Game market seen growing 20% in 2012

Local ‘indy’ developers thriving

Thailand’s game market is expected to see a dramatic increase of between 19 and 20 per cent this year, according to the Game & Interactive Digital Entertainment Association (GiDEA).

President Paula Komalarajun said the growth would be driven by better support from the government and the booming social media in Thailand, particularly Facebook, which have given a boost to Web-based games.

“Social media has become a phenomenon in Thailand. Today, there are more than 13 million local members of Facebook; such a huge online population has led to significant growth in Web-based games such as FarmVille and Pig Breeding,” Paula said.

She gave the example of another online game, Angry Birds, which can be played by gamers on both the iPhone and devices using the Android operating system.

Paula said that online games such as MMORPGs (massively multi-player online role-playing games), and casual and social games, had been growing six times as fast as offline games.

Four or five local game companies have been set up over the past year and each has developed five to six games, she said.

“There are active gamers on Facebook playing from many markets around the world as there is no limitation in term of service providers. There are new games on Facebook almost every day,” she said.

Paula added that individual developers could create an international reputation and income by developing games and making them successful on social networks. The social game market is already huge and has strong growth potential.

“In Thailand, there are a large number of ‘indy’ and freelance game developers who have developed games on many platforms, such as online, Facebook, iPhone and other mobile-phone applications. But while Thai developers are very creative, they need to develop content-management and planning,” skills, Paula said.

“In my view, the government should promote the local game industry by focusing on human-resource development and providing good support to local investors to create sustainable growth. Any regulation should be fair to both investors and producers,” she said.

Thailand’s game market grew in value from Bt12 billion in 2010 to about Bt13 billion last year. Online games share about 30 per cent of the market, while another 15 per cent are arcade games, 20 per cent console games, 15 per cent handheld games, 15 per cent games for the iPad and Android systems, and 5 per cent PC games.

Paula said the number of Internet gaming cafes in Thailand had declined dramatically from 30,000 shops five years ago to about 10,000 today as personal computers have become cheaper. Unclear and restrictive regulation by the government to control gaming cafes has also played a role.

GiDEA is an official supporter of “Thailand Game Show 2012”, which will be held between January 13 and 15 at BITEC Bangna. The game show will be organised by Show No Limit and occupy more than 10,000 square metres in retail space. Visitors will get a very good chance to experience the latest games on PlayStation 3, Xbox360, and retro games on Famicom and others, as well as attractive and exciting activities, such as an “e-Sports” contest.

Meanwhile, Nation Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) president and chief executive officer Adisak Limprungpatanakij revealed that NBC has been awarded an official license to broadcast the “Thailand Game Show 2012” event via its Mango TV channel. The live broadcast will be aired on Nation TV channel for the opening ceremony of the fair, and three times a day on Mango TV channel throughout the event itself.

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