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Understanding Singapore’s Gamer Nation and the Absence of Local Games

May 25, 2023 Singapore Industry Updates

According to Chong Yang Chan of Qlik, Singapore has the data and technology to advance its gaming sector, but local studios require talent and scalability.

Singaporeans are avid gamers. Three-quarters of the population of the country, according to data from the market research firm YouGov, plays video or mobile games. In a poll, mobile service provider MyRepublic discovered that 41% of its customers play video games for more than 15 hours per week.

With the recent victory of its first SEA Games e-sports gold medal, Singapore has cemented its place on the global scene.

Despite having a large gaming population, Singapore has not produced many original games. However, there are a number of noteworthy regional players, ranging from major publishers like Sea Group’s Garena to independent companies like Battlebrew Productions, the company behind the mobile game Battlesky Brigade Tap Tap, and The Gentlebros, the team behind the Cat Quest video game franchise.

The action role-playing game (RPG) Ghostlore, which draws on Southeast Asian folklore, and the puzzle adventure game Chinatown Detective Agency, which is set in a futuristic, cyberpunk Singapore, are two video games with a distinctly Singaporean flavor that have gained popularity in recent years.

These two games were developed as passion projects by independent developers in their own time and with crowdfunding help.

Why are Singaporean video games such a rare genre yet there are so many people that are passionate about gaming there?

Triple-A Studios Flock to Singapore as a Prominent Regional Hub

With 45% of players worldwide headquartered in Asia, Singapore’s gaming sector has immense growth potential. It should come as no surprise that Asia has the world’s hardest gaming market.

While there is a sizable market for video games in Singapore, it is dwarfed by the number of devoted gamers in places like South Korea and China.

South Korea is frequently referred to as the gaming capital of the world, with a market worth around US$11 billion in 2022. The largest gaming market in the world is China, where sales are anticipated to reach US$90 billion by 2027.

Scaling up highly playable games for an international audience continues to be the key difficulty for Singaporean game creators.

The nation has concentrated on positioning itself as a regional gaming hub for top worldwide firms like Ubisoft, Riot Games, and Bandai Namco as part of its strategy for boosting the gaming industry.

Ubisoft Singapore has grown to be one of the company’s core studios since its founding in 2008, with local talent helping to build games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and the upcoming Skull and Bones.

In an effort to foster more domestic game developers, the Singaporean government has granted funds and support to Ubisoft and other global companies operating there.

Developing a Vibrant Local Talent Pool and Business Community

The game development industry in Singapore is hampered by a lack of digital talent. While coding and digital design expertise are necessary for game development, a recent study by Amazon Web Services (AWS) found that 82% of Singaporean organizations struggle to fill open tech positions.

Thanks to the educational and training opportunities provided by higher institutions, Singapore is developing a talent pool for the digital industry. Anyone with a computer may create games thanks to a platform developed by Nanyang Technological University that doesn’t require programming knowledge.

Local gaming businesses must also advance, and they can do so by taking advantage of government initiatives. For instance, the Games Solution Centre, established in 2011 by the former Media Development Authority (MDA), offers money and assistance to regional game creators so they can produce original games and work with partners in the industry.

A Crucial Component is a DATA

The secret ingredient in the formula for a game’s success, after skill and support, is still playability, and Singapore has developed some games that are challenging to put down. For instance, Garena’s Free Fire was the top-grossing mobile game in Southeast Asia and Latin America and has more than 1 billion downloads worldwide.

Data is a crucial component in the successful creation of captivating games like these. Local companies can be inspired by other Asian game developers like SEGA, a Japanese industry pioneer that uses player data to entice players.

Developers can change the gameplay in order to stop players from giving up and switching to another game when a game’s difficulty spikes and quickly drains a player’s patience. This adaptability is essential to a game’s success and is assisting content creators in creating games that will keep players glued to their screens in the age of shortening attention spans.

Singapore, with its abundance of Triple-A studios and a vast gaming community, possesses the necessary technology and data infrastructure to foster a flourishing gaming sector. Now, it’s time to commence the gaming extravaganza!

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