Following this year’s Melbourne International Games Week, MCV Pacific sat down with the Hon. Martin Foley to discuss the week and Melbourne’s thriving games development sector.
MCV – Thank you for sitting down with us, Minister Foley.
MF – I’m always happy to chat about Melbourne’s games industry.
MCV – We are now on the other side of another impressive Melbourne International Games Week, what were some standouts for you?
MF – There really are so many positives. This year, it was clear that MIGW is now recognised by the international games industry as the leading industry event.
I am proud to have attracted Global Top Round to hold its incubator accelerator conference in Melbourne – a real coup for MIGW. In all, 17 teams from around the world were funded by GTR to participate in the program, including those from Korea, China, Germany, UK, USA, Denmark, Czech, Canada, Indonesia, Singapore, Brazil, Spain and Columbia.
I’m proud to say Victorian studio Spree Entertainment was one of the 10 start-ups selected for investment – we can expect great things from them in the future.
The international business community also stepped up their attendance this year with representatives from Apple, Google, Valve, Sony, Microsoft, HTC, Unity, Epic, Humble Bundle, Nvidia and Annapurna and many others travelling to Melbourne for the week.
Attendance at the Game Connect Asia Pacific continues to grow every year – cracking 1,000 delegates for the first time – and cementing its reputation as the region’s most important games industry conference. PAX Australia and Unite Melbourne also grew their international representation.
MCV – I have noticed that MIGW is becoming recognised on the global gaming calendar, with more and more international guests making the trip down. How has the Victorian Government been working to facilitate this, and what programs and activations are you looking to do to build on this momentum?
MF – Victoria’s Creative State strategy – released in April 2016 after just the first MIGW – certainly recognised the global potential of this event. We sought to make it the pre-eminent digital games event in the Asia Pacific region.
This was an ambitious goal and it’s a credit to all our MIGW partners and the industry that we have managed to get there so quickly!
We have mobilised the Government’s international trade and investment offices behind MIGW and as a result we welcomed several influential delegates from Korea, Japan and the US. This year we also attracted the IGDA Foundation’s Scholars Program which brought the best and brightest student game developers from around the world to Melbourne.
We have found that visitors to MIGW fall in love with the world’s most liveable city – our lifestyle and the unique nature of our games industry, and help us spread the word when they return home.
MCV – MIGW has just completed its third running, what have been some of the greatest learnings from the program to date?
MF – Most important is that we keep true to the ethos of MIGW where the events are either consumer, industry or education – this sets us apart from other games industry events around the world.
While we certainly ramped up the international reach of MIGW this year, it is critical that we ensure the Victorian games industry is front and centre. The grants we introduced last year to enable Victorian-based indie developers to exhibit at PAX Rising have had a significant impact. Last year, local indies Beethoven and Dinosaur secured investment from global powerhouse Annapurna, and no doubt there will be further outcomes from this year’s event. It has confirmed that publishers focus on PAX Rising exhibitors for new games concepts and ideas so it’s important that Victorian companies have a strong presence.
MCV – Finally, what thoughts do you have for the broader industry and how should they look to work within MIGW?
MF – Much of the appeal of MIGW stems from the nature of Victoria’s games industry. We’re creators and we’re innovators in this state.
We have a uniquely collegial and collaborative sector – one that’s open to new ideas, passionate about what they do and proud of their collective achievements.
A range of local businesses host their own events during MIGW to capitalise on the momentum of the week and the international visitors in town.
I’d encourage anyone wanting to host an event during MIGW to get in touch with the team to ensure they are part of the extended offering and best leverage the opportunities that MIGW brings.