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Singapore companies expected to generate $350 million in 5 years

<shout>GC ASIA:</shout> Infocomm Development Authority has also set a target of 500 jobs created

The Singapore government's Infocomm Development Authority has said that it has set revenue and job targets for its internal videogames market as part of a five year plan.

The department expects to see SGD 500 million (USD 349 million / EUR 246 million) generated as part of that scheme, which is already two years in, and is additional to revenues created by external companies such as Ubisoft which have already set up studios in the country.

The news came at a press briefing in advance of this year's Games Convention Asia, organised by Leipziger Messe International - the company behind Games Convention in Leipzig -; and the IDA's director, Thomas Lim, also told that he hopes to see 500 jobs created as well.

"The IDA is into ecosystem building," explained Lim. "One of the things we look at is a problem that's plaguing everybody around the world, and that's lack of talent. Game development has a lot to do with coding, and also creativity - but it's increasingly difficult to find people with both skills.

"So what we're looking at in terms of infocomm skills is upgrading the level of the skillset that's necessary to be effective in the industry. In Singapore we're not the cheapest market in the region in terms of our labour costs, so what we need to do better is make sure that our toolkits and resources are assembled in one place, like a games resource centre, and then make them available not just to the big guys but also to the second tier developers too.

"At the same time we can be a matchmaking tool, so if you need to find some funds, or you're looking for artists or people with certain skillsets, we can help. Or if you're a games publisher or distributor and you need to serve the Vietnamese or Korean markets, or you need localisation, we can make sure you find the right partners.

"How far are we along in the overall plan? I think we've moved quite a bit in the last two years, but we have a five year programme. Just on that alone we believe that the revenues will be SGD 500 million (USD 349 million / EUR 246 million) and we'll create 500 jobs - but that excludes the jobs that the Economy Development Board already attracts [with external companies such as Ubisoft] as well as the revenue. So we have some targets, and we're moving along with them."

As a signal that the country is serious regarding its intention to support Singaporean videogames companies, an announcement on a licensing deal between the Institute of Higher Learning and a major international middleware supplier is expected in the next few days.

Games Convention Asia will be held at the Suntec Convention Centre in Singapore from September 18-20.

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