South Australian gaming studios ‘level up’ for Gamescom

23 Aug 2023
South Australian gaming studios have travelled to the world’s largest gaming trade fair, Gamescom, in Cologne, Germany, with the support of Invest SA within the Department for Trade and Investment.

Gamescom is the world’s largest event for computer and video games and Europe’s most comprehensive business platform for the games industry and will be held from 23 to 27 August 2023.

The South Australian Government, as part of the State Budget 2023-24, announced an extension to the South Australian Video Game Development (VGD) Rebate of a further $3 million per annum, increasing to $3.8 million per annum by 2026-27.

Invest SA is providing support and assistance to the gaming studios in the lead up to Gamescom as well as providing support at the event. It will also be an opportunity for South Australian gaming studios to showcase their products, with attendance at Gamescom focusing on spruiking South Australia’s Creative Industries sector to international studios, investors and publishers, including:

Paper Cactus Games: An Australian video game studio founded in January 2021 in Adelaide, Paper Cactus is currently working on Fox and Shadow, a deckbuilding roguelike game in which players pilot drones to scavenge resources from the polluted world above.

Lamplight Forest Games: Dedicated to contributing to a new generation of uplifting games that empower the creativity of players and inspire hearts and minds. Lamplight Forest Games design co-creative experiences with storytelling, performative gameplay and flow. The studio also runs a micro-studio, Orchid of Redemption, creating and self-publishing the magical golf-like platformer, Joon Shining, which received praise for its beautiful visuals and unique gameplay. Orchid of Redemption is all about minimum loveable product – cutting away the fat to create simple, fun and flowing experiences.

My Colourful Mind: April is a clinical psychologist and the founder of My Colourful Mind. She has been consulting for over seven years, working in private settings and providing psychological assessments and interventions for patients to treat a range of mental health issues and neurodiverse presentations. Off the back of a global pandemic, a war in Ukraine and the rising cost of living, My Colourful Mind can see a need for accessible resources to support the management and prevention of anxiety. With anxiety affecting one in four Australians the demand has never been stronger. They have expanded the company into game development to create fun, engaging and authentic produced resources to assist clients and young people to build their knowledge and skills in cognitive behaviour therapy.

Also attending, are Dino Rocket, Mighty Kingdom and Mini Mammoth.

“We’re attending Gamescom in the hopes of making deep and long connections with publishers as we push our first project Fox and Shadow towards release,” said Leo Cheung, Director, Paper Cactus Games. “The support that Invest SA has provided our company has been invaluable. From assisting us to connect with other creatives that excel within the Adelaide game developer community, through to facilitating our presence amongst the Australian Gamescom delegation, we can’t thank Claudia enough for the work she does. Her regular presence at community hubs and events allows her to really understand the needs of local developers and it’s always great to receive her regular pearls of wisdom.

“South Australia is a fantastic place to live, from the well-planned streets to the easy access to all the necessities to enjoy life. Why games in particular? Well, at the city centre there are two educational institutions dedicated to nurturing new talent in the entertainment industries, AIE and CDW. Many young students are taking their first steps into the world of video games, priming new talent and studios to emerge.”

In 2022, Gamescom attracted more than 1,100 exhibitors from 53 countries and more than 265,000 visitors from over 100 countries to the six-day event, which this year will feature companies such as Nintendo, Amazon Games, Amazon Prime, the LEGO Group, Netflix, Samsung, SEGA, TikTok, Xbox and more. Anime, games and cosplay will also be presented at the event, along with the opportunity to exchange ideas.

Interactive Games and Entertainment Association Australia (IGEA), has organised an Australian exhibition stand at Gamescom, supported by organisations and state governments, with the aim of securing each studio with a direct investment or publishing deal.

The South Australian companies were selected in discussion with IGEA and have been supported to be on the Australian exhibition stand by Invest SA, the Adelaide Economic Development Agency and the South Australian Film Corporation.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics[1], released in June 2023, shows South Australia experienced the fastest employment growth of digital game development businesses in the nation, growing at 47 per cent, per annum, between 2015-16 and 2021-22, which is more than double the national average growth rate over the same period.

The Australian games industry has tripled according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics between 2015-16 and 2021-22.

PwC estimates that globally, total gaming revenue is expected to rise from US$227 billion in 2023 to US$312 billion in 2027[2].

[1] (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics – Film, Television and Digital Games, June 2023)
[2] Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2023-2027 PwC