The Indonesian Creative Economy Agency, or BEKRAF, will be holding its annual Game Prime event in Jakarta July 13–14. Fifty independent video game developers and 14 board game makers will be exhibiting their products, while fringe events such as game competitions and cosplay will add to the festivities.
Toge Productions, a development and publishing studio famous for the Infectonator series, will be exhibiting as a board game creator. The company released Circus Politicus, a parody card game based on world politics, last March. Other noteworthy game studios include Critical Forge, whose first roleplaying game Forged by Blood is slated for an August release, and SEMISOFT, whose game Legrand Legacy has been exhibited at international events such as E3 and Gamescom.
The event was originally known as the Game Developer Gathering and was first held in 2009. BEKRAF became the primary sponsor in 2016. In recent years, BEKRAF has supported other similar events, including BEKRAF Developer Day and Archipelageek.
According to Cipto Adiguno, Deputy of Network Access and Funding at the Indonesia Game Association (AGI), the games market in Indonesia was valued at US$800m in 2017.
“Less than 1% of that figure goes to games developed by local developers," Cipto said in the Game Prime official blog. "If we combine it with revenue from developers who [provide services to] overseas clients and publishers who publish overseas games in Indonesia, the share is only around 5%,”
Video games have always been popular in Indonesia, but business was initially hampered by low ownership of consoles and PCs, as well as by the prevalence of piracy. There were also few serious game developers in Indonesia at the time.
In the 2000’s, online gaming provided an opportunity to make money. Publishers such as Lytogame and Megaxus brought in foreign games like Ragnarok Online, Audition, and RF Online, where users could pay real money to buy in-game items. The model continues to be popular today, especially with mobile games such as Mobile Legends and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).
Rise of the indies
Today, thanks to mobile app stores and platforms such as Steam or Itch.io, game developers can easily sell their games to a global audience. Indonesian game companies such as Toge Production, Agate and Touchten have taken advantage of the popularity of indie games and casual mobile games to market their products to local and foreign players alike.
Some companies have also adopted new business models and strategies beyond game development for end-users. Agate, for example, have been building gamified company training programs as well as branded VR experiences. Meanwhile, Plexus and its sister company Oray provide third-party development support, ranging from illustration and in-game models to developing web-based games and apps.
Recognizing that Indonesian developers can collaborate with foreign companies and market their games to a wider audience, AGI and BEKRAF are sending 10 Indonesian companies to Gamescom in Cologne, Germany this August. These companies can enjoy Gamescom’s matchmaking system, allowing them to arrange meetings with potential partners and investors ahead of the event.