Juego de Talento Aims to Invigorate Mexican Game Industry [09.24.08]
- Marie Ferrer
As the number of game consumers in Mexico increases each year, there is also a notable increase in sales of all major consoles in the country and continued growth in the Mexican video game industry at large. Piracy is still a major concern for the consumer industry, but little by little the problem has been improving.
When it comes to game development, on the other hand, the skies aren't quite as sunny.
The presence and growth of game development in the country has had comparatively little uptick. And while Immersion Games opened a studio in Guadalajara last month, and the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) supports a chapter in Mexico City, overall the development industry is lacking. The development sector in Mexico has the potential for growth in the next few years, but it's still in its infancy and will require some nurturing to sustain it.
Gabriel Grinberg sees an opportunity to promote more game development in Mexico and seek out game developer talent that may be lurking beneath the consumer industry surface. Grinberg is the director of FONE (the New Economy Forum), which has recently launched a new initiative called Juego de Talento, or Game of Talent.
The organization's main project at the moment is a contest, which began in March, that allows students, amateur game developers, and game enthusiasts to submit storyboard-stage ideas for video game projects.
In the first round of the contest, about 100 submissions, were received which have since been narrowed down by a jury to 24 finalists. These 24 submissions will now compete for project funding. The winning project will have the chance to be developed.
Techa is one game company that looks forward to seeing what projects will come from Juego de Talento and what it might be able to integrate from the submissions.
The longer-term goals of Juego de Talento is to provide more opportunities to Mexicans to become involved in the growing video game development sector in their home country. The organizers are hoping that aspiring game developers will be inspired and encouraged by the contest and will begin opening new studios in Mexico, either with original projects or to supply outsourced work. The contest will officially close November 7.
Another way that Juego de Talento is acting as an industry advocate is by examining the state of game development education in Mexico. At a conference held in June, Mexican game companies and the IGDA offered to help universities and training centers evaluate their programs. They conveyed the need to increase the level of education in game development and production in order to provide students with the tools to develop the needed skills to work in the video game industry.
Professional game developers in Mexico are likely to benefit from Juego de Talento as well. Immersion Games, for instance, with its new studio in Guadalajara, will serve as the main point of contact for clients and publishers in Mexico. And due to the increase in projects, it will also provide support to the company's studio in Colombia.
More information about Juego de Talento can be found on the organization's web site (in Spanish).
Marie Ferrer is a freelance writer and software developer from Vancouver, currently working in the animation industry.
Jill Duffy contributed to this story.