The Arcade in Melbourne, Australia became well-known for fostering a whole generation of Australian game developers, with several iconic projects incubated within its walls. In 2020, the office space was thrown into jeopardy by the coronavirus pandemic, with lockdowns forcing work-from-home conditions and changing the way that everyone worked.
While The Arcade briefly reopened following this chaos, the premises was soon reclaimed by their landlord, and organisers IGEA (the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association) set about finding a new space to help the next generation of game developers thrive. Now, the industry body has announced The Arcade will not re-open as planned.
‘IGEA has been working with members and Board to evolve the business model of The Arcade,’ IGEA announced on its website. ‘Adhering to the IGEA pillars of Create, Educate, Advocate and Celebrate, the decision was taken to not immediately re-open a physical space but to direct our resources towards delivering programs and tools that meet the needs of the Australian video games sector, now and into the foreseeable future.’
IGEA believes that the resources of The Arcade can be better spent on providing industry members with access to diverse talent, and education on staff retention, future growth, individual mentoring and development programs. As many creators have grown accustomed to working from home or in hybrid conditions, an office space is simply no longer seen as a viable, helpful option.
Instead, IGEA has re-committed to supporting the growth of Australia’s local video games industry through specialised events and programs – including GCAP and the IGEA Educates Summit, as well as programs like the S.M.A.R.T. and SAE student program.
As part of this push for education and support, the company has also recently released a handy snapshot guide designed to educate everyone about the future of the Australian games industry, and how it can continue to grow. The ‘Level Up! A Guide to the Australian Games Industry’ booklet is available here.
While IGEA has not ruled out a future return for The Arcade, it appears there are no plans to establish another physical office space in future. Instead, the company will take ‘the learnings and programs developed at The Arcade and [apply] them wherever they are needed most.’