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RP game developers feel the crunch

By Alex Villafania
THERE’S a “weird” situation in the game development industry today. Sales of games and consoles have gone up in the last few months but new projects are being held back as the financial crunch is affecting game development firms.

Indirectly, the Philippine game development industry is experiencing the crisis as outsourcing projects are postponed due to banks squeezing credits to companies.

Game Development Association of the Philippines President Gabby Dizon said the entertainment sector, where the game development industry is under, is supposed to be more resistant during these times. More people tend to purchase entertainment-related items that could help them cope with the current economic crunch.

“There are more games being sold during these days but companies are not creating new titles. This would have negative effects on companies offering outsource services,” Dizon said.

Dizon said most outsourced projects done in the Philippines are coming from the United States and some European countries.

Dizon believed that game development firms in the Philippines will not be spared by the crisis. But he hopes to see a turnaround growth in six months as new game development projects start pouring in from clients.

“Major developers can’t just stop creating new games. They have to sustain production and they’ll be looking for outsourcing firms,” Dizon said.

With only less than 15 companies developing games in the Philippines, Dizon assured that none of them would be closing shop. In fact, some firms are still hiring new employees.

“But there will be fewer hires while we try to get more work done from existing employees,” Dizon said.

When the industry picks up again, Dizon expects projects to start coming back, particularly those targeting mobile phone and handheld devices.

“Some companies are already looking at the Apple iPhone and Nintendo DS to develop new games,” he said.

Dizon said the Philippines needs to market the Philippines as a hub for outsourced game development projects. “We still offer the best value-for-money when it comes to outsourced services.”

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