WHEN two friends moved to Coffs Harbour to study little did they know a chance meeting with another graduate in the teacher’s office would lead to them launching a business together.
Friends Joshua Webel and Rhys Johansen, gaming enthusiasts relocated to Coffs Harbour in 2019, to study a Certificate IV in Digital and Interactive Games.
From there they went on to further study and both completed the Diploma in 2020.
It was when a Diploma graduate of the previous cohort, Jarrod Revell, went to visit his teacher TAFE NSW teacher that the three met and created a partnership in a game development studio, Obelus Studios.
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The studio is forward thinking and creating a space for other graduates as well.
“The whole idea of Obelus Studios is to create our own games, but also create job opportunities for future graduates,” Mr Webel said.
“At Obelus Studios, we want to be the studio that gives people their start to help build their experience in the industry.”
Since launching the studio, the trio has grown to a team of seven, including another three TAFE NSW graduates from the Digital and Interactive Games program.
Support from TAFE NSW staff Teacher of Information Technology & Creative Industries, Jason Vallely, and Education Support Officer Jon McMillan have been instrumental to their success in staying motivated and on track, Mr Johansen said.
“Gaming development is an exciting industry; this is a great example of our students graduating with the right skills and experience to start their own business, and the confidence in their ability to innovate – not in five years’ time but right now,” Mr Vallely said.
The team will release its first mobile game in the upcoming months.
A virtual reality game is also in development, planned for release by the end of 2021 for the PC platform.
51% of Australian gaming development studios are less than five years old.
With revenue growth of 29% since 2019 despite Covid-19, Mr Vallely said that studio start-ups are a perfect opportunity for graduates to enter the market to develop and sell their intellectual property.
The Australian video game development industry generated $184.6 million in revenue in 2019/20, a growing industry that the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association says has the potential to be a $1 billion industry within ten years.
By Sandra MOON