3 reasons why Indonesian games are hard to be famous abroad

source google.com

Why is it difficult for games made in Indonesia to develop or be well-known abroad, hmmm it seems I have to tell a long story, about 6 years ago I had a chit chat with a friend. He was surprised when he learned that the Icon Pop Quiz game he was playing was actually made by game studio Alegrium, a Jakarta-based game developer. There are several classic problems that still hinder the local game industry: the number of gamers is increasing, the industry is growing, but few gamers know the local game developers or studios.

On 13–14 July 2023, Bekraf Game Prime 2023 was just held, a local game exhibition that has been held annually for the past few years. Previously it was more of a conference event between game developers, but this year and the previous year it is more trying to invite the public to attend.

From this event, maybe you will understand a little why games made in Indonesia are difficult to develop

  1. Publication or marketing in the country is lacking. just so you know, the purpose of this Game Prime event is an effort to introduce the local game industry. But, take a look at the photos of the event atmosphere above. Most visitors are men. Meanwhile, according to data from several studies, it shows that around 40% of gamers (especially on PCs and smartphones) are women. At a glance I concluded that most of the visitors to this event were not ordinary gamers, but game developers, or people who knew the game developer community. which means there are people who at least know the names of local game developers. Maybe there are several reasons why ordinary gamers don’t attend here, such as a lack of publications, the impression of an event that seems more like a showcase for indie developers to attract publishers/investors, or there really aren’t any interesting local game titles yet. In addition, information related to local games is still only circulating among the developer community.
  2. The Indonesian game industry’s market share is still dominated by imported games. Please see the leaflet on the Game Prime event above. Maybe those who watched the last presidential election debate yesterday heard Pak Jokowi mention data related to the gaming industry which is more or less the same as the leaflet above. What has not been mentioned is that of the value of revenue which reaches USD 1 billion, only 1% is generated by local developers (some say 5% or 4%, maybe if the income of import game license holders is counted). One of the reasons for this profit value is the popularity of imported mobile games such as AOV, PUBG, and Mobile Legend with an in-app purchase system (buy cosmetics in game). With the production costs of game app purchases/in-game purchases which are certainly not cheap (though not in the AAA category, high quality games) and crazy marketing, it’s hard for local developers to compete. So why don’t they make games for consoles or PCs, then? because most of the Indonesian game market is mobile gamers
  3. There are many game studios and most of them already have “names”, but they are not really ready to make console-class AAA games. Last 2023, there were already 135 local game development teams and more than 15 game companies that already had names in Indonesia. Most are still on the island of Java but some are outside Java. Some have been in this industry for almost (or more) than a decade and survive with various business models. There is Studio Agate from Bandung, which launched the game Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story last year and is quite profitable. the game has been released for the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and computers for the US and European markets (because the market in Indonesia is more suitable for mobile games). There is Toge Productions whose Infectonator series has received international awards. There’s Digital Happiness, which just released Dreadout 2 and was successful in the market and was played by PewdiPie. There is Owngames with the Tahu Bulat game which was popular in Indonesia when round tofu was still warm (viral). And many more. But it is estimated that to make games of the same class, say Skyrim, Borderland, God of War, it is said that it will take another 5-10 years. The problem is not in the technical talent but in the management of the extraordinarily large team and the pipeline (production process flow) which will be very complicated. We don’t have the ability to handle that yet. Not to mention the matter of capital.

Seeing the support of the Indonesian government hopefully sincere through the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) for the local game industry both in terms of regulation, funding and promotion, as well as support from the community, we must be sure that in the next 5 or 10 years there will be local games that are in demand and well-known abroad. Maybe a few more years if the level of development is still the same.

The article is quoted from Budi Isnadi, who was previously written on quora.com

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