth.
We're not actually at the event due to poor timing (with E3), but our good friends at GameSpot AU are, so check out their coverage right here