Gamers are flocking to online farms — what does this mean for agriculture?

When James Bendon started developing a video game about farming in Australia, complete with giant wombats and fire-breathing Tasmanian devils, he never dreamt it would be so successful.

“It’s sold over 250,000 copies [since July], which is above and beyond my expectation, I still can’t believe it,” Mr Bendon said.

“I always enjoyed farming games and I wanted to make one that felt like the little bush town I grew up in … and, yeah, the response has been amazing.”

Not bad for a game that hasn’t been officially released and is only available via early access — a funding model that allows consumers to pay and play a game while it’s being developed.

Founder of Larrikin Interactive Dylan Bennett said the video games industry in Australia was “blossoming” in terms of its creativity and global reach.

“There’s a lot of great games being released right now, and people don’t often realise they’ve been made in Australia,” Mr Bennett said.

“A great example of this is Dinkum. It was made by one person and has pulled in ridiculous amounts of money and has done phenomenally well since its [early access] release.”

In Australia, about 17 million people engage with gaming content, according to the Bond University Digital Australia Report 2022.

Globally, it’s an industry that’s now worth more than $475 billion ($US300 billion).

Nathan Groves is developing a game based on the NT’s cattle industry.(Supplied)

Farming game boom

Mr Bendon said Dinkum was not “super-realistic” in terms of farming in Australia (remember, this is a game that involves milking giant wombats).

But he said it was hopefully tapping into a wider trend among gamers.

“There is a boom happening where there are a lot more games now [that are] less about shooting people and more about growing things,” he said.

In the Northern Territory, game developer Nathan Groves is creating a game inspired by the NT’s cattle industry.

It is called Pasture: The Livestock Simulator and involves managing cattle stations, building infrastructure, helicopter mustering, improving herd genetics, and plenty more as gamers “build a cattle empire”.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Pasture: The Livestock Simulator(Supplied: Salty Games)

Born in the Top End town of Katherine and the son of a livestock agent, Mr Groves said the NT had 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 of the farming equipment I saw around Katherine,” he said.

This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here

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