Malta Enterprise, the University of Malta and the Malta Council for Science and Technology in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Investment launched the digital gaming strategy for Malta to facilitate the growth of this lucrative niche as an offshoot of the flourishing ICT industry.
The strategy was launched during a one-day-conference on April 27 that was opened by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and which was attended by several industry stakeholders as well as students who are looking at a career in digital gaming.
Malta’s Special Envoy for Digital Gaming Chris Deering highlighted not only the exponential growth registered in digital gaming in recent years, but also the wide ranging opportunities that social media and portable devices have created and that Malta could target to become the world’s leading country for trans-media interactive digital arts.
On his part, Prof. William Latham presented the findings of the report compiled by Games Audit Ltd team, which was commissioned to research, carry out interviews with stakeholders and analyse the digital gaming sector in Malta and its potential for growth as a guide to setting up the national policy for this industry.
The report focused on the attraction of global gaming companies and the encouragement of local company start-ups, as well as initiatives that need to be taken to enhance education in this sector and to nurture a games eco-system.
Amongst other recommendations, the report suggests that possible areas of specialisation for Malta could be downloadable games for mobile, tablet, pc and consoles, as well as browser games such as html, flash and social games including for the popular social network websites.
Whilst noting that the digital gaming industry is still in its early stages in Malta, the report comments positively on the country’s potential particularly in view of the strong ICT industry and the possibility of transferring skills not only from other existing sectors such as software development or iGaming, but also from other industries such as film and audiovisual which make use of similar skills as those required by the digital gaming industry.
The report also highlighted other benefits that Malta offers and which could attract other foreign companies or encourage local start-ups, such as the support of educational institutions which provide tailor-made courses as well as the availability of wide-ranging fiscal and financial incentives to support the industry’s growth.
The conference also provided the opportunity for those present to discuss the report prepared by Games Audit Ltd, the industry’s prospects and issues of concern during a panel discussion.
Besides Prof. Latham, the panel also comprised some of the industry’s stakeholders, namely Ingo Mesche from AV Technologies, Matthew Pullicino from The Bigger Picture, Michael Pitzschel from Big Point International, the EU expert on digital games Carlo Donzella and the President of ICT section within the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry Keith Fearne. Nick Porsche, himself a game developer, moderated the debate.