Three TAFE NSW graduates have levelled up to a new dimension with the launch of their own gaming development studio in Coffs Harbour.
A passion for gaming inspired friends Joshua Webel and Rhys Johansen to relocate to Coffs Harbour in 2019, to study a Certificate IV in Digital and Interactive Games. Both went on to complete the Diploma in 2020.
For Jarrod Revell, a Diploma graduate in 2019, a visit to his former TAFE NSW teacher turned into an intro to Mr Webel and Mr Johansen and a partnership in a game development studio.
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 (IGEA) says has the potential to be a $1 billion industry within ten years.
"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, studio start-ups are a perfect opportunity for graduates to enter the market to develop and sell their intellectual property, Mr Vallely said.
“If young people gain formal training in game programming skills now, they can position themselves to be the movers and shakers in the new way of doing business in the future.”
For more information on the Diploma of Digital and Interactive Games, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.
Photo credit: McMillan Arts
Media contact: Kelly Lawler, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist
 Australian game development industry counts $185 million in revenue - IGEA