Who Are the Biggest Australian Game Developers?

As Australia’s gaming industry continues to flourish, a few Aussie game developers are receiving international recognition. With an income that exceeds US$118.5 million, it’s no secret that Australia’s studios are booming. As this figure continues to grow exponentially, so are the number of Australians working in the industry. Currently, 928 Australians work at game studios, which is a huge increase from the 734 people last year. With international companies setting their sites in Australia, the future looks bright for this booming industry. Let’s find out the Biggest Australian game developers?

Some Startling Facts

Over 80 companies are fueling Australia’s influence in the international gaming market, but a few have stolen the show. Due to the necessity for high-speed internet & skilled programmers, some areas of Australia have become hotbeds for game development. While 21% of employees are based in Sydney, over a third of all development is based in Melbourne. Only 18% of revenue was generated locally, so companies are still heavily reliant on overseas markets in America & Europe. Even though the number of Australian development companies is growing, only a few are drawing international attention.

To fully understand the impact that Australia has on the mobile gaming industry, examining the top development companies is essential. These companies are pioneering the industry with innovative themes that could only come from Australia. While most people wouldn’t recognize their names, many know their releases. Despite not being very clear; these companies are responsible for creating some of the most beloved mobile games of all time. For this reason, these Australian juggernauts deserve some recognition. To highlight this growing niche, we compiled a list of the most influential Australian game developers. Their releases reach millions of smartphones around the world, so prepare to get to know some truly visionary companies!

Most Influential Australian Game Developers

Developer #3: Firemonkeys

Game Developers
EA created an Australian-based powerhouse.

This Melbourne-based company was created when Electronic Arts merged freshly acquired Firemint & IronMonkey Studios in 2012. Both parent studios had already made hit games, so EA was eager to see what this union would lead to. As expected, this innovative mixture of two promising studios didn’t disappoint. Within a few years Firemonkeys created Need for Speed: Most Wanted & Real Racing 3.

Both games were highly polished console releases, but Firemonkeys wasn’t finished. After making the wildly popular The Sims FreePlay, they set their sights on mobile games. Their first release was Flight Control, which became so popular that it helped pioneer App Store gaming. Firemonkeys is backed by one of the most powerful companies in the industry, so users can expect more epic releases.

Developer #2: Hipster Whale

Game Developers
Crossy Roads’ impact can’t be ignored.

This Melbourne-based company started on friendship & evolved into an independent industry leader. When Andy Sum & Matt Hall met at GCAP 2013, they got along so well that they decided to work together. After teaming up with Ben Weatherall, they started creating a game called Crossy Roads. It only took 12 weeks to develop, but the wild success of this game changed their lives.

Crossy Roads became so popular that it helped forge a powerful partnership with Disney. On top of creating numerous Disney-themed Crossy Road spinoffs, Hipster Whale made Pac-Man 256. Their legacy didn’t end there, since they are still cranking out hits. Two-thirds of the Hipster Whale team formed Mighty Games Group, which produced another popular game called Shooty Skies. Even after reaching impressive levels of success, Hipster Whale’s producers haven’t lost their ambition.

Developer #1: Halfbrick Studios

Game Developers
From Fruit Ninja to Jetpack Joyride, Halfbrick Studios has changed the industry.

Out of all the game developers based in Australia, none are more established than Halfbrick Studios. Founded in 2001, this Brisbane-based company has taken the industry by storm. Their most revered release is undoubtedly Fruit Ninja, which made its debut in 2010. Boasting simple controls & colorful graphics, Fruit Ninja surpassed 1 billion downloads in 2015. Hovering right behind Candy Crush, it’s currently the second most download game in the App Store. They also create Jetpack Joyride back in 2011, which become so successful that people still play it.

On top of creating some of the most popular mobile games of all time, Halfbrick Studios pioneered game development in Australia. Halfbrick Studios’ massive impact is visible when they induct into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame in 2017. This company has over 100 employees & boasts offices in Sydney, Adelaide, Los Angeles, Bulgaria & Spain. Their achievements are nothing short of impressive, so it will be exciting to see what they create next.

About the author

Nathaniel Mansfield