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Thailand’s DEPA focuses on game service providers

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) is scaling up efforts to forge the establishment of Thailand-based game service providers as another driver for this multibillion-baht industry. The agency has sought a budget of THB400 million from the government to support the industry through the fiscal 2022 budget.

The President and Chief Executive of Depa said that Thailand’s game industry was valued at THB29 billion in 2020 with an average growth of 14% per year, based on his agency’s survey. The industry is projected to be valued at THB33 billion this year. Gaming is part of the digital content industry that has grown in line with the world’s technology and new consumer lifestyles, he said. However, the country still lacks online game service providers and games publishers, especially the former that act as key agencies to own, lease or operate businesses linked to games as well as handling game exports to the world market.

Currently, Thai game developers have to share 60-70% of their sales with game service providers and publishers, most of which are international firms, especially from Japan, South Korea, Canada and Singapore, the Depa CE noted, speaking recently at a signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding for cooperation between Depa and the Thai Game Software Industry Association (TGA) to support and promote digital content, including games.

The cooperation is aimed at creating more value in the industry and increasing new work opportunities as well as supporting digital manpower in the industry, he said. As part of Depa’s support of the game industry, the agency and TGA will formally roll out the Depa Game Accelerator Programme on 2 March 2021 at Thailand E-Sports Arena in Street Ratchada.

The programme is aimed at seeking potential mobile game developers in four-game categories: action, adventure, sports and strategy. Ten teams will be chosen to join the programme. The programme is also meant to boost knowledge and experience among people in the industry as well as creating an opportunity for them to match up with venture capital and explore the global market.

The Depa President noted that one of the pain points in the industry is the unfavourable perception of gamers although this segment could be promoted as a new S-curve industry to boost the economy, especially in the post-COVID-19 period. E-sports and gaming can provide careers, thereby boosting job opportunities, he said.

Meanwhile, the President of the gaming association said the game industry is a promising segment that can generate income for the country as part of the digital economy. He noted that the partnership to promote and support digital content highlights the country’s potential in the digital economy.

According to a gaming research firm, 81% of gamers in Southeast Asia play games on mobile devices. Mobile gamers account for 70% of players in Thailand. It was highlighted that Thailand has the potential to become an e-sport business leader within ASEAN in the future. The market is now led by Indonesia in terms of market size and player numbers, while Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia are competitors within the region.

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