Oct 23, 2018


ROOM 203



Ever since the withdrawal en masse of international studios from Australia more than a decade ago, the landscape of the Australian game industry has been primarily focused on indie devs. This shift in financial focus has not only negatively affected experienced veterans, but students, who have been forced to reconsider their future as creatives and professionals. Consequently, apart from teaching technical skills and the principles of design, educational institutions have increasingly found themselves placed in a position where they must provide students with guidance regarding small business management, marketing, and PR – skills that were not traditionally the domain of game schools.

And yet, even armed with all this, indie development is still a risky road that often relies more on luck than skill, with game students either leaving Australia for the USA, where AAA jobs are more common, or seeking out non-game jobs to make ends meet, leaving their passion for good.

But there are other paths that are overlooked, options beyond the trifecta of “Go Indie, get out of Australia, or get out of games.” One such is serious games. Serious games, defined as games that contain purposes beyond entertainment, have been used widely in a range of professional fields such as defence, education, health, research, brand building, and advertisement. These games provide training, pass along information, or utilise psychological strategies to alter attitudes and modify behaviour. But to make them, clients in other industries all need the help of game developers, meaning that working on serious games can provide a steady stream of income to indies – while helping developers hone their skills.

In this panel, Jack Gillespie and Nico King, two game professionals who have worked on a range of different serious game projects, share their experience regarding the field of serious games. Hosted by Kathleen Yin, founder of Serious Games Australia New Zealand, an organisation that seeks to bring together serious game developers, researchers, and clients/stakeholders in the ANZ region, this panel will discuss a multitude of topics related to working on serious games in Australia.

These include the range of different serious games clients in Australia, how one gets started in the serious games industry, how developing serious games is different than developing entertainment games, and some of the highlights and pitfalls in our panellists’ journey of serious games development.

  • Nico King

    Digital Creator and Co-Founder

    Chaos Theory Games

  • Troy Ferguson

    Senior Software Engineer

    Checkbox Studios

  • Jack Gillespie

    Director of Emerging Technology

    Deloitte Digital

  • Ben Rolfe

    Serious games Developer


  • Kathleen Yin


    Serious Games Australia New Zealand