New Zealand’s interactive media and games sector could create a billion-dollar export industry by 2024, a new report outlining the sector reveals.

Interactive Aotearoa, a report produced by the New Zealand Game Developers Association with support from NZTech, WeCreate and government agencies, identified interactive games as the greatest potential creator of new jobs and export earnings in coming years.

New Zealand’s video games industry generated over $143 million last year. The global market is worth $258 billion.

Interactive Aotearoa outlined that gaining just one per cent of the global video games market would generate $258m in new exports each year.

The sector in New Zealand has grown 39 per cent annually for the last six years – at this continued rate and with the support of Government the industry would be worth one billion dollars in 2024, it outlined.

New Zealand Game Developers Association chair Cassandra Gray said it was an “aspirational yet achievable” goal for the sector.

“Forty years ago our film industry partnered with the Government and we now have a multi-billion dollar screen industry. Twenty years ago our music industry did the same. Our interactive and games industry has reached the stage where it has the capability, skills and international opportunity to similarly contribute significant jobs, exports and social benefits,” Gray said.

“We’ve made a strong start, but our sector is still young and growing.

“Our aspirational, yet achievable, goal is to see New Zealand become a billion dollar exporter of interactive media, sitting alongside our successful film and software sectors.”

Interactive media, combining the tech sector and creative industries, currently slips through the cracks of Government culture, media and innovation policy.

The report calls for the establishment of the New Zealand Interactive Commission, modelled on existing creative industries agencies the music and film commissions, and an interactive innovation fund. It also recommends that Government screen and cultural programmes be modernised to include interactive media.

Several countries have introduced interactive industry programmes. Finland, with a population similar to New Zealand, has an interactive sector worth $3.8 billion annually – 25 times the size of ours – as the result of government support.

Recommendations for support from the Government outlined in the report will be discussed next month at the New Zealand Game Developers conference at Te Papa.

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