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Singapore - A Digital Exchange for Games

As “Asia’s Most Connected City”, Singapore is ideally placed to play a leading role in the online games industry. And in order to achieve this, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is working with Singaporean companies like Mikoshi – a Game & Platform Developer, Pacific Wireless Solutions –a Mobile Games Developer, Teckwah Online – a games distributor and SingTel – Singapore’s largest telecom provider and ISP and Game Services Provider (GSP), to build the necessary infrastructure to turn Singapore into a “Digital Exchange for Games.”

According to the IDC Online Gaming Report, 2003, the online games market in Asia could be as large as a billion US dollars by 2006. The government sees the industry as a potential source of growth. And IDA’s Games Exchange initiative has been identified as one of the focal areas under the Digital Exchange strategy to promote Singapore as a management and distribution of digital games to the Asia Pacific region.

To achieve this IDA will help expose Singaporean companies to the best ideas and technologies the world has to offer as well as to create the necessary infrastructure in Singapore.

On March 22 – 26, 2004, IDA gave Singaporean gaming companies a boost by taking part in the Games Development Conference (GDC) in San Jose, USA. The GDC is the world’s premier event for the games development industry. With over 10,000 international delegates and 200 exhibitors, GDC is a hot house for the newest ideas, technologies, products and services in the games development industry.

Participating in the GDC allowed IDA to promote Singapore’s gaming industry and digital exchange initiative to the world. Companies from approximately eleven different countries were given the chance understand why Singapore would be the choice for being the digital distribution hub for the processing, management and delivery of digital assets, including games content, to the Asian region.

For participating local companies, participation in the GDC was a good opportunity to develop international contacts as well as exposure to new ideas and technologies. Said, Ms Amy Chang, Director, Mikoishi (Asia Pacific), “The GDC is effective in providing an update on the state of the US market, particularly for multiplayer networked mobile games. We also managed to meet with major US mobile network operators and US online games providers."

Mr Edwin Low, Sales & Marketing Director, Pacific Wireless Solutions echoed these sentiments, “It was a very good exposure for all of us.” Mr Low also expressed how taking part at GDC benefited Singapore, “ Without IDA's support, I believe it will be difficult for many smaller companies to look for opportunities in other more distant markets. There are immeasurable benefits when attending or exhibiting at such tradeshows"

GDC did not just allow the participating Singapore companies to share ideas, build skills and learn about the latest tools and technologies in the industry. For some, participation meant making new contacts and the possibility of deals that would enhance Singapore’s goal to be the Games Exchange in the Asia Pacific Region. Both Mr Yeo See-Kiat, Director, Managed Hosting Services, SingTel and Mr Jasper Tan, Director/General Manager, Teckwah Online expressed an interest in closing deals from the contacts that were made at the fair.

The GDC also provided IDA with the perfect location to announce the launch of the Games Bazaar. This regional hosting platform allows games companies, publishers and distributors to deploy their game titles without facing time-consuming and high initial capital costs.

This partnership between IDA, SingTel and Hewlett Packard Singapore will greatly enhance Singapore’s role as a “ Games Exchange.”

“We invite games players to test the regional online games market with Singapore’s Games Bazaar,” said Mr Thomas Lim, Director, Games and Entertainment, IDA Singapore. “Games companies do not have to make risky capital investments in rolling out to Asia.”

With 10Gbps of extensive and direct internet connectivity as well as the best laws for copy right protection (PERC 2004, Global Corruption Report, 2003) as well the capabilities of local companies, Singapore has the potential to become a “Games Exchange.” With IDA’s support through events like GDC and infrastructure platforms like the Games Bazaar, there should be no reason why Singapore does not unleash that potential and become the “Games Exchange” for the region.

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