At the Kitamen Experience 2018, where gaming studio and esports brand Kitamen announced multiple collaboration and an equity crowdfunding program, one of the collaboration involves the concept of “healthy gaming”.
In light of various negative attention on video games recently, it is now being brought up again as influencing violent behaviour (despite research on this topic has been done for years with no proven link so far), gaming disorder being recognised as a disease as well as the norms of people in Malaysia having bad perception on video games in general, the government agency wants to bring a more positive light to gaming and gamers.
One of the steps is to work with key players within the industry to promote this concept, the first of which is Kitamen.
“Esports is becoming more prominent, especially with the youth generation right now, ” said Hasnul Hadi Shamsudin, VP Of Creative Content and Technologies and MDEC.
“So we want to be part of that, as part of the government.”
Hasnul has been instrumental in helping the local game development scene, where he, as part of MDEC, helped local studios to be involved in the development of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. So much that he is an easter egg in Uncharted 4.
” How can we bring up a more positive spin for games and the gamers? And this is where we thought that, for the lack of a better name, we call it the ‘healthy gaming initiative’.”
Hasnul admitted the name isn’t as catchy. But what matters is the messaging: video games are not a bad thing.
He then explained further the concept of healthy gaming.
“We don’t own this [concept of healthy gaming]. The idea is to work with partners, ecosytem players, to look at how we can work together to create the environment to healthy gaming.”
Hasnul identified three pillars of this healthy gaming concept. The first is to highlight key opinion leaders, or role models, from the gaming community to be highlighted.
He provided an example: “Students from universities or even schools that have very high scores but are also really good at playing games.”
“This is what we want to show: that playing games is not a bad thing, but also can help them in terms of critical thinking and also in terms of competitiveness.”
The second pillar is in creating a framework to create safe area for gamers. Hasnul brought up that back in his days, arcades were shady, dingy locales that did not give gaming a good look in the Malaysian public. Gaming outlets like what Kitamen, esports centers such as The Pantheon and Battle Arena, might be the solution on this part.
Lastly, it’s a matter of building the right media perception and awareness. This revolves around spreading the opportunities on how to be involved in the gaming industry- be it a shoutcaster in the esports scene, building your own brand as an independent content creator or get involved into the emerging game development scene in Malaysia.
The memorandum of understanding between Kitamen and MDEC is just the beginning of good things to come.
“We were so excited when Kitamen came to us with their idea, and this could be one of the first few steps that we can take to make a brighter future for the gaming industry in Malaysia.”
With the rise of esports, a multi-billion dollar industry, and how successful Malaysians have been in this front, as well as a growing video game development industry, which opens more opportunities for various jobs and a source of income for the country’s economy, it’s about time that we start showcasing the games and gamers in a more positive light.
Sure, it has some shortcomings, especially if you do not game responsibly, but there are much to gain when we see this emerging trend in Malaysia as a good thing.