8 September 2005 - Speech By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At Opening Ceremony of World Cyber Games 2005, Singapore Final, Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Speech By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At Opening Ceremony of World Cyber Games 2005, Singapore Final on 8 September 2005, Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Mr Kim Jeong Wook - Managing Director, Samsung Asia Pte Ltd,
Mr. Lin Cheng Ton - Principal & CEO, Nanyang Polytechnic,Mr. Herman Ng - Managing Director, Rapture Gaming,
Ms. Yvonne Chng - International Cyber Marketing,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good Evening. I am delighted to be here today, to feel first hand, the buzz and electrifying vibes of the Singapore leg of the World Cyber Games 2005.
2. I used to love computer games myself. Unfortunately, I don't have much time nowadays to play anything very sophisticated. I remember as computer science students in Pre-U many years ago, my classmates and I used to sneak computer games like Galaxian into the computer lab, and would have fun blasting away at spaceships and aliens when the teacher is not around.
3. The first game console I owned was bought with literally blood and sweat money. I spent my entire 3 months' NS allowance at the end of Basic Military Training on an Atari console. But it was worth every single cent. Great for de-stressing, especially after a tough week in camp with your platoon sergeant barking at you all the time. Later in university, I moved on to more sophisticated stuff, completing games like Ultima 3 by hacking into the game code. But I think you are not supposed to do such things here in WCG.
4. This is the 5th time that the World Cyber Games is holding a national final in Singapore. Since 2001, the number of participants has grown steadily. In the next few days, we will have 600 of the nation's top gamers pitching their skills against each other, to win a place in the World Cyber Games Grand Final.
5. IDA has been supporting the annual World Cyber Games since it first started in Singapore. This year is especially special, because in less than two months time, more than 800 international finalists from over 70 countries, will descend into Singapore. They will compete for the coveted top position in the WCG Grand Final.
6. With the increasing popularity of online and mobile games, game communities have multiplied around the world. With this surge in interest, there have been the inevitable incidences and media reports of online game addiction and other social ills.
7. I believe computer gaming can be part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Families that play together, stay together. I know of many families that have bonded through computer games, my own included. Couples that have met, and are now happily married, through a common interest in computer games.
8. Indeed, IDA's recent research showed that gaming can actually be a healthy form of entertainment and stress relief. For the young, it helps to encourage a sense of curiosity. Some studies have shown that computer games can help improve creativity, dexterity, and focus, and help nurture problem-solving skills. Online games in particular nurture collaborative skills and teamwork, as players have to work in teams to complete their quests. In the process, they are also exposed to the diverse cultures and make friends with gamers from all over the world.
9. However, like all good things, computer gaming should be enjoyed in moderation. Parents should play an active role in their children's choice of entertainment, whether it is the television or the Internet.
10. The global games industry is growing very rapidly. And this is more evident in Asia than anywhere else in the world.
11. A recent PWC report forecasts the growth of the global video game industry at 16.5% annually over the next four years. Significantly, the Asia Pacific is expected to lead the growth in the Online and Wireless Games category, at 45% and 48% respectively, by 2009.
12. The games industry has significant impact on the infocomm industry -- from programming to online distribution, from handset capabilities to broadband adoption. Gaming technology is also an important enabler for more 'serious' sectors, such as education, training and simulation. IDA will continue to promote the interactive entertainment and games industry, and develop Singapore's capability in managing and hubbing online and mobile games for the region.
13. One such effort is our Digital Exchange initiative. Under this effort, several programmes have been initiated to position Singapore as an ideal games distribution and deployment hub. Programmes such as Games Bazaar and GamesMAP, help game developers, publishers and distributors from all over the world to deploy game titles to Asia faster and more efficiently. Together with the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation, IDA also helped establish the Games Exchange Alliance - an alliance of 14 Asian game partners, to provide various forms of support to the entire value chain of the regional game industry.
Turning a Hobby into a Career
14. It used to be that we play games only for fun. When it comes to finding a real job, we have to turn elsewhere.
15. Today, young Singaporeans can turn their passion for games, into a career with a growing and exciting game industry. In Singapore alone, there are more than 60 game-related companies, ranging from game developers and publishers, to regional online game operators.
16. International game companies operating in Singapore include Boonty, Real Arcade and Electronic Arts. These companies use Singapore as their base of operations, to manage and distribute games to the region.
17. I hope it will not be very long, before we have our very own world-class Singapore game developers, producing internationally-acclaimed game titles to wow the world. Many of our universities and polytechnics have begun to offer courses in these areas, as they see a growing demand for such skills.
Research & Development
18. At the national level, there is also recognition of the importance of this sector. The Government recently accepted the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee on R&D, headed by then-DPM Dr Tony Tan. The recommendations included a doubling of R&D funding, to over $12 billion for the next 5 years. Significantly, the Committee specifically highlighted two areas as having great strategic and economic potential, and where Singapore should invest resources. The first was Environmental and Water Technologies. The other is Interactive and Digital Media.
19. So I urge all games enthusiasts out there, beyond just playing games, think about being part of this vibrant and growing industry. This way, you not only get to enjoy your passion, but get to be involved in the creation process, and get paid for it.
20. In closing, IDA, together with our partners from the EDB, MDA and STB, are very excited that Singapore has been chosen to host the World Cyber Games Grand Finals in November.
21. I wish every player a thrilling time at World Cyber Games 2005. You can now get down to some serious fun - Let the battle begin!