By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: According to the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA), the Australian gaming industry has officially broken the $1 billion sales mark over the past financial year.

“This is a spectacular result for the Australian gaming industry. Breaking through the $1 billion mark highlights the seriousness and sheer scale of the industry in Australia,” said IEAA CEO, Chris Hanlon.

Statistics compiled by GfK Australia show an overall market increase of 30 per cent over the past six months, with over 5.5 million games and almost half a million gaming consoles sold since 1 January 2007.

“Australians are embracing interactive gaming as a preferred form of entertainment and the industry will continue to grow as the technology, games and equipment become even more sophisticated,” said Hanlon.

“Interactive entertainment attracts people from all ages and walks of life who have significant disposable income. The stereotype of gaming as a children’s pursuit is simply wrong, with the average gamer age in Australia at 28.”

The figures indicate strong hardware sales, which generated almost $150 million in the last six months alone. Australians have also enjoyed the latest releases in games, spending almost $264 million over the same period.

“Australia is growing in significance in the international gaming industry. There are 40 game development companies across the country, employing some 2,500 people that have produced 240 game titles,” Hanlon said.

“By supporting the industry, Australian consumers are feeding the potential of the game creators and technology developers – which will mean cutting edge gaming and a significant contribution to the economy over the years to come.”

GfK Australia account director, Daniel Morse, has stated that the new figures put the industry in a good position, exceeding all expectations.

“All platforms performed extremely well considering the average platform lifecycle which usually sees hardware sales decline a few years after launch as the market saturates and new technology is released.”

With all three major platofrms — the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 — all preparing for a record breaking summer holiday season, the figures and industry are expected to grow even further