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The pandemic has accelerated the shift of economic activity to digital platforms with revenue in the gaming industry increasing by 32 percent between 2019 and 2021. Benefiting from expanded connectivity, the industry developed a complex set of production and publishing linkages allowing major gaming firms to draw from the global talent pool, opening new opportunities for first-time developers and firms. Emerging economies with a considerable gaming population and abundant digitally skilled labor, such as the Philippines, have been able to participate in the global value chain of game development through the outsourcing business model. Korea, home of avid gamers and globally successful games, has been grooming its industry for additional growth and positive spillovers through regulation, entrepreneurship policy, workforce development, and content creation support.
The gaming industry holds potential for growth in emerging economies and a significant impact on South-South trade, as noted by a recent UNCTAD report on the creative industry. Given the dynamism the industry experienced during the pandemic, does the industry genuinely hold promise, or is the outlook rose-tinted by COVID-related trends? What can we learn from the experiences of Korea and the Philippines in promoting the gaming sector and enhancing spillovers? What are the barriers to entry, growth, and skills development, and how can innovation policies help enhance spillovers? What are the resources and conditions that can facilitate the upgrade of the gaming industry from basic outsourcing to original content creation?
James Lo is the President and a founding member of the Game Developers Association of the Philippines. James has been with the association for over 16 years, during which time he has supported development and creation of a wide variety of interactive games and entertainment content for a wide range of platforms, as well as serving as a representative for the organization. He is also CEO of Taktyl Studios and serves as a board member of the Philippines chapter of the International Game Developers Association.
Dal Yong Jin is a Distinguished Professor at the Communications School of Simon Fraser University. Jin’s major research and teaching interests are on digital platforms and digital games, globalization and media, transnational cultural studies, and the political economy of media and culture. He has been directing The Transnational Culture and Digital Technology Lab since the summer of 2021. Since May 2022, Jin is fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA). Jin holds a PhD in Communications from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MPA from University of Texas at Austin. His publications include Korea’s Online Gaming Empire, New Korean Wave: Transnational Cultural Power in the Age of Social Media, and The Political Economy of the Digital Game Industry (forthcoming).
Zafer Mustafaoglu is the Practice Manager for FCI in the East Asia and Pacific region. Previously, he was the Practice Manager for FCI in the Latin America region and Lead Economist / Program Leader for Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. His expertise is in macro and micro policy areas including economic growth and productivity, innovation, financial inclusion, development banks, infrastructure finance, trade integration, SME support and enterprise development, foreign exchange rates, and debt sustainability. Prior to the World Bank, he worked twelve years for the Turkish Government including the Prime Ministry State Planning Organization of Turkey. Zafer holds a PhD in International Economics from the Middle East Technical University and a Masters in Economics from the University of Essex.