New Zealand’s interactive gaming industry could be worth a billion dollars in the next five years if the Government gets involved. The sector captures games, apps, simulators and virtual reality technology.

Now a new report says it’s a sleeping giant which could rival the likes of our film and music industry with the right level of investment.

For many, the games on your phone or tablet serve one purpose – to waste time. But, for the interactive gaming industry, this is the future of New Zealand’s economy.

“There’s belief internationally that this sort of knowledge and intellectual property comes out of New Zealand,” says NZTech CEO Graeme Muller.

“We just haven’t done a very good job of pushing it out into the world market.”

Globally, the interactive media sector is worth $258 billion. New Zealand’s industry contributed just $143 million to that market last year with games like¬†Into the Dead Twodeveloped in Wellington.

The Minister of Economic Development wants to aim higher.

“If we were to increase our global market share by just .01 percent that’s another $258 million a year,” Phil Twyford told Newshub.

The Interactive Aotearoa report suggests the creation of a Commission to oversee the industry and decide funding, like the Commissions for Film and Music we’ve had for decades.

“It’s not unrealistic to think, with good policies and the Government and industry working together this could be a billion-dollar a year industry,” Twyford says.

And, that industry involves far more than just mobile games.

“There are projects in NZ that are teaching mental health skills through a game app, or teaching children independence skills or creating programmes for children with dyslexia or adhd,” says gamification consultant and educational game designer, InGame managing director Stephen Knightly.

It’s an industry that could really boom – if it gets the helping hand it needs.

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