Level Up 2016: Dreaming big on mobiles

  • Experienced videogame developers returning home
  • Existing videogame studios urged to foster new talent


Level Up 2016: Dreaming big on mobiles


According to a recent report, mobile videogame revenue in Malaysia will hit US$109 million in 2016. Although small change compared to the global mobile videogame market which is valued at US$37 billion, the sector is predicted to grow at over eight percent every year until 2021. A similar growth curve is predicted for the global mobile game market.

This probably explains why an increasing number of Malaysian companies are focussing on mobile games. One of these companies is Kadokawa Gempak Starz. Every year, the company produces over 250 publications in various genres from acclaimed local, regional and international artists. Kadokawa Gempak Starz recently expanded into mobile games publishing.

At Level Up 2016, DNA caught up with Ivan Low Jun Zhi, Lead Game Programmer at Kadokawa Gempak Starz. Ivan graduated from UCTI with BSc (Hons) in Computer Games Development and is now working on the company's next mobile game.

DNA:  How did you find Level Up 2016?

I felt that Level Up is an event that is very much needed in Malaysia right now to help the game industry to grow. The networking sessions and talks greatly expanded our view on the game industry and a lot of information was exchanged.

I like how Level Up allows small studios and developers like us get exposure by showcasing our games.

DNA: What kind of games are you currently working on?

Currently, we are developing a hack and slash game using our company’s X-Venture series IP. We are very excited about this project as it will be the first game from us that will be monetised in a way that keeps the player’s overall experience in mind.

DNA: What game middleware do you use?

We are currently using Unity 3D as the main game engine.

DNA: Do you have trouble finding talent?

It is true that good talent is harder to come by these days. With better opportunities overseas, more and more talented developers and designers are leaving the country. However, with MDEC’s relentless efforts to grow the industry, I can start to see a change where people are starting to come back home. So they will be bringing with them their valuable foreign experience.

DNA: How do you think videogame education can be improved in Malaysia?

As a videogame graduate myself, I do agree that the videogame education system in Malaysia needs to be improved. There are still colleges and universities that are using lecturers with no prior game development experience to teach the students.

I feel this is a very bad practice as experience is very important in this industry and by sharing experience with the students, it will better prepare them for the working world. As we are seeing more prominent game developers and successful game studios in Malaysia right now, it would be good for them to help nurture new talent by taking up the roles of mentors.

DNA: What are your plans for the next one year?

We are looking to expand into VR games next year as we feel that the technology has reached a point where it will become very affordable for most people soon and we see the potential in the nascent market.



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