There used to be a view that videogames were a waste of time and effort that were corrupting the nations youth and leading them down a path of idleness and procrastination. To a degree this remains around today, but there’s a growing feeling, especially among younger generations, that videogames are a positive use of time, so long as it’s in moderation. They allow us to experience new things, keep in contact with old friends, make new ones and keep our reflexes and imagination sharp. When balanced with other activities, videogames can have a positive impact within someone’s life. And on top of this, they’re profitable.
I’ve always thought New Zealand should invest more heavily into its videogame industry. The field has grown exponentially within the last few decades and is now a far cry from the stereotypical garage studio that some people may envisage. Instead, companies like Ubisoft, CD Projekt Red, EA and others are now some of the most recognisable brands amongst certain groups of people. CD Projekt Red for example are well known for their successes in their creation of the Witcher game series and are now creating hype for their next upcoming title, Cyberpunk 2077. They’re so good at making games that they’re now Poland’s most valuable company, worth approximately $6.8 billion USD. This is akin to other triple A videogame developers and publishers in other parts of the world, proving that this is a market worth tapping into.
New Zealand stands to benefit from encouraging this industry to grow here. A strong videogame industry will help cultivate the image of a technologically literate nation who place a high value on the kinds of skills needed to produce these games. We’ll also benefit by growing companies that could potentially bring in large amounts of tax revenue within the country. We already have companies that produce games or work on them, such as Grinding Gear Games or Weta Workshops. We just need to encourage this sector to grow through investment and engagement. The perfect time to do that is now, in world where going out in public in many places is dangerous, yet we still need social interaction and engagement with the arts. Videogames are a solution.
Furthermore, this is the kind of industry that denotes the new age. The way videogames are viewed has changed significantly. The companies that make these triple A games, and smaller indie studios, are significant in that they’re companies of the modern world. People across the globe access their products, even if it is a more niche fashion than brands like Nike, Apple or other multinational companies. Having these sorts of game studios within our nation will show the world that we’re engaging with technological advances and encouraging a sector that is more and more viewed as a type of art and media.