Up until five years ago, many were already talking about the potential of the Philippines of making it big in the arena of game development. In 2011, there were already a good number of companies that were involved in game development, employing 3,000 employees.
The sector already performed beyond expectations. According to the Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP), this new industry managed to rake in some $70 million from late 2011 to early 2012.
Industry leaders predicted that game development would grow steadily. If all goes well, the lofty goal was to create so much demand for Filipino game developers that companies would provide lucrative employment for 10,000 people by 2015.
As it turned out, game development companies in the Philippines were wrong – they did not dream big enough.
GDAP president Alvin Juban, in a GMA News Online article, said: “We keep saying by 2015, we want 10,000 people. But now, we find that we’re aiming too low. A lot has changed.”
The landscape has indeed changed since making the prediction five years ago. The worldwide game development industry has grown at a dizzying pace. In many respects, the interactive entertainment industry has overtaken Hollywood in terms of sales. Game studios are hungry for developers, and they are looking at Asia to satisfy this appetite for talent.
In fact, in order for the Philippines to meet the current demand for game developers, it must produce a local talent pool of 15,000 people by 2016.
The Commission on Higher Education, realizing the missed opportunity, finally released last year a set of guidelines for schools to increase their competencies in the field of entertainment and multimedia computing. In a few years, expect more schools to dip their hands into this new and highly sought after college program.
Luckily there are a handful of institutions that have already made waves in the field of game development. One of the first and perhaps the best game development school in the Philippines is iACADEMY.
The school currently leads the pack in training the next breed of Filipino game developers not only because it was among the first to predict the demand for it, it also offers a holistic approach in teaching game development.
Mitch Andaya, a renowned IT educator and iACADEMY Vice President for Academics, said unlike the computer science courses, game development in the Makati-based school trains students not just on programming, but also visual design and even storytelling.
“To make it in the game development industry you need to be trained in three areas – programming, animation, and storytelling,” he said.
While other schools are still drawing up plans on how to come up with a game development course, iACADEMY is all set to send off its first batch of Bachelor of Science in Game Development graduates to the real world. Andaya said it will supply more game development professionals year after year.
“Our enrolment for this course is on a steady rise. And now that they are starting to finish the course, we are expecting them to make a big impact in the industry. The people who walked and continue to walk our halls may just as well be the next breed for game developers who will make a difference in the industry both here and abroad,” Andaya said.