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Malaysia’s Esports And Game Development Industry Getting Recognition As Millions Of Ringgit Being Invested

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Things are looking bright for the local gaming scene, both the esports side and the game development side of things. Recently, the National Budget for 2019 has been presented by the new Malaysian government and has continued to recognise gaming as a driving force for the economy.

Such example is the new taxes to be imposed on online entertainment purchases, which includes Steam. Yes, prices for games will see a hike but the fact that the government is willing to charge taxes means that there’s big money to be made here, meaning that they acknowledge the large gamer demographic.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the agency that is in charge of overseeing e-commerce and also game development, shared to us some raw numbers of this gaming demographic. “It is estimated that there are 2.4 million esports enthusiasts in Malaysia alone,” said Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of MDEC .

“Southeast Asia, the fastest-growing esports market in the world, has more than 9.5 million esports enthusiasts; a number that is forecasted to double by 2019. Malaysia is ranked number 21 in global game revenue estimates for 2017 with US$587 million; ahead of Netherlands and Poland.”

MDEC continues to champion the local game development scene. Level Up KL, the annual game development conference, continued to be held this year.

Here’s more of Datuk Yasmin Mahmood’s statement:

“Malaysia is attractive to digital content and creative tech studios due to its youthful demographic, education system that is increasingly modernised and updated and access to talent that has cultural influences from both Eastern and Western hemispheres.”

“Game companies such as Bandai Namco and Pole To Win are recent global industry that have taken up root here joining the ranks of stalwarts such as Codemasters and local champions such as Lemonsky, Passion Republic and more. The ecosystem is further enriched with the active presence of Adobe, Unity, Google and Unreal working in partnership with the industry.”

But they are also listening to the little stories from budding game creators as well. In particular, the case of the 12-year-old boy losing all his saved game dev assets from his local internet cafe.

“Let’s take the journey of Mohd Thaqif as an example. The 12-year-old boy recently won the hearts of fellow Malaysians after he built his own e-sports game at an internet cafe and then tried to sell it online for one ringgit (US$0.25), all with the intention to help his mother.”

Mohd Thaqif was invited to Level Up KL last October.

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In the National Budget, the government is allocating RM10 million just for the development of esports, to be under the watch of the Ministry of Youth And Sports. The minister, Syed Saddiq has been a loud proponent for esports since he has been in office.

The RM10 million announcement has prompted Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan to also tweet this.

Several other figures in the esports scene like Kitamen and The Pantheon are also seen pledging more money for the local esports scene.

There is some big money to be made in this ever-growing industry. Though we hope this will all lead to sustainable development that uplifts the community. Would be unfortunate if this is just a show of power and then a few bad apples got involved and mismanage things (hello Platinum Eden) and set back the industry a few steps back again.