French multinational video game developer Ubisoft is planning to set up shop in the country.

“They are actively exploring opportunities in the Philippines right now,” Andro Baluyut, board member of the Game Development Association of the Philippines, told InterAksyon.com.

Ubisoft, known for hits such as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Prince of Persia, and Just Dance, is the third largest video game publisher in the world after Blizzard Entertainment and Electronic Arts. It has 1.81 billion euros in market capitalization and has 29 studios in 19 countries including Singapore, China, and Canada among others.

Baluyut is hoping the deal will pan out as Ubisoft is “hoping to achieve something in the Philippines within the year.”

“We are capitalizing on advantages that a few countries have like affordable costs and at the same time we speak English and we are very Westernized,” Baluyut said.

Though there are no studios in the country of other multinational game developers, Baluyut is optimistic that others will follow suit should Ubisoft decide to enter the Philippines. In addition, a successful deal may also attract talents both local and regional.

“If the deal pushes through, all of the great developers may be drawn out of the woods,” Baluyut said.

At present, the local gaming industry remains small with about 60 studios employing about 3,500 employees, most of which help produce content for foreign companies. Sen. Bam Aquino, one of the industry’s active champion, sees the industry booming in the next few years due to the country’s availability of talent and affordable labor costs.

Andrea Levinge, chief technology officer of the firm White Widget, likewise said that the local gaming industry is ripe for take-off.

“This market is going to explode as we have a lot of skilled IT professionals and engineers,” Levinge said during a forum by the media group Cyberpress.

For Levinge, what is needed at the moment is a breakout hit that will put the country on the map of mobile gaming.

“We are on the cusp of growth. Someone just needs to strike first,” Levinge said.

(source: Interaksyon)