Over the last five years the computer games industry in Croatia has recorded an average annual increase in revenues of 55.5%, while export revenues have gone up 63% annually, a conference heard in Zagreb on Friday.

In that way this industry has certainly contributed to the country's growth, but the government has failed to recognise it and is not encouraging it as much as it could, said the conference "Computer Games - Driver of Economic Growth", organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian cluster of computer game developers and the "eSkills for Jobs" initiative.

Participants agreed that there was a chronic shortage of IT experts in Croatia, including those skilled in computer game development. They stressed that computer games were a fast-growing industry in the world, with annual revenues of more than US$ 100 billion, better than the music, film and entertainment industries.

Presenting the results of the first mapping of creative and cultural industries in Croatia, which include computer games, Ivana Rasic Bakaric of the Zagreb Institute of Economics said that revenues in that segment in 2014 had increased by 78% to HRK 37.2 million and gross profits by as much as 138% to HRK 15.6 million.

Even more interesting is that the share of exports in computer game revenues was nearly 90 percent as exports rose from 2013 by 84% to HRK 32.3 million in 2014, despite the many obstacles faced by gamers in Croatia, such as difficulty in finding sources of financing because of banks' reluctance to lend them money, double taxation because most of them export to the United States, and lack of relevant training programmes, Rasic Bakaric said.

(EUR 1 = HRK 7.47)

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