A South Australian game designer is gearing up to speak at an internationally renowned film and technology convention, and inspiring women to get involved in the gaming industry.

Key points:

  • Game designer Chantal Ryan will be speaking at an international technology convention
  • She hopes to inspire more women to the gaming industry
  • South Australia’s gaming studios have grown from 17 to 58

The South by Southwest (SXSW) convention is taking place in Sydney this week, bringing interactive media, music and conference to the Australian stage for the first time.

Chantal Ryan will be a headline speaker at the event, where her game DarkwebSTREAMER will be previewed after being shown at gaming festival PAX Australia.

The anthropologist, writer and video game designer said the convention would be a game changer for the industry.

“I think it’s genuinely going to change the landscape of the technological sector in Australia, and I’m really excited to get to meet all the different people,” she said.

Ms Ryan is using her platform to inspire and support other women to get involved in gaming.

“I would like just generally more diversity in the industry, bringing video games with different perspectives and different stories to tell,” Ms Ryan said.

“I think that we all benefit from bringing a lot more storytellers with different, unique perspectives to the games that we make, but also to the games that people are playing.”

Booming industry in SA and beyond

Onnie Chan, who is the manager of an Adelaide co-working gaming hub called Game Plus, said community was integral to the success of the industry.

“I think (Game Plus is) like a gardener who brings all these lovely seeds into the space,” Ms Chan said.

“We’re going to do three things for them, we support, we make them connect, and eventually they will grow.”

Onnie Chan manages a gaming hub called Game Plus. (ABC News: Olivia Mason)

South Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment, Nick Champion, said the industry had seen substantial growth.

“What we’ve seen the last financial year is a real explosion from 17 to 58 gaming studios in the state — a really incredible growth — 300 employees, 60 of which are women,” Mr Champion said.

“This is a really dynamic industry, it’s an industry that young people want to work in, and it’s an industry that can produce jobs and export revenue, and of course, really sophisticated economic entities.”

Mr Champion said having SXSW visit Sydney would further provide the Australian industry with international recognition and exposure.

“What we can see is dynamic, intelligent, skilled people with great ideas for games getting exposure to international investors, and that can only result in good outcomes.”

Ms Ryan agreed that there was big money being made in the gaming sphere.

“It’s very, very common for quantities like $30 billion to change hands around different video game companies and acquisitions,” she said.

“It’s actually bigger globally than the film and music industry combined, so video games are actually our largest and most profitable media sector across the world, and governments are responding finally, which is nice to see.”