The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved the application for registration of Definite Gaming PTE Ltd. Philippines, Inc. as a new services export provider under the Export Activities category of the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

Classified as a micro enterprise, the Php2.75 million project in Mandaluyong City is a startup mobile game development and publishing company providing software development services for the games developed by its mother firm based in Singapore Definite Gaming PTE Ltd.

The company started its business operations in February 2017 and is currently employing 20 personnel.

Trade Undersecretary for investment promotion Nora Terrado welcomed the investment project saying such business activity reaffirms the Philippines as a highly-potential game development hub of choice in the Asian region and highlights the capabilities and competitive edge of local game development industry players in meeting the stringent and highly-technical skill requirements of international companies.

“Our people is one of the most globally-competitive game programmers in the Asian region and they are more than capable of developing a wide variety of games, be it in mobile, desktop, console, or the Web,” said Undersecretary Terrado, adding that many international game development firms are already taking advantage by tapping the country’s local talent pool including the potentials of around 100,000 annual graduates in the field of Information Technology and Engineering.

Last year, leading international game developer Ubisoft announced the opening of its Philippine production studio. Ubisoft is a leading creator, publisher, and distributor of interactive entertainment and services, with a rich portfolio of world-renowned brands like Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s video game series, Rayman, Far Cry, and Watch Dogs.

“The investment of Ubisoft and promotion of game development investments is in line with the strategic initiatives outlined in the game development industry roadmap which aims to increase awareness on the Philippines as a viable investment location for international game development companies, as well as their game-related services and offshore studios,” said Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino.

The Philippine Video Game Industry Roadmap 2016-2022 projects the industry to employ over 4,000 local workers with revenues reaching over $US50 million by 2022. Last year, the industry posted an estimated US$24 million in revenues with over 2,000 in employment.

The Philippines offers services that complement the corporate goals of gaming companies by providing expertise on retention and monetization of video game communities. Player retention is strengthened through skillful customer support, systematic game moderation, and strategic community management. The country has been a preferred provider of game management support to international production outfits worldwide and for casual games for social networking sites.

The growth of the local industry continues and the market share and range of services are expanding as homegrown firms embrace global video game industry opportunities. The convergence of technologies and gaming platforms, demographic shifts, demand for cost-efficient development, and technological advancements are all fundamentally changing the ways in which games are played.

Recognizing the video games development industry as a high potential segment of the services industry that is seen to further boost the country’s Creative Services sector, the government takes cognizance of this development and is implementing investment promotions plans to attract more game development talents and investment projects in the country.

The BOI included Creative Industries where the sub-sector game development falls under, in the 2017 Investments Priorities Plan (IPP) recently approved by President Duterte. The IPP is a list of priority investment activities that may be given incentives. With the theme “Scaling Up and Dispersing Opportunities,” the 2017 IPP brings forth significant additions and changes with an emphasis on innovation-driven and job-generating businesses; inclusive business for agribusiness and tourism; broadened coverage of manufacturing; information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services for the domestic market and telecommunications services for new market players; environment and climate change-related projects; LGU-initiated PPP projects; drug rehabilitation centers; state-of-the-art engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services; and the lifting of geographical restrictions for most agriculture and tourist accommodation facilities.

BOI also developed the “GameDev Philippines” branding which highlights public-private sector partnership to support the country’s thrust to be a hub for international quality standard video game content.

Last year, the BOI jointly with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Berlin and the Games Development Association of the Philippines facilitated participation of local games-related services and products firms at GAMESCOM 2016 in Cologne, Germany where local companies Altitude Games, GameOps Inc., Job and Esther Technologies, Inc., Synergy88 Digital Inc., Transcom, and Zeenoh showcased their competitive advantage to the European games industry market which is estimated at around US$18.4 billion.