Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what measures are being taken to nurture local start-ups and talent in electronic game development and E-sports; and (b) what results have been associated with these efforts to date.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Minister for Trade & Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing)
1. Video games and e-sports are rapidly growing industries. They generated over US$140 billion globally in 2018, of which almost half was from the Asia-Pacific region. In Singapore, the development and distribution of video games contributed S$1.95 billion in 2017. This includes activities by foreign companies with operations in Singapore, such as Ubisoft and Bandai Namco, as well as local firms such as Sea and GoGame. On the community engagement front, events such as e-sports tournaments have also been organised in the heartlands to bring our youths together. An example is the ‘Yio Game On’ event that was organised at Yio Chu Kang in May this year, which was well-received.
2. Government agencies have been supporting local startups and companies in this space. Sea, formerly known as Garena, is one of Singapore’s unicorns, and first made its mark through its platform for video games. The games industry has also catalysed the growth of other companies in the ecosystem, such as Razer and Secretlab, which are globally prominent lifestyle brands amongst gamers today.
3. We are building on such successes through several approaches. First, we are helping our companies to grow. Launched in 2017, the Startup SG initiative provides local companies a range of financial and non-financial support such as mentorship and startup capital support through the Startup SG Founder programme. In addition, companies can leverage sector-specific initiatives such as the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s PIXEL innovation space, which offers incubation and co-working spaces for digital startups so they can develop their projects with the right technical and business support.
4. Second, we are deepening capabilities. We are building a robust talent pipeline for the video games industry. Local game schools such as DigiPen Institute and Nanyang Polytechnic offer courses for aspiring game designers and artists to develop their skills. IMDA also works with the Economic Development Board to attract internationally-acclaimed studios, providing a platform for our entrepreneurs to gain valuable experience before starting their own studios.
5. Third, we are building a vibrant and enabling ecosystem. For example, game engine company Unity Technologies has been supporting gaming startups at PIXEL with mentorship, workshops, and technical support since 2018. This ecosystem has supported companies like BattleBrew Productions, founded by a DigiPen graduate, and whose first mobile game IP won the Visitor’s Choice Award at the GameStart Asia 2018 convention.
6. Finally, we are building international mindshare. During our ASEAN Chairmanship last year, the first ASEAN e-sports and music festival, Hyperplay, was held in Singapore. The event was well-attended by over 8,000 youths of different backgrounds, and featured the first League of Legends ASEAN tournament. Singapore will also host the first Asian edition of Gamescom in 2020. Gamescom is the world’s largest video games industry event and business platform. The Singapore edition will let our video games companies showcase their capabilities and connect with prospective investors, collaborators and buyers. STB will continue to be on the lookout for other major events which can be hosted in Singapore, to further augment our position as a video games and e-sports hub in the region.