High scorer: How Singapore is taking the gaming & esports industry into the future

The fact that it made its debut as a medal sport at the 2019 SEA games, is telling of the enormous significance gaming and esports has in the region. And Singapore has its finger firmly on the trigger when it comes to capitalizing on this lucrative trend.  
Singapore is leading the way not just in terms of gamers, but also in terms of a thriving gaming ecosystem with established local gaming companies such as Sea, Razer and Secretlab. Add to this, state of the art facilities, robust communications networks and its position as a commercial hub, and you have a country that’s positioned for gaming success.   
Strongly supporting the healthy growth and development of this thriving industry, is a slew of government initiatives. 


Hosting world-class events

“We’re constantly finding ways to identify and recognise esports and gaming talents in the region. For example, the SuperGamerFest at this year’s Singapore Media Festival will hold its inaugural SuperGamerFest Awards to honour gaming content creators and esports talents around Asia.”, said Mr Joachim Ng, Director, Media Ecosystem Development, IMDA.  
The event, organised by Singtel’s PVP Esports, which debuted on Dec 5 & 6, 2020, was only briefly preceded by the one-day Singapore Games Market Bootcamp on Nov 30, “…which provided an opportunity for gaming developers, marketers and strategists to gather, connect, and collaborate.”, said Mr Ng. Participants included major studios that have already set up their regional bases here, such as Ubisoft, Riot Games and Tencent. 
Ms Cindy Tan, Head of Business and Marketing, International Group at Singtel said, “We’re proud to be playing a role in supporting the wider esports and gaming ecosystem by recognising the hard work and achievements of Asia’s gaming creators and esports professionals through Southeast Asia’s very first gaming awards show.”  


Setting up an official gaming body

Ms Gwen Guo at the first ever Games Market Bootcamp in Singapore

An exciting development in August this year was the convening of an official gaming body – the Singapore Games Association(SGGA), supported by Enterprise Singapore, IMDA, and the Singapore Tourism Board. The SGGA works with key industry stakeholders to identify growth opportunities for members including business networking and capability development through training.

“We aim to bring global and regional events to Singapore which will help to provide more opportunities for our local businesses. We are also exploring standardisation and accreditation processes for the industry.”, said Ms Gwen Guo, Chairperson of SGGA.


Supercharging local talent 

Apart from championing achievements of Singaporeans and local businesses, the SGGA also aims to provide education and resources for those considering careers in esports. Ms Guo elaborated by saying, “Most youths only see the front facing parts of esports such as being a professional player, commentator or content creator, but in actuality there is a more extensive ecosystem behind these roles that many are unaware of, such as league operations, tournament production, team management, hospitality and esports marketing.” 

According to an IMDA 2019 survey[1], the esports industry will require about 2,700 info-communications and media professionals to support the games sector over the next 2 years. Which is why, “IMDA is partnering companies to train for job roles to support the games industry and create new career opportunities for Singaporeans.”, said Mr Ng. One example is IMDA’s partnership with the Sea Group to train 500 Data/ Business Analysts, Engineers, Product Managers and UI/UX Designers over the next 2-3 years.

Exciting times indeed. 


Powering up start-ups

To enable esports entrepreneurs to gain experience before striking out on their own, IMDA also works with the Economic Development Board to allow international studios to provide a platform to support this. For example, game engine company Unity Technologies supports gaming start-ups at PIXEL with mentorship, workshops and technical support. The Startup SG initiative also provides several support options like mentorship and start-up capital support through its founder programme.

With the multitude of initiatives, a strong infrastructure in play, and expertise and experience in holding world-class events, Singapore is all set to be the one of the regions’ highest scorers when it comes to the gaming and esports industry. 


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[1] IMDA’s Annual Survey on Infocomm Media Manpower 2019