The game development industry is still a newborn and often term as a neglected business area comparing another sector in Bangladesh. The scenario becomes evident if you search for anything about the game industry in Bangladesh. Indeed there will be little information available on the web. At the same time, it has a potentially significant market all over the world as thousands of related content coming every day to roar its existence on the internet.
So, does that mean Bangladesh has no interest in the game development industry? If yes, then the existing ecosystem that actually can be said good for nothing is okay. But if the answer is no, then we got a problem with it, and things cannot be done this way as it is going though!
Thousands of Bangladeshi minds, mostly young ones, play video games every day as part of leisure activity but are not proudly addicted to any of the local competitions, actually there’ little standards game made by native companies. But we can assume that if the ecosystem was ready, many might be interested in making games, which may create a billion-dollar market within the country. But people who interested in this fantastic money-making and passionate industry cannot see any future, and that leads our supper animators, developers, programmers are leaving to find a better option outside the country.
However, besides these gossips, let’s have a look at some statistics about the Bangladesh game industry to understand the circumstance. According to media reports, the global gaming industry generated at around USD 135 billion in 2018 alone. The market is expected to earn USD 180 billion within 2021, with a 10 percent steady growth record. However, comparing with the global market, Bangladesh contributes less than 0.05 percent, worth around USD 63 million. But industry insiders and businesses say the actual scenario is far less than it shows.
So now, what to do to make the market visible and relatively announce that it is a separate industry. First of all, we will discuss the government’s responsibility to make the sector ready for going, flourishing, and making money.
It is a must to say that the government has taken some initial initiatives to train people interested in game development, but still, a long way to go.
The government’s initiatives so far:
In 2016, The government launched a project worth Taka 282 crore (estimated) title “Skill development for mobile game and application” with a slogan “Stepping towards mobile apps and gaming industry.”
According to the source, under the project, in the initial phase, a total of 16100 people got training in eight divisions (Dhaka, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Mymensingh, Khulna, Barisal, Sylhet, and Chittagong). The numbers counted for Android- 6965, iOS-1785, Game-2800, UI/UX-2800, and App Monetisation-1750. On the other hand, 624 people got advanced training while Android-208, iOS-208, game-104, UI/UX-52, and Monetization-52.
What next needed to be:
As per the industry, game developer, who are enthusiastically working in this sector, think the only government can raise the industry up and to the global competitive market by doing-
Game developers say that the game the industry is lack of separate attention as an ‘Industry’ just like others. Though the government did a little bit of recognition by doing some activities, it now needs to declare as a potential ‘Industry’ that can change the country’s economy. For this, public agencies should support it as so many of them do not understand the full value of it, neither it’s market potential.
I have an IT firm of my own that specializes in game development. The game industry can bring billion-dollar foreign money to the country. But primarily it needs recognition from all public agencies. With a mandate, they will know this is a big market, from where many countries are making billions, so do Bangladesh can make.
I believe that the ICT division of the government can start this recognition process. Then all other bodies will support and promote it elsewhere.”
Set a target:
The government has already established a goal to earn $5 billion from exporting IT and software services by 2021. So why not set such a goal for the game development industry? Let’s see an example. According to Wikipedia, Kind Digital Entertainment’s production ‘Candy Crush’, a most popular game played in Bangladesh, earns an estimated $7.503 billion as of 2019 since its inception in 2012. So, it says what a single success story can bring to the economy. It is bigtime to announce a target from the game sector, which will help the industry grow and thousands to get jobs and boost the economy.
The fund can be work as oxygen for the game sector in the initial stage, which currently unavailable. So, the game developers need funding opportunities like they will provide ideas. The government will fund it for making and marketing. In this regard, Ershad further said, “making a game costs huge as there are needed a big team comprised of highly paid developers, which is time-consuming.
After making, the main factor is marketing the game, which costs more than double then making as marketing, representing a game and its country to others, especially investors. So, this is very tough for the existing companies who are making games here. They might build a game by their own finding, but due to lack of funding, they become frustrated. So, the government should have a particular budget for gaming ideas and its marketing.” ;
If the government can advertise the sector well, then the foreign investors will be lured to invest. Even Bangladesh can be a great outsourcing destination for big companies. So, it is necessary to highlight the sector. After that, the foreign investor will find their way to invest here.
The incentive package for foreign investors:
The game development sector is very much match with the ITES sector, and it gets all the facilities that the ITES sector gets. According to the latest budget, the government has extended the tax holiday facility for software development and information technology-enabled services (ITES) up to 2024 to inspire investment. It also includes a 10 percent cash incentive for foreign investors. Moreover, it provides a project equity facility for ICT start-ups and financial support to the mid and top-level industries. Like this, if the government announced some incentive package to get investors’ attention, they might think their investment is worth making and profitable. Seeing the future potential, it’s time to declare a long-term suite for the investors, which equivalently encourages game developers in Bangladesh.
In my opinion, “Foreign game development companies get 10- 20 million dollars investment for making a game and marketing. Investors invest in this regard so happily as they know that if a game clicks to the global market, it can earn several billion dollars. But to get the investment, we need to create an ecosystem to compete with other country’s companies.” “The more the industry gets highlighted, the more opportunity will create to get the investment,” he added.
Though the Bangladesh government has taken some training facilities for the developers, it needs more and more. To create quality manpower, initial training can be provided by the local instructors. Still, for advanced training, it requires individual instructors from prestigious institutions. So, the government can hire some foreign instructors to train local talents.
I believe that Asian countries such as China, Japan, Malaysia, India, have done plenty of improvement in the gaming sector. So, we can hire their expertise to train our boys. In this case government can sign a contract with them or hire them to train us.