Singapore looks to power esports gameplay with new trade body

Singapore Games Association has been set up to develop and drive a "sustainable" games and esports ecosystem in the country, which is expected to have a video games market worth $130 million this year.

Singapore now has a trade body dedicated to developing and facilitating the games and esports sector here. Its efforts also will include supporting local games developers and championing the creation of local-made games. 

Called Singapore Games Association (SGGA), the country's new trade body for the industry aimed to support a "sustainable" games and esports ecosystem as well as put the local sector on the world map, it said in a statement Monday. The association would build on the work previously carried out by Singapore Games Guild, which was a non-profit organisation set up in 2017 as a sister organisation of the International Games Development Association Singapore. 

The guild had focused on pushing local games developers and the creation of locally made games. SGGA now would assume this goal as well as support the "full spectrum" of the games and esports industry, it said. The new association is supported by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

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Citing figures from market researcher Statista, SGGA said Singapore's video games market was expected to hit $130 million this year and a further $138 million by 2024. 

Amongst the association's objectives is to herald Singapore as an esports hub in Southeast Asia and pip Singapore a country of choice for international esporting events and tournaments. Such efforts will be led under its Singapore Esports initiative, said SGGA.

The association said it would establish a local public directory, to be launched at a later date, for all esports-related services as part of efforts to raise awareness for local companies and job opportunities. The directory would be hosted on the SGGA website. 

The association's other long-term plans include the establishment and management of the nation's first accreditation programme for the games and esports industry. 

Functioning as a non-profit, membership-based association, SGGA said its efforts would include enabling members to network with local and international games and esports associations as well as businesses to advocate best practices and seek out global opportunities.

Its upcoming plans would encompass collaborating with the organisers behind GamesCom Asia, scheduled to be held virtually later this month, to showcase locally made  games. SGGA also was planning to run workshops and capability development programmes to support the growth of professional gamers and esports talent.

In addition, it would organise at least 10 workshops on various topics such as esports and business management for startups in its first year of operation as well as engagement activities with education institutions, small and midsize businesses to facilitate training and hiring efforts.

Its paid membership programme is slated to launch later this quarter and will be open to all Singapore-registered companies and Singapore-based individuals. Members will be able to access benefits such as special rates to SGGA initiatives, focus groups, and training courses.

The association will be chaired by Gwen Guo, co-founder and creative director of local games audio services studio, Imba Interactive. Its executive team also includes vice chairperson Elicia Lee, who is managing director of games events and marketing firm Eliphant.

Its team of advisors currently includes Je Alipio, South Asia-Pacific and MENA director and head of games for The Walt Disney Company; David Tse, global esports director at Razer; and Daryl Chow, board game designer for Origame. 

SGGA also is looking to rope in patrons keen to contribute to its initiatives as well as volunteers across various roles. 

Jayf, who is a member for the association's executive team as well as CEO and founder of local esports team Resurgence, said: "Esports is a new and growing industry with massive potential. The end-goal is to create the right environment for a prosperous and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for our esports businesses and all stakeholders to thrive in. This initiative is the first step towards it with a key focus on shaping perceptions and changing mindsets while laying the foundations for industry standards."

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