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Mrs Tan Ching Yee, Chief Executive Officer Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore Speech - World Cyber Games 2004 Opening Ceremony, Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre

Mrs Tan Ching Yee, Chief Executive Officer
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Speech - World Cyber Games 2004 Opening Ceremony, Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre
Singapore, 08 September 2004

Mr. Kim Jeong Wook, Managing Director, Electronics Business Division, Samsung Asia,
Mr. Justin Koh, Director of Forde Media and Deputy Head of World Cyber Games Executive Committee,
Distinguished Guests,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good Morning. I am delighted to be here this morning to witness the buzz and exciting vibes of the Singapore leg of the World Cyber Games 2004.

2. This is the 4th time that the World Cyber Games is holding a national final in Singapore. Since 2001, the number of participants has been growing steadily. We had 800 players last year but this year's finals will see more than 1,400 players pitching their skills against each other to win a place in the World Cyber Games 2004 Finals in San Francisco. IDA has been supporting the annual World Cyber Game since it started in 2001 in Singapore as part of our nation-wide e-Celebrations campaign to promote Infocomm adoption and e-lifestyle. We believe that the annual World Cyber Games has contributed significantly to building a critical mass of online gamers and raised the profile of online games in Singapore over the years.

Vibrant Online Games Scene in Singapore

3. The IDA's Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in Households and by Individuals for 2003 indicated that the population of Internet users downloading and playing games online had increased from 44.0% in 2002 to 48.4% in 2003. With nearly 700,000 Internet users , aged 15 and above playing games online, this is the most popular form of online entertainment in Singapore, followed by audio streaming/upload and download of music at 37.1%.

4. As gamers gear up for action online, we notice that more games are moving beyond the boundaries of homes and game shops into the competitive arena. This year alone, IDA has lent support to national level games competitions organized by our partners such as NTUC Club's Ultimate Games Challenge at Downtown East, Playworks' Rainbow Six tournament at X-Square, and Team Singapore's Challenge Reality 2004 at Cineleisure Orchard. Such events had attracted close to 500 gamers. Online game is gaining momentum and is becoming a way of life for many Singaporeans.

From Virtual World to Real Life

5. Online gaming is not just about the virtual world. With imagination and planning, games can move between the real and virtual world. A good example is Challenge Reality 2004, where young people can cultivate their sporting spirit and develop their potential as competitive sportsmen in the playing fields even as they play online games. At this event, 20 Team Singapore athletes brushed up their computer/console gaming skills to compete in the latest sports-based games such as tennis, football and basketball with online gamers. At the same time, 20 online gamers were selected to undergo a physical regime by a Team Singapore coach to compete in actual matches against Team Singapore sportsmen.

6. The event culminated in an exciting showdown where the teams competed in real and virtual matches for tennis (Top Spin), basketball (NBA Live 2004), soccer (FIFA 2004) and golf (Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004).

Many Benefits to Gaming

7. With its high level of interactivity and engagement, it is really no surprise that online games have caught on so quickly. Whole communities of online gamers have been built and strong bonds formed. A family that plays together can forge strong relationships too.

8. IDA recently commissioned a focus group study on the perception of games by various segments of the population. There were 8 groups of respondents for the focus groups including parents, students, PMEBs, gamers, and non-gamers. The study showed that Singaporeans saw many benefits to online games. It found that online games can broaden a person's knowledge on various subjects (like history, military strategy, economics, and sports), stimulate creativity and help in developing an interest in PC and software skills.

9. Mr. Victor William, a general manager of a local media company and father of a three-year old boy found his boy to be more vocal and better in expressing himself after playing online games under his supervision. The child had also become more curious about the world around him and got better in differentiating things like car models and species of fish. He had also noticed that his son is learning much faster. But just like any other parent, Victor has concerns about the pitfalls of too much gaming. That is why Victor always supervises his child when he plays games online. This is a wise move. On the other hand, a colleague of mine has a very interesting way of keeping checks to ensure that her son does not overindulge in online games. She deliberately chose not to sign-on to unlimited broadband usage package, so that her son would learn to keep his gaming activities within reasonable limits. Thus, her boy has learnt discipline and budgeting even as he enjoys online games.

10. IDA is working with various organizations such as the Singapore Science Centre and PAGI to conduct seminars for parents where experts will share experiences and provide insights on interesting topics such "Addiction and Attraction of Electronic Games" and how parents can help in time management and regulating game playing habits of their children. These seminars will offer advice and tips to parents on how they can effectively manage the use of the Internet and online games to develop their children's learning capabilities and life skills.

11. Furthermore, IDA will work with our partners to introduce workshops to impart games programming and animation skills to give students a first-hand experience on what goes into creating a successful computer game. Through these workshops, we hope to nurture a new generation of game-savvy programmers and animators who will contribute to the creation of a vibrant new industry in Singapore.


12. IDA, together with our partners from the Economic Development Board, Media Development Authority, Singapore Tourism Board and Singapore Sports Council are very excited that Singapore has been chosen to host World Cyber Games 2005. I heard from the organisers that in preparation for next year's international finals, the top 30 gamers will be selected over the next four days and given special online games coaching over the next 10 months. This sounds like really serious training and I hope that our Cyber Team Singapore will win honours for Singapore in the Olympics of cyber gaming.

13. On this note, I wish every player a thrilling time at World Cyber Games 2004.

14. Thank you.