FOR the longest time, declarations of this sort would sound alarm bells in the minds of parents. The stereotype of the gamer with no future prospects whatsoever is one of the worst parental nightmares out there.
Fast track to 2013 and the gaming industry is at its peak, with projections saying that it will evolve into a whopping $82-billion industry in four years' time.
From being a mere pastime, the gaming industry has expanded into a viable business enterprise. Experts said it is riding three waves: first is the base of customers raised under the video game paradigm; second is the rapid rise of social and mobile technologies; the third is brought about by efforts to improve business process execution and performance through technology.
The gaming industry is on the rise, and the question is, how will independent Filipino gamers and developers benefit from this?
This was one of the questions asked, and answered, during the Smart Game Development Conference 2013 organized by Smart Communications, Inc.’s developer community Smart Developer Network (Smart DevNet), in partnership with the Game Development Association of the Philippines and the Manila chapter of the International Game Developers Association.
Smart collaborated with gaming thought leaders to present the ins and outs of the business to about 250 game developers, designers, and producers, startups, established game studios, investors, and enthusiasts.
Industry movers and shakers like Anino Games associate producer Nikka Lao and Erick Garayblas of Kuyi Mobile talked about topics that included game entrepreneurship, game app monetization, game production, programming, and design, technology updates, and the overall industry landscape.
Soft-spoken and unassuming, Garayblas is the current poster child of the local gaming scene. And why not? His game app "Street Food Tycoon" and its sequel "Street Food Tycoon World Tour" have been downloaded over 4 million times across the globe, not to mention earning him thousands of dollars in the process.
In one of the breakout sessions, Garayblas spoke about entrepreneurship and monetization.
"So what's the best way to monetize? To be honest, there's no such thing as the best or one way. It depends on the type of game you have," he said.
He shared that in the case of Street Food Tycoon, the shift from a "Freemium" model (free to play but ad-supported) into in-app purchases turned out to be a better choice in the long run.
"You have to already have your monetization strategy starting from Day 1,” he shared. However, he reminded the conference attendees that this doesn't mean that developers should be greedy or driven by profit alone.
“The monetization strategy should revolve around the game and NOT the other way around. Games should be fun and enjoyable, always," he added.
During the conference, technology leader Qualcomm presented Vuforia, an Augmented Reality (AR) SDK platform. Amazon Web Services also talked about building mobile games on the Cloud.
"Why are we putting the spotlight on mobile game development? Because it is booming and driving the mobile apps industry. Mobile games are clearly the most popular mobile app category. Sixty-four percent of all apps used daily are games. In the US alone, there are 100 million mobile gamers – around one-third of that country's population," said Jim Ayson, Smart senior manager for partner management.
"Smart DevNet has been supporting game developer events such as the Unity Game Jam last October and the local leg of the Global Game Jam last January. All these are aligned with our goal of showcasing and refining the skills of our new rockstars – local developers who have been making significant contributions to the Philippine tech scene," said Smart developer evangelist Paul Pajo.