Throughout the years, we’ve been exposed to different types of entertainment: movies, music and TV shows to name a few. However, there is one thing that has earned most attention: video games.
The video game industry is an 80-billion dollar industry and is considered to be the biggest form of entertainment. In a global scale, it even beats TV, Music and Film industries. Because video games are huge, governments from various countries have expressed their support for the industry:
United States of America - National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is giving out funds ($ 10,000-$200,000) for games based on the platform and the complexity and the scope of the project. In addition, “America’s Army”, a game that is used to recruit American soldiers is funded and owned by the government.
Australia - the government has pledged $20 million over the next three years to support the industry. Fruit Ninja, one of the most popular mobile games, was made by Halfbrick Studios which is based on Queensland, Australia.
United Kingdom - the government offers up to 37.5% tax relief in game production. Tax relief will increase employment, innovation and investment for the UK video game industry.
Soviet Union (Russia) – Russian Association of Developers of Interactive Technology (RADIT) was working with politicians to ensure gaming played a part in the planned Russian Silicon Valley, south-west of Moscow. The area is intended to employ some 30,000 to 40,000 scientists and engineers investigating future technologies, and RADIT hopes to create a special game industry sector in Skolkovo. Tax relief and other incentives will be provided in order to lure international publishers and developers to it.
Singapore – the Media Development Authority (MDA) has announced an initiative to boost funding for a large-scale media projects such as film and MMO games of $14.6 million.
South Korea - South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Yu In-chon has pledged to invest ₩350 billion ($235 million) in South Korea's game industry through 2012 as well as build yearly exports to W5 trillion ($3.36 billion). Yu has announced plans for 60 other gaming-related initiatives, including a $200 billion game fund with aims to establish Korea as one of the leading game producers in the world.
Meanwhile in the Philippines, Anino Games, the first company that focused on solely creating video games, was founded back in 2001. Ever since then, the video game industry in our country has begun to bloom. In 2007, an organization called Game Developers Association of the Philippine (GDAP) has been established. The purpose of GDAP is to promote the country’s game development industry. GDAP is also composed of different game development companies, and is currently made up of over 30 members, both from business and academic sector. In addition, the Philippines has an official Manila chapter of IGDA (International Game Developers Association) which has been established since 2003.
When asked if the local video game industry has any support from the government, Alvin Juban, President of GDAP, informed that the industry have been getting very good attention from DOST's ICTO office for sponsorship of events and activities. It is good to hear that the local industry is having support, but we are hoping the support can be up at par with the support other countries are receiving. Instead, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III opened a giant $1.2billion casino last March 16, 2013. Apparently, this is to cater the other “gaming industry”.
If the actual video game industry has been given enough support, take the $1.2billion fund for example, not only will there be open and available smarter jobs, but the Philippines will be competing globally in creating the most popular video games. According to Darwin Tardio, Vice-President of GDAP, if the Philippines can get 1% of the 80 billion dollar video game industry, that will be $800m added to our country’s GDP.
But how can our industry convince the government to give more support? In Australia’s case, Fruit Ninja was the call for their government to realize that the industry is worth investing in. In UK, their video game industry is supported because the government aims Britain to be “Europe’s Technology Centre”, whereas the Singaporean government aims for Singapore to be “Asia’s creative capital”. By these examples, perhaps our game industry can come up with an original game instead of focusing on outsourced games. If our original games become as well-known as Fruit Ninja, then without a doubt, the government might give the industry more support! It can even push the country to strive hard and become one of the leading innovators when it comes to technology.
Ironically, making an original game is not all fun and games. It will require a big budget and a lot of manpower, things that the industry currently lacks. In response to this, there are schools offering game design and development courses. The first school to offer such course is De LaSalle-College of St. Benilde that has BS-IT with specialization in Game Design and Development. Other schools with GDD courses are CIIT, i-Academy and FEU East Asia. The game design and development in our country, both the sectors of industry and education, is a work-in-progress; if developed further, students won’t have a hard time studying and securing their multiple career paths. In fact, more students will become interested to study the field. In the future, we are hoping to see more schools provide a game design and development course.
After all, it is a big, blooming and a very fun industry to work on.