Industry awards highlight Australia’s top gaming developers

This week the Australian video games industry will highlight the work of the country’s best studios and gaming professionals.
The Australian Game Developer Awards, coinciding with Melbourne International Games Week, is an annual event promoting some of Australia‘s best to the world.

Interactive Games and Entertainment Associations’ CEO Ron Curry says the awards are there to highlight the incredible work within the video games industry.

Webbed, The Artful Escape and Unpacking are all nominated for AGDA’s game of the year. (Supplied)

“The awards recognise excellence in a craft of creating video games making video games, and just as importantly, excellence in the individuals who are in the industry so whether that’s a career focus on contribution or cultural focus.” Mr Curry told 9News.

Studios and those individuals nominated are put forward by experts within the games industry.

“Anyone within the industry can nominate. They can nominate themselves, they can nominate somebody else, and obviously IGEA also has some ideas on who we think should be nominated.”

Games highlighted around Australia include Unpacking, developed by Brisbane-based studio Witch Beam. Witch Beam is nominated for four awards including Game of the Year.

Unpacking video game screen shot
Brisbane game developers Witch Beam are nominated for four AGDA awards for their game Unpacking. (Witch Beam)

Another studio up for an award is Melbourne based developers Hipster Whale, creators of the hugely successful Crossy Road series on mobile.

Hipster Whale’s Nerissa Stephens told 9News being nominated is a great honour, but it’s also the perfect moment to take a step back and reflect on all their hard work.

“When often working on a project we get very caught up in our own little bubble,” she said.

“This nomination is about celebrating all the work that we’ve poured into Crossy Road Castle. And for us, this project has been really fun and positive and super bright and colourful, and it’s about enjoying playing with friends and family.”

Nerissa Stephens praises Melbourne as one of the best places for game developers to set up shop.

“Melbourne is a really great place for creative businesses, I think it always has been. And with the help of places like The Arcade and support from Film Victoria, there’s a really nurturing community to help get projects off the ground.”

Crossy Road Castle video game screen shot
Crossy Road Castle is nominated for Excellence in Ongoing Games. (Hipster Whale)

Since the Federal Government’s Digital Games Tax Offset was announced IGEA believes there has been a big confidence boost for the industry.

“We’re hoping once DGTO kicks in, and within a few years’ time, that we’re looking at a billion dollar industry. That’s a significant difference, in dollars, but really more importantly, in employment, for sure.” Mr Curry told 9News.

Award winners will be announced during the AGDA show on Wednesday night starting at 7PM. Those interested can watch it live on IGEA’s Twitch channel.

You can also learn all about Melbourne International Games Week, which runs until October 10, by heading to http://gamesweek.melbourne

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