Electronic sports and video game development would contribute about €120 million to the country’s economic value added in a decade’s time, the government said yesterday.

Launching a new vision for video game development and e-sports, Digital Services Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri said that, within 10 years, the government wanted to see about 3,000 full-time jobs directly linked to gaming.

A policy document on the subject, drafted by the newly-set up Gaming Malta, details plans for financial incentives to attract e-sports and gaming companies to set up shop on the island. 

These would take the form of tax rebates, start-up funding as well as seed and risk capital for game production.

The authorities will provide scholarships and work placements for students interested in the sector and the education department will be providing new computer labs. 

Master classes and an incubator will be set up for those already in the sector

Master classes and an ‘incubator’ will be set up for those already in the sector. 

Dr Schembri said the video games market was today worth more than films and music combined and grew by about 11 per cent to a value of €120 billion last year.

The government saw a convergence of sectors and wanted Malta to be a part of this new economic niche. Today, about 15 gaming and e-sports-related companies were operating from Malta, employing about 22 people. The plan was for this to grow significantly over the next few years.

A memorandum of understanding was signed with the world’s largest gaming company ESL, which, according to Japp Visser, wanted Malta to be a big part of its global network.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he was excited to see this sector grow. 

On a personal note he recounted “conning” his father to buy him his first computer – a Commodore 64. 

Fast forward to today and he was begging his daughters to let him have a round on their games console with them.

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