Philippine game developers hope to grow faster next year

Posted on August 09, 2011

THE COUNTRY’s game development industry aims to grow by at least 60% in 2012 on strong demand for mobile, tablet and flash games in local and foreign markets, an industry official said in a recent phone interview.

YOUNG VISITORS to a technology expo at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City try interactive games in this file photo taken in December last year. -- JLC

"The Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP) is aiming for 60%-70% revenue growth in 2012," Darwin J. Tardio, GDAP president, said last week.

While he issued the projection before Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US’ debt rating on Friday last week, triggering fears of a possible global economic slowdown, Mr. Tardio said by phone yesterday that his group is keeping its growth outlook for now.

"The effects of the US downgrade on the Philippine gaming industry shouldn’t be a big thing," Mr. Tardio said yesterday.

"The [global] gaming industry has always performed well, even when the US had a recession and unemployment rates went up," he recalled.

"Gaming actually did better because people spent much time at home. They bought games and gaming consoles to keep themselves entertained."

GDAP last June revised its estimate of 2010 revenues to $9 million from the $7 million announced in August.

The preliminary $7-million estimate was up 40% from the $5 million earned in 2009.

This year, GDAP has projected 55.56% growth to $14 million.

Game development, while still in its infancy compared with more developed information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) subsectors, has figured as one of the faster-growing segments of the entire industry.

The Business Processing Association of the Philippines reported last April that the game development industry’s estimated $7-billion revenues in 2010 accounted for just 0.08% of the $8.9-billion total IT-BPO revenues recorded that same year.

But total IT-BPO revenues grew just 26% annually in 2010.

Similarly, the association aims to grow its work force by a third to 1,600 by end-2011 from 1,200 last year.

"Mobile phones and tablets are a booming industry, especially with new models coming out, which is the platform of choice for most game development companies here," Mr. Tardio had said last week. "So, it won’t be too hard to grow."

"Not only do you have the iTunes market for iPhones, iPads, and iPods, but now you also have the Android market, which has a faster approval process for new applications," he explained. "We also have flash games and social games, which is also a steadily growing market." -- Eliza J. Diaz