Uncovering the business behind games

Next month, Singapore will once again play host to the Games Convention Asia (GCA), to be held Sep. 17 to 20 at the Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Next month, Singapore will once again play host to the Games Convention Asia (GCA), to be held Sep. 17 to 20 at the Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Now in its third instalment, the conference and exhibition for all things games aims to be a business and networking vehicle for developers, publishers, distributors and manufacturers in the games industry. Last year, the GCA drew over 92,000 visitors.

I asked Jorg Zeissig, managing director of the show's organizer Leipziger Messe International (LMI) Asia, to contribute a post on Tech Podium and discuss what visitors can expect at this year's GCA.

Singapore has always been a business hub and, therefore, will always be an excellent business location. We are trying to drive this business focus forward to really create value here out of Singapore, create intellectual property (IP), and so on, and distribute it into the region and beyond.

So what is going to be different this year at the Games Convention Asia 2009? We'll be bringing in more international high-level people who are looking for investment and co-production, and who are willing to share knowledge with others in the region at the GCA conference, which will run alongside the exhibition from Sep. 17 to 18.

So, we're bringing in people from various countries out of the region, and at minimum, I would say 15 to 20 countries will be connected at the convention. We are also bringing in international export out of regions that are really strong in the games industry, including North America, Europe, and of course, Asia-Pacific.

It is not just about quantity but also quality, and that is what we continuously look to further develop. That applies to the business angle of GCA 2009.

On the side, of course, there is always the gamer--the "final client". For gamers, we'll run a couple of tournaments, such as the One Asia Cup, which is Asia's largest e-games tournament organized by Infocomm Asia Holdings, the publisher of Fifa Online.

Besides games, there will also be contests to allow people to be connected to characters in games, such as the Asia-Pacific Cosplay Championship 2009. The winner here will fly to Perth for the grand finals of the championship to be held in October.

The GCA differs from most of the game shows in Asia. We are not just a consumer-driven show. For us, it is about bringing together various components in the whole value chain into a single event. The game developers will have their own platform at the GCA conference. The publishers, producers, investors and distributors, will find their place in the business center and connect with potential business partners in the matchmaking area. And the casual, as well as hardcore, gamers can also enjoy the latest games and the excitement in the exhibition hall.

So why did we decide to run such a show here? There are several reasons why we think Singapore is the perfect place for GCA.

First, we feel that Singapore's government has been very supportive to the video games industry and has put in place a long term strategy. It has good intellectual properties protection, reliable technological infrastructure and stable economic situation.

Second, Singapore's games industry and market is quite universal, which means that both Western and Eastern business models work here. For the Western games model, Singaporean gamers play all types of consoles and online games, and buy their games at retail shops or download it from the Web. As for the Eastern games model, online PC games, especially the free-to-play games, is also established quite well here.

Third, there are no language barriers for international business people, and a number of global video games companies have set up their offices in Singapore for both publishing and distribution, and development purposes. It shows the importance of Singapore for the region's video game industry.

In order to grow the regional games industry, it is also necessary to support the young talents who want to enter the industry. There is a bunch of companies here in Singapore that are currently hiring, even amid the economic downturn.

The games industry is developing, and career opportunities are broad, very broad. This is due to the diversity within the games industry. We are talking about graphical animation. We are talking about painting. We are talking about 3D-Animation, which can be supported by 3D-Web, and all that.

The games market also delves into the digital arts, the sciences, and sit is about story telling. The whole value chain of the games industry is so complex that there is everything available for the youngsters.

At GCA 2009, we will have a career fair as well as a Students' Day. The organizers aspire to bring in and share knowledge and expertise. Again, it is a business platform for people who want to do business and who are already in the business. It is also an opportunity for those who are not as yet in the industry, but are trying to think about somehow getting involved in the games industry.

I hope to see you all at the GCA!


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