The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Competitiveness and Innovation Group (CIG) and the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), in partnership with GameOps, Inc. and the Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP), has successfully concluded the Game Development Summit (GDS) in Boracay on 15-16 February 2024. This is the first International Game Industry Summit in the Philippines featuring two (2) tracks: External Development and Indie Games.  

After the 2-day summit, the initial estimated export sales generated amounted to US$2,419,000.00 (actual and potential sales), and 53 B2B meetings were conducted resulting in 47 trade leads.

During the launch, DTI-CIG Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba highlighted the DTI’s partnership with private organizations such as the Game Development Association of the Philippines (GDAP) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) ARISE Plus Philippines project to champion the development and promotion of the game development sector. 

“As we strengthen our game development ecosystem, particularly through the indie games track where we promote our Filipino stories and games, the Game Development Summit takes on even greater significance. Who knows, the next big, game-changing idea might emerge from a Filipino developer, born right here at the GDS.” Usec. Aldaba said.  

Furthermore, International Trade Centre (ITC) National Project Coordinator Atty. Rami Hourani discussed the ARISE Plus Philippines Project of the ITC, implemented by the DTI-EMB and funded by the European Union (EU). He also invited two (2) ARISE Plus Philippines beneficiaries to share their first-hand experiences participating in several trade missions under the project.  

The Philippines’ first Game Development Summit (GDS) welcomed people worldwide, providing a collaborative platform for studios, developers, and advocates to forge connections, cultivate meaningful partnerships, and collectively promote the gaming industry. Featuring two distinct tracks, the External Development Track at The Lind Boracay facilitated studio partnerships with world-class game developers. At the same time, the Indie Track at Sea Wind Resort Boracay highlighted the growing independent game development scene. At the sidelines of GDS 2024, an Industry Consultants Meeting attended by the representatives of the DTI – Export Marketing Bureau, Foreign Trade Service Corps Coordinating Office (FTSCCO), Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) – San Francisco, Board of Investments (BOI) and the Canadian Embassy commenced. Mr. Jason Della Rocca of Execution Labs and Mr. Krisitian Roberts from Nordicity, Canada, participated in the consultative meeting.

This summit, held simultaneously at both venues, was jam-packed with activities, including a business-to-business event with international participation, workshops, and learning sessions featuring esteemed speakers who are top players in the industry. Chris Wren, the executive director for XDS and co-founder of XDS Spark, led the opening of the XDS Main Stage in The Lind Boracay on 15 February 2024. Several learning sessions were conducted in the External Development Track during the 2-day summit, summarized as follows: “Unveiling Advantages and Differences of External Game Development in Asia,” “Effective Communication in Game Development,” “Unlocking the Power of External Partnership Collaboration” and “Panel: Insights from AAA Developers.”

For the Indie Games Track, the following learning sessions were conducted: “Optimized Base-Building: How Indie Studios Can Leverage Support and Incentives,” “Funding Models: Understanding How To Invest In Games,” “Investing In Indie Games,” “Setting SEA Developers Up For Success With International Publishers,” “XBOX, Indies, and Southeast Asia,” “Leveraging External Development Creatively,” “Guiding Lights: The Crucial Role of GameDev Mentors for Indie Developers,” “Philippine VCs and The Games Industry” and lastly, “Staying Alive and Redefining Indie: A Boozmap Case Study.”

While learning sessions are happening in the Indie Games Track, workshops were also simultaneously being conducted at the venue: “Your Design Is Bad, And You Should Feel Bad”, “GameDev Workshop Master User Stories To Create Expressive Gameplay,” “Indie Gold: Crafting Viable Game Concepts and Budgets for Success,” “Pitch Review Session,” “Building Launch Momentum,” “Building the Community For Your Indie Games Studio,” “Act Like You’re Self-Publishing (Chances Are That You Will Be)” and “Introduction to Influencer Marketing Strategies For Indies.”

The event was well-attended, including 16 major companies local and international) at the External Development track, participating in networking and B2B. There were 300 participants from various sectors, such as Publishers, Investors, Developers, Advocates, Experts, Mentors, Service Providers, Industry Associations/Organizations, and other gaming development professionals. The summit’s global appeal was evident, with representatives from 30 countries converging to participate in the maiden event.

The DTI-EMB has been an active partner in championing the creative industry, recognizing the potential of exports in the game development sector, particularly with the recent passage of Republic Act 11904, also known as the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act (PCIDA), which provides strategic direction and strengthen the export promotion and development of the industry. Furthermore, the mission aligns with the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028, which lists IT-BPM as one of its priority industries. ♦

Date of release: 08 March 2024