Why AIMIA doesn’t represent Australian Interactive developers.
On the 18th of March I emailed AIMIA directly to let them know I was pretty unimpressed with their representation of the interactive industry (most notably games, and us developers who sit in the middle of the games/interactive space). The (slightly edited) email is below :
From my perspective (as ex-Lead Designer at Pandemic Aus, currently director of Defiant Development, and one of the more active cross platform game developers in Australia) AIMIA is entirely irrelevant to game developers in Australia. I say this as someone who’s active in working across film, tv, and advertising in the games space and a regular speaker on transmedia and serious games (or gamification, if we have to call it that).
I’m sure this situation comes about because you don’t have many/any game specialists involved as AIMIA members – looking at the awards (and the events you run) I can’t say I’m surprised. Games is the hub, the beating heart and soul of ‘interactive media’. When it comes to interactivity, the games people are head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the biz – as evidenced by the sudden desire to ‘gamify’. We’ve been ‘gamifying’ for decades, and represent the core of the expertise in creating engaging, addictive, enthralling, interactive content. We are the future of interactive media – and if you run your eye down the list of awards, you’d have to draw the conclusion that AIMIA is stuck well in the past.
To look specifically at your awards – award categories such as “Best Mobile Product or Service” “Best Cross Platform” “Best Use of Social Media” are all shamefully lacking in representing the (very relevant) work of Australian game/interactive developers in those categories. I’d offer feedback through your survey, but of course you don’t have a survey for people who didn’t attend, so there’s no way for me to engage. Besides which, your survey questions are all about the venue, host, transport and afterparty – not the award categories or nominations. It would seem that you either don’t realise how incredibly out of step you are with the interactive industry, or simply don’t care. At least not as much as you care about the canapés.
Your upcoming gamification event (the only thing I could find anywhere in the AIMIA site that looks even slightly games related) is another example of this reluctance to actually engage with game developers. Only 3rd Sense (who are an agency that makes games rather than strictly a games developer) are represented. You wouldn’t know from looking that Australia has some of the worlds leading projects in every platform – from flash and mobile developers through to $30 million console games, Australian games are recognised around the world. Of course, they’re not even registered by what (by name and description) should be our peak industry body locally.
In short, the situation is shameful. I deeply hope that there are moves to do something about this long term – either by engaging with the broader interactive community you claim to represent, or via a name change to something that makes less claims to represent all the interactive media professionals of Australia.