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Vietnam has only gamers not a true games industry

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The turnover of the computer games sector in Vietnam is on the rise but it mainly comes from the distribution of imported games.

Experts attending a seminar on the Vietnamese computer game industry held by the Vietnam Software Association (Vinasa) on November 26 said that despite hindrances, local computer games still have big potential for development.

According to Vinasa’s survey, Vietnam has around 12 million gamers, including students and office employees.

Around 70 percent like playing online games. Some 55 percent of play games from 2-4 hours a day. Around 60 percent spend 70,000 to 160,000 dong per month on computer games and 40 percent pay between160,000 to 300,000 dong per month.

Vietnam is the biggest market for computer games in Southeast Asia, with nearly 20 game distributors. Their revenue in 2008 was $130 million, accounting for 70 percent of the country’s content service industry.

Most online games in Vietnam are imported from China and South Korea. With only one local game compared to 40 imported games, it is clear that local companies don’t want to develop online games, but only distribute imported games to avoid risks.

Experts say Vietnam only has a market for games, but has no true games industry. Game distributors have to share revenues with foreign game developers.

Of 40 games launched in 2008 and 2009, only a few are successful. Moreover, whenever technical errors occur, Vietnamese distributors have to ask for foreign experts’ assistance.

Meanwhile, the authorities have strict policies to control online games to prevent harmful aspects of online games, such as money wasting and addiction.

Truong Hoai Trang, vice chairman of Vinasa, said that legislation controlling online games in Vietnam, which was issued in 2006, is now out of date and needs to be amended.

Trang suggests amends to create favorable conditions for computer game companies, and encourage the addition of Vietnamese culture into games as well as developing specifically Vietnamese games.

Nguyen Trung Hung from the International Game Development Association in Vietnam, says trends for downloaded games for mobile phones suits smaller game developers.

In the meantime, Vietnamese firms are processing games for European, American and Korean partners. Nguyen Nam, technical director of the Glass Egg, said his company participated in game projects for Microsoft, EA, Sega and Disney. The company had to refuse some projects due to shortage of human resources.

The number of game developing and processing companies in Vietnam is small but they always lack qualified personnel.

However, experts believe this situation will be solved when IT training schools are developed in Vietnam and foreign investors show more interest.

Source: VietNamNet
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