Information and communications technology (ICT) stakeholders in Bacolod aims to position the city as a hub for the game development industry in the Philippines.
In 2013, the Bacolod – Negros Occidental Federation for ICT (BNEFIT) officially launched the advocacy to step up in three areas, namely healthcare information management (HIM), software development and creative processes, specifically in animation and game development.
In 2016, BNEFIT supported the Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP), the Department of Information and Communications Technology and GDAP partners in Negros Island in the conduct of the 1st Negros Island Game Festival.
From then, a series of initiatives undertaken by BNEFIT or other groups separately has spawned in support of the Bacolod’s potential as a game development hub.
At present, as startup company, Adage Studio Design and Games Enterprise (Adage), Inc. registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Holysoft Studios registered with the SEC and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) are taking the lead for BNEFIT’s programs in the creative industry.
The presence of creative startups like SWAPRose, Aardvark, and Simplex GameLabs and 2D and 3D Animation schools like the Negros Occidental IT and Language Center (NOLITC) and NXT Academy are a big plus to the growing support of national government agencies. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its Export Management Bureau has regularly invited game development studios in Bacolod for international exposures while the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has provided equipment to creative startups through BNEFIT.
In the formal education side, Bacolod has several K to 12 senior high schools offering specialized tracts related to the creative industry. One is the Romanito Maravilla National High School, a public school in the city which offers its senior and junior high school students illustration and animation.
In June of this year, La Consolacion College – Bacolod will start to offer Bachelor of Science in Entertainment and Multimedia Computing with Major in Game Development and University of St. La Salle – Bacolod will offer Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with Specialization in Game Development.
The over-all goal of BNEFIT is to create 60,000 ICT-enabled jobs in 2022 and around a thousand of it from the creative sector, especially, game development.
BNEFIT Executive Director Jocelle Batapa-Sigue said the strategy is to enhance the artistic abilities of students especially with use of digital equipment and platforms, as well as their coding skills since game development require both art and software development skills, BNEFIT Executive Director Jocelle Batapa-Sigue said.