Gaming – Malaysia’s silent religion
By Karamjit Singh July 18, 2017
- To build ecosystem, every single component of it needs to be supported, facilitated
- Events such as HotShotz aim to move Malaysia up the value chain as creators
AS ONE of the lead promoters for Malaysia’s ambitions to build up its gaming ecosystem the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) used to focus solely on capacity building within the value chain.
“But as we were building the ecosystem, step by step, with partners such as universities, game studios and even the media, you would not see us supporting consumer-focused gaming events,” says Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, MDEC’s vice president of Creative Content & Technologies Division.
“But over the years we have come to realise that, to build the ecosystem, every single component of it needs to be supported, facilitated and be seen as part of the gaming ecosystem, and with all our support, we know HotShotz will be bigger next year,” he adds. Hasnul points out that events such as HotShotz, an eGames festival with six components to it, will play a role to help move Malaysia up the value chain to be seen, not just as a market consuming gaming products but also as a development hub, says the well respected ecosystem builder during the press conference yesterday to talk about this weekend’s HotShotz eGames festival on July 22 & 23 to be held at KDU University College.
Interestingly, while Malaysia has made rapid progress as a games development hub and gaming market, with around 14 million gamers whose combined gaming related purchases have propelled the country to be the 21st largest gaming market in the world, some perceptions still exist. And, Tan Chin Ike, head, School of Computing and Creative Media at KDU University College is well familiar with one particular one – lack of a career path with many parents still concerned over the feasibility of their children pursuing a gaming career.
“I spend a lot of my time reassuring them that there is strong demand from industry,” he says while pointing out that starting salaries for those embarking in their gaming careers as game designers, game artists or game programmers (the back end technology work), ranges between US$559 and US$699 (RM2,400 to RM3,000).
Andre Stiegler, Studio Manager of Codemasters Malaysia, a subsidiary of the leading game publisher, Codemasters, in the UK pointed out that there were quite a number of Malaysians who have moved up and on in their gaming careers working for some of the leading gaming studios in Australia, US, Singapore and Europe.
“The games industry can be fairly lucrative but you must put heart and soul into it. You can earn 10x to 20x the starting salary then and there are many Malaysians earning lucrative salaries globally.”
Aiming to inspire more students to take up careers in gaming MDEC is working with Unity, a cross platform game engine, to run Level UP@schools where to secondary school students are given the opportunity and confidence to create their own games. The idea is to encourage children to go from being consumers to producers of content. One of the highlights of HotShotz will be when MDEC has a prize giving ceremony on Saturday for some of the students from this programme.
While there is an undoubted strong focus on students and youth in the gaming ecosystem, it would be a mistake to think that this is an ecosystem catering solely on the needs of youth. “I was a gamer,” shares Michael Chung, Digi’s Head of Games from its Digital Products and Services business. Parenting responsibilities however put an end to his gamer days but Chung notes that today, “everybody is a gamer, be it casual gamer with a console or in their private time [through the mobile],” says the Starcraft fan leading Digi’s efforts to be the preferred telco for gamers on the go.
Indeed when one looks beyond the youth focus of the gaming ecosystem, it becomes apparent that the early gamers from the 1980s onwards have not disappeared from the gaming scene or lost their interest in games, which have become much more interactive today. They will still profess to be gamers, following the developments and playing their favourite games, leading one e-sports event manager to observe, “gaming has become a silent religion.”
DNA readers who wish to experience the various components of our inaugural eGames Festival, HotShotz on July 22-23, should get their tickets now through Lazada Malaysia, our e-Commerce Partner with the 2-day ticket giving you the best value for money, including entry to the lucky draw with a PS4 Pro as the grand prize.
Those who want to check out the latest gaming machines should visit the Acer booth, Main sponsor of HotShotz with Edmund Hoh, Product Manager, Acer Sales & Services Sdn Bhd expressing Acer’s excitement to showcase its stylish and power-packed features that deliver an immersive and memorable gaming experience to everyone, especially the through it Predator series.
Positioned as Malaysia’s leading eGames Festival, HotShotz has six components to it:
Strictly for amateurs, with a total of seven games, both PC and console players who fancy themselves to be the next Malaysian world champion, should pencil in HotShotz as their breakout debut on to the main stage. The main event will see over 250 finalists competing to be winners in the following games:
- Counter Strike (on the PC)
- Street Fighter V (PlayStation 4)
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (PlayStation 4)
- Overwatch (PC)
- PES 2017 (Winning Eleven 2017) (PlayStation 4)
- Dota2 (PC)
- Tekken 7 – (PlayStation 4)
Game Publishers Showcase
Various game titles will be available for visitors to enjoy in the free to play area with Sony Interactive Entertainment Hong Kong Limited Singapore Branch (SIES) and Codemasters will also be having a booth presence.
Indie Games Showcase
All the big games started out small and here, through the showcase presenter, MDEC, 10 independent game developers will be showing their games for all to play. Could one of them become the next big thing in the gaming industry?
Seen as very much at the periphery of the gaming ecosystem, nonetheless it was Cosplay players, many of them gamers themselves, who helped take the fantasy characters of the gaming world into the real and, indirectly, helped create a sense of excitement and reality around the games. Watch out for the cosplay workshop as well where you will get tips on how to portray your fave gaming world character.
You have heard of how some people love to modify their cars, well, meet the geek equivalents and be blown away by how far some will go to turbo charge their machines. There will also be a hands on area where visitors can assemble their own dream gaming machine.
VR news has been making headlines with a Malaysian games developer turned VR player raising some funding from 500 Startups last week. Yet another key player in the Malaysian VR scene is VR Lab Sdn Bhd and as our VR Partner with the largest booth space, they will be ensuring that HotShotz visitors get to experience what the world of VR is actually like.
Those who purchase the two-day ticket will also be eligible for the lucky draw with a PS4 Pro console, three units of Predator gaming mouse, a gaming chair and some VR for mobile headsets as the prizes.
HotShotz is supported by Main Sponsor Predator, which is Acer’s gaming brand, co-sponsors Digi, Malaysia’s leading telco, Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Sony Interactive Entertainment Hong Kong Limited Singapore Branch (SIES). KDU University College is the Venue Host, VR Lab is the VR Partner, TP-Link is the Networking Partner and Lazada Malaysia is the e-Commerce Partner. The media partner is Astro’s eGames channel, EGG and Indonesian media site, vivo.co.id.