PH video game developers ‘desperate’ to hire more as industry levels up despite virus

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2020 03:41 PM

Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - The Philippine video game development industry eyes hiring more personnel as the sector bucks the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an industry group.

The Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP) said they need at least 2,000 more professionals as the videogame industry has surged worldwide. 

“Our members are desperately looking for more people,” said GDAP president Alvin Juban.

He added, while game developers are still few and far between in the Philippines, sub-industries like programming, quality assurance services, art services, and game support have been steadily growing.

Juban also said the sector, which is under the bigger IT-BPO industry, pays higher than other business process outsourcing jobs.

"Entry rate, we're above par. It's very specific and it's a small industry, it's pretty much funneled, so obviously you have to pay a bit more," he said.

Juban said that in the game development industry, a company with 300 people is already considered “huge.” 

“We have another member who started the year with 750 people. But their plan for 2020 was to end up at 1,500 people. And they're having a difficult time now, during this pandemic, to hire these people," he said.

But Juban also admitted, while the global gaming industry is seen growing 5 percent this year to $159 billion, there's still a long way to go before the Philippines gets a big chunk of that pie.

"I don't think we've even breached $100 million in our service industry," he said. 

Moving forward, he said, GDAP is focusing on boosting the art services in the near term as this is the strong suit of the local workforce.

"Filipinos are more attuned to the arts more than programming. We still have to improve our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). We've been harping about the improvement of STEM for the last 2 years but that would take time," he explained.

He also had this tip to Filipinos who want to enter the video game industry.

"All you have to do is look at the most popular games in the world and figure out how that art is done. Some people may say it's copying, but I say it's educating yourself."

Industry tracker Newzoo has said that the global videogame market will generate $159.3 billion in revenue in 2020, and will surpass $200 billion in revenue in 2023.

In contrast, the movie industry as a whole is estimated to have lost close to $10 billion as of May as the pandemic shut down theaters and disrupted productions.