Singapore entered the serious business of gaming with the announcement last week that it will be hosting the first Asian edition of gamescom next year. This is significant because gamescom, held in Germany annually for the past decade, attracted 370,000 visitors and 1,037 exhibitors from 56 countries for its last edition in Cologne. The numbers are proof that gaming is no longer the private preserve of digital geeks but has enormous real-world economic impact. Hosting gamescom.asia will bring in visitors for the Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) market. It will also help power up Singapore-based digital producers as the industry conference will offer them opportunities to learn from market leaders and network with other professionals. The games market is projected by analyst Newzoo to grow to US$174 billion (S$240 billion) by 2021, and is a relatively untapped market for Singapore.
It is not just hardcore gamers with their purpose-built computer rigs that form the market for games. The Pokemon Go Safari event at Sentosa in April drew over 95,000 visitors. The turnout likely boosted food and beverage and tourist receipts during the five-day event. In Japan, where such events are more common, regional governments have reported economic boosts as players descend for the duration and stay to spend money on food and local attractions.