A very big win for Australian gamers this week, with the news that NSW Attorney General, Greg Smith, had announced in-principle support for the inclusion of an R18 + classification for games. The good news however has been tempered by the closure of two Australian games development studios: THQ Brisbane and the Melbourne-based Blue Tongue (a THQ subsidiary).
Even the dropping Australian dollar this week wasn’t enough to keep the doors open. It’s a real watershed moment for the Australian industry, the previous advantage of the local worksforce as a cheaper option for US investment is gone and the focus on work-for-hire production of game licenses is proving to be unsustainable. While social, casual and mobile games are cheaper to make, require smaller teams, and provide new oppotuntieis to develop original IP and innovative game play they are already croweded markets, with big comapnies like THQ looking to focus there also.