MDEC and Media Prima Digital partner to champion local games development
By Anushia Kandasivam August 18, 2017
- Providing a commercialisation platform for local games developers
- High-potential startups to be mentored by both parties
THE Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Media Prima Digital (MPD), the digital arm of Malaysian media giant Media Prima Bhd, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Aug 16 to signify their coming together to boost the local videogame industry.
The MoU also marks the re-affirmed partnership between MDEC and MPD in the Level Up KL 2017 game development conference, hackathon and awards event that will take place in November.
The MoU was signed by MDEC chief operating officer Ng Wan Peng and MPD chief executive officer Rafiq Razali witnessed by MDEC CEO Yasmin Mahmood and Media Prima group managing director Kamal Khalid, as well as vice president of MDEC’s Creative Content and Technologies Division Hasnul Hadi Samsudin and Mdeia Prima Labs & Operation group general manager Nicholas Sagau.
The partnership is expected to attract local and international developers and industry players, spurring collaboration and boosting digital games development in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
According to Yasmin, publishers that local creators engage with are internationally-based with little to no local presence in this space so bringing MPD in will start a push for other local media houses to consider publishing videogames that are being made here.
“This is a huge step forward for Malaysia on the road to becoming a regional gaming hub,” she said.
The main aims of the partnership area to encourage collaboration, expand the ecosystem and accelerate the sector’s productivity. MPD takes on the responsibility of evaluating and publishing digital games that MDEC selects and develops with local publishers.
Hasnul revealed the idea behind the partnership is for MPD to work together with the game developers that are already working with MDEC, especially those in MDEC’s Intellectual Property Creators Challenge (IPCC), to create great quality games and apps and provide a commercialisation platform so that products get to market.
“MDEC will work with MPD to bring the games and apps to the masses, and tell people that we have these great quality products. We must ensure that people start playing and enjoying them. Our [home-grown content] is wasted if we just consume content from outside [the country]. This is the main gist of our collaboration,” he said.
“One of the things we realised in working with MDEC is that there are a lot of great games but they are not well known,” added Sagau, explaining that at last year’s Level Up conference, MPD experimented with profiling game developers on mainstream channels, giving it exposure to wider audiences.
“We would like to do much more of this for all the game developers that are being incubated by MDEC,” he said.
MDP will also have access to the high-potential game developer startups under IPCC through Level Up Inc, a community-centric co-working space set up by MDEC. MPD will take a space in Level Up Inc and act as a mentor for these young startups while, at the same time, knowledge will also be transferred from startup to MPD, said Yasmin.
“I am privy to some of the IPs these startups are working on and I’m very excited about them. That’s all I will say,” she quipped.
“We hope that through this MoU, we will be able to inspire more young and talented developers and guide them as they expand their expertise and interests in the local game development industry,” added Rafiq.
Essentially, MDEC is looking to widen the videogame developer community, which includes both local and foreign entities, with MPD as a key co-development partner. Providing MPD with access to the soon-to-be-launched main games development hub in Kuala Lumpur is critical to this arrangement as it will open the way for further collaboration and opportunities for both parties to promote Malaysia and the games hub as a prime game development incubator.
The games development hub is a joint effort between MDEC and property developer UOA Holdings Sdn Bhd, the MoU for which was signed between the two parties in November last year. Under the terms of the MOU, UOA Holdings will provide the infrastructure for the hub in Bangsar South and work with MDEC to promote these facilities, while MDEC will facilitate the search for local talents and provide programmes to train and enhance their skills.
The games development industry in Malaysia has been growing steadily over the past few years, with last year showing a 34% growth from the previous year in terms of exports, sales and revenue. With MDEC’s current programmes and collaborations in mind, it projects that this year’s growth will outperform last year’s, said Hasnul.
Ng said that MDEC is open to further collaborations in the future: “As the development agency for the digital economy, we are constantly looking to work with anyone who can add value to the ecosystem.”
She added that MPD has opened the way for other corporations to work with MDEC to jointly develop the gaming industry and advocate for local products. “We are all here to develop the digital economy, and nobody should be left behind on this journey.”