MDEC: Creative industry on the right track for growth
By Chong Jinn Xiung January 25, 2018
- Creative industry is lucrative and has huge potential in the overseas market
- Level Up Inc incubator to assist elite studios bring products to market
THE creative industry in Malaysia is on an upwards trajectory given the fact that a total of 54 game companies have raked more than RM500 million in revenue, earned RM450 million in exports and created over 520 jobs from 2013-2016 according to the custodians of Malaysia’s digital economy Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
MDEC chief executive officer Yasmin Mahmood (pic, above) said that the creative industry is an important part of Malaysia’s digital economy as it is lucrative and has huge potential in the overseas market, during a recent event at MDEC’s game incubator hub Level Up Inc in Bangsar South.
“I am proud to see that many young people, from the ages of 23 and 24, are entering the digital economy and games development industry by starting their own businesses and thus creating new job opportunities,” she said.
Part of MDEC’s efforts to push more Malaysians to be creators rather than consumers of content is through the #mydigitalmaker movement that aims to transform Malaysian youth from digital users to producers in the digital economy by teaching them skills such as coding, app development, robotics and data analytics.
To date, MDEC’s [email protected] programme has trained 73 teachers and brought 300 secondary school students one step closer to their dream of being game developers through the use of the Unity game engine.
Levelling up local game companies
Vice president of the creative content and technologies division Hasnul Hadi Samsudin (pic, above) said that this year MDEC will be focusing its efforts on supporting local game studios in getting their product to market.
This comes following MDEC’s efforts in laying the groundwork for the industry last year by setting up the Level Up Inc incubation space and Level Up KL conference and business connection event in November 2017.
“Level Up Inc will be where we house elite game startups and it acts as a safe harbour for them to grow and thrive once they step out of the incubator,” explained Hasnul.
The incubator houses state of the art facilities with game development kits for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo consoles as well as VR development kits.
Hasnul explained that studios parked under Level Up Inc undergo a strict selection process and must constantly meet the timelines and goals that they set.
“We will review their progress every six months along with their financial status. If they don’t achieve their goals or correct themselves in that time frame otherwise they will be asked to relocate,” he said.
He has observed that the Malaysian game development scene has certainly grown from strength to strength and attracted top talent like ex-Final Fantasy XV game designer Wan Hazmer (pic, above) back to set up his studio Metronomik where he is working on his first independent game No Straight Roads.
He added that even corporates are exploring this space as a major financial institution has expressed interest in collaborating with studios parked under Level Up Inc to develop their own original intellectual property in a bid to engage with more millennials.
“Digital content is the way of the future for engagement with users. Millennials are not engaged with traditional forms of media like newspapers or TV, hence companies need to change their approach.”
When asked if MDEC will be opening more incubator spaces like Level Up Inc in the near future, Hasnul responded that they want to ensure that the first incubator space in Komune is a success before thinking about opening more.
“We want to be very focused and not do too many things that would thin out our efforts,” he said.