Gamers are flocking to online farms – what does this mean for farming?
When James Bendon started developing a video game about farming in Australia, featuring giant wombats and fire-breathing Tasmanian devils, he never imagined it would be so successful.
“It has sold over 250,000 copies [since July]which is beyond my expectations, I still can’t believe it,” Bendon said.
“I’ve always loved farming games and wanted to make one that feels like the little bush town I grew up in…and, yes, the response has been amazing.”
Not bad for a game that hasn’t been officially released and is only available through early access – a funding model that allows consumers to pay and play a game while it’s in development.
Larrikin Interactive founder Dylan Bennett said Australia’s video game industry is “flourishing” in terms of creativity and global reach.
“There are a lot of great games coming out right now, and people don’t often realize they were made in Australia,” Bennett said.
“A good example of this is Dinkum. It was made by one person and brought in ridiculous amounts of money and has performed phenomenally since its launch. [early access] Release.”
In Australia, around 17 million people interact with gaming content, according to the Bond University Digital Australia Report 2022.
Globally, it’s an industry now worth more than $475 billion ($300 billion).
Farming Game Boom
Mr Bendon said Dinkum wasn’t “super realistic” in terms of farming in Australia (remember, it’s a game of milking giant wombats).
But he said this hopefully tapped into a wider trend among gamers.
“There is a boom going on where there are a lot more games now [that are] less to shoot people and more to grow things,” he said.
In the Northern Territory, game developer Nathan Groves creates a game inspired by the NT beef industry.
It’s called Pasture: The Livestock Simulator and involves managing livestock stations, building infrastructure, mustering helicopters, improving herd genetics and more as players “build an empire livestock”.
Born in the Top End town of Katherine and the son of a ranching agent, Mr Groves said the NT has something unique to offer the growing genre of farming games.
“I remember downloading a game called Farming Simulator and was surprised I liked it, and it made me more interested in all the farming equipment I saw around Katherine,” said- he declared.
“I thought there was something to these games and why can’t we do one about the NT beef industry?
“I think it’s the most exciting farming environment in the world and the perfect setting for a video game.”
It’s still early days for Mr. Groves’ game, which he plans to release on early access PC next year before targeting opportunities on Xbox and PlayStation.
What opportunities does this create for agriculture?
Mr Groves said he knew someone working in the Northern Territories beef industry who had been inspired to look for a job after enjoying a game about the American Wild West.
“Games can influence people and we intend to make this game a fun way for people around the world to learn about the NT beef industry,” he said.
Dylan Bennett said farming simulation games have become “extremely popular” and farming players should take heed.
“I think organizations are starting to recognize how impactful video games can be as a mechanism for telling different stories and how powerful they can be for engaging with this generation and future generations,” he said. he declares.
“People who haven’t yet understood video games and what they are all about should see them as a way to capture new audiences and share experiences with them in a medium they are comfortable with. “
He said not only could the multi-billion dollar gaming industry play a role in getting more people involved in farming, but it was also becoming an obvious place for agribusinesses to make The advertisement.