Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Competition in gaming market becoming heated

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese game makers reported double-digit revenue growth last year, thanks to an increased variety of new game titles, follow-up releases on popular sequels and the widespread popularity of gaming as a form of leisure in Taiwan.

However, gaming companies face challenges and uncertainties as competition intensifies, requiring local companies to make even bigger investments to retain or expand their hold on the local market, an official at Gamania Digital Entertainment Co (遊戲橘子), a Taiwanese online game developer and publisher, said yesterday.

“There is a delicate balance that needs to be maintained between investing big dollars on game sequels and licenses and betting on individual game developers’ innovation and creativity,” Gamania chief executive officer William Chen (陳威光) said in an interview.

“We need to manage risk yet at the same time capitalize on surprise out-sized gains before they fall into the competition’s hands, or worse turn into a real threat all by themselves,” he said.

Also, as the two major spheres of online gaming — casual gaming and massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) — evolve over time, increased diversification within each group actually blurs the gaming landscape altogether, he said.

The Market Intelligence Center forecast that the Taiwanese gaming industry would rise by a compounded annual growth rate of 9 percent between 2006 and next year.

For this year, the center expects that the local gaming market would reach NT$11.29 billion (US$339.7 million), with 46 percent coming from casual games and 54 percent from MMORPG.

Chen was more optimistic and estimated growth of between 10 percent and 12 percent this year.

With an eye on the current market trend, Gamania, in partnership with Japanese gaming company GONZO Rosso is releasing a new online game nationwide today titled Pandora Saga.

Chen said the company was optimistic the Japan-made MMORPG would be well-received in Taiwan, with its complex three-way war against a mystical medieval backdrop meeting the ever-increasing expectations of local gamers.

Gamania saw revenue growth of 9.8 percent last year to NT$3.48 billion.

Rivals such as Softworld International Entertainment Corp (智冠科技) and ChineseGamer International Corp (中華網龍) posted total sales of NT$6.15 billion and NT$1.43 billion, representing year-over-year growths of 20 to 30 percent.

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