Obelus Studios founders Rhys Johansen, Joshua Webel and Jarrod Revell completed a Diploma of Digital and Interactive Games at TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour. Photo: McMillan Arts
Obelus Studios founders Rhys Johansen, Joshua Webel and Jarrod Revell completed a Diploma of Digital and Interactive Games at TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour. Photo: McMillan Arts

Coffs’ gamers look to level up in billion dollar industry

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 and complete a Certificate IV in Digital and Interactive Games and from there, they formed Obelus Studios with Jarrod Revell.

The team will release its first mobile game in the upcoming months and a virtual reality PC game, planned for a release by the end of the year, is also in development.

The Australian video game development industry generated $184.6 million in revenue in the last financial year and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association says it 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 game development 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 and Creative Industries, Jason Vallely, and Education Support Officer Jon McMillan have been instrumental to their success.

“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.

“51 per cent 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.”

Originally published as Coffs’ gamers look to level up in billion dollar industry