GDAP 3rd Games Festival

Department of Computer Science Building, UP Diliman

Address VIPs

, fellow ICT practitioners, colleagues in government, our current and future game developers, beloved students and gamers, in behalf of Department of Science and Technology’s Information and Communications Technology Office, a pleasant good morning.  I would like to thank the Game Developers Association of the Philippines or GDAP for organizing this event and inviting me to speak to you today.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make, despite my 30 year ICT background, believe it or not, I do not play computer games.  I believe the unofficial term for a person like me would be a “librarian”, essentially a computer nerd that does not play computer games.  Although I have had a short fascination with one particular game early in my programming career that for a fleeting moment made me consider getting into game development.  I was amazed by this game not for its game play but rather its source code, particularly its graphics sub-routines.

I was working on assembly language at the time for CAD and CAM applications when I came upon the source code for a game engine that was also written in C, Assembly language.  I actually learned a lot from the innovations from this game, particularly in displaying 3D space which was essential for my work at that time.  And I have to say that this radically changed my approach to assembly language programming.  This was in the early to mid nineties, and I am  sure that all of you who were around then are familiar with the title, the game was called Doom, by a company called iD software.

Even though I don’t play computer games, I am very much aware of gamings effect in the world of ICT.  Games have always been on the forefront of pushing the envelope of computer hardware and software innovations; from data processing, to graphics, to networking and even machine to machine communications. If there is one word I can use to describe the game development industry is that it… is… FACINATING.

You are part of a 60 to a 100 billion dollar a year global industry, that is fast expanding with the proliferation of game capable devices and the current trend of gamification through social networking.  Though admittedly our local game dev industry is just is just a drop in the bucket of the world-wide market and is still in its relative infancy, we are looking forward to its development in the coming years, driven by the Filipino talent, strong consumer demand, expanding opportunities for game development outsourcing and continued government support for the industry.

Very few sectors of ICT can claim to have the talent, drive for innovation, imagination, dynamism as this one.  What can be sexier ICT job title than that of “Game Developer”? Well maybe CEO or CIO but what I mean is a job title that fresh ICT grad can realize almost immediately.  And the nice thing about it is, this is one of the many ICT industry segments can where the Filipino with his creativity and penchant for innovation can really excel.

Gaming has already made an impact in the academic environment, new college courses specifically designed to train the country’s budding new game developers are becoming a regular offering in our top universities and colleges. Very soon new talent will be busting out of these institutes of learning to fill the ranks of local game developers, or better yet start game dev ventures of their own.

Government support for this industry has been limited thus far, but the good news is that this administration is willing to expand its support to drive growth in Philippine game development industry, similar to the support that we have given the IT-BPO sector which has been growing by leaps and bounds in past few years, making the Philippines the Worlds’ preferred contact center destination.

Research is one area that where the government can help, particularly in terms of obtaining vital industry metrics to help anticipate manpower, talent development and academic support requirements of the industry, allowing it to grow with little or no impediments. Likewise, the government can also extend assistance in promoting the industry to the world stage as a potential outsourcing talent outsourcing pool for major game developers.

Industry growth can likewise be catalyzed by cooperation and collaboration within the industry, sharing resources, talent, technology, and best practices for the common good, improving not only company value but the overall industry value,… promoting community rather than competition.

From personal experience in the electronics design industry where I was for 15 years prior to re-joining the government, our industry was not able to live up to its full potential as we were driven by competition with little or no collaboration between design houses, much time was spent on training, limiting skills development to what was approved rather than collaborating on best practices that could have allowed the industry to grow as whole.

With the lively community I’ve seen so far, I don’t think that that could happen in the Philippine Game Development scene. So far I can really feel the sense of community and cooperation with the limited interaction I have had with GDAP’s members so far.

We in government are looking forward to working and collaborating with our GDAP to map out strategies to enable the industry to live up to its maximum potential.  After all, games are fun, and that is what the Philippines is all about.

Thank you very much and good day.

-Undersecretary Louis Napoleon C. Casambre, Executive Director – Information and Communications Technology Office – Department of Science and Technology