The GamingMalta Foundation, a foundation set up by the Maltese Government and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) to promote the local and digital remote gaming sector by focusing on three main gaming verticals – iGaming, Video Gaming and Esports – is continuing to serve these sectors and spearheading a host of initiatives on this front.
The foundation’s remit today goes beyond its promotional efforts. It is also a bridge between the gaming industry and Government, as reflected during the tough, unprecedented times brought about by COVID-19. Promoting the island’s gaming ecosystem remains a priority; it has also accelerated its efforts to serve as an outreach for the sector, identifying immediate needs and support.
GamingMalta has assisted in everything the industry required during these turbulent times, from repatriation flights for its personnel to the setting up of a dedicated COVID-19 helpline. It was also on the frontlines when it came to the donation of 12,500 high-quality surgical masks by the gaming industry to local medical personnel.
And earlier this summer, GamingMalta launched a COVID-19 vaccination initiative for industry personnel. This ongoing initiative was part of the overall goal of reaching herd immunity. Yet this did not deviate the foundation from its routine efforts, such as industry growth and nurturing.
Here, the foundation places two central notions at the top of its agenda: education and talent. GamingMalta identified at an early stage that education needs to be underpinned in all its efforts. To this end, it collaborates with institutions such as the European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM) on its dedicated iGaming courses at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) and similarly with the University of Malta’s Institute of Digital Games (ranked in the Princeton Review Global Top 25 list to study Digital Games).
Education is also essential to future-proofing the local talent pool to meet the industry’s talent wants and needs. With over 700 iGaming jobs up for grabs on the Why iGaming jobs portal, a project supported by the foundation, and the skills gap issue reported by the MGA, the need for talent is a reality and needs to be addressed accordingly.
Though iGaming remains Malta’s largest gaming vertical, amounting to circa 13 per cent of local GDP, the Maltese Government has also set out an agenda for two other verticals: video gaming and Esports. The vision, whilst ambitious, is clear: to have these industries reach one per cent of local GDP by the year 2030, creating 2,500 jobs in the process.
GamingMalta embraced this vision and set out on various initiatives, such as the partnership with ESL, the world’s largest Esports organisation. This partnership meant GamingMalta was the host partner of the three major CS:GO Pro League Tournaments (held online due to the COVID-19 travelling restrictions) with record viewership.
Spearheaded by Minister Silvio Schembri, the Ministry for the Economy and Industry works closely with GamingMalta in all its efforts. In Mr Schembri’s own words, “GamingMalta sustains our efforts in promoting and nurturing the local gaming industry. Recent times have proved tough, but I commend the industry’s determination and resilience, and I firmly believe that we have been the shoulder the industry needed, promptly assisting and delivering.”
“In view of the success in the vaccination programme, thanks to the excellent work carried out by local health authorities resulting in Malta being the first EU member state to reach herd immunity, now we can come together yet again to maintain the industry’s growth and momentum,” the Minister says, adding “a growth which is brought about through the Government’s own endorsement in supporting this industry as well as strengthening existing talent and skills. For us, stating that Malta is the home of gaming excellence is not a mere slogan, but a firm affirmation and clear end-goal in all our efforts.”
Ivan Filletti, Chief Operations Officer at GamingMalta, also affirms the close collaboration between the two entities and the gaming industry at large. “If the COVID-19 pandemic has proved anything, it’s definitely the dynamic nature of the gaming industry. Not only were relatively new concepts such as remote working initiatives quickly adapted, but the industry is already in motion to enter the post-COVID-19 era in full swing. Our strategic efforts, thanks also to the close collaboration of Government and notably the Ministry for the Economy and Industry and the gaming industry at large, have paid off. We will remain the industry’s main contact point, and we are keen to see our upcoming projects come to fruition in the second part of 2021.”
This feature was first carried in the summer edition of iGaming Capital magazine, the sister brand of iGamingCapital.mt
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