Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – The government fully supports the development and monetization of video games by local players to tap into the rapidly growing market in the region, the information technology minister said on Thursday.
Indonesian-made video games take just a tiny 0.4 percent share of the domestic markets despite the country having the most gamers in Southeast Asia, Johnny G Plate said in Jakarta.
"It is a great pity because Indonesia is home to 43 percent of 274.5 million gamers in Southeast Asia, equivalent to 118 million gamers," the minister told a webinar in Jakarta hosted by Beritasatu Media Holdings, digital payment platform Xendit, and management consulting firm Andrew Tani & Co.
"We encourage local game developers to undertake commercial expansion more aggressively."
Johnny said the video game industry could potentially generate $2 billion in revenue in Indonesia alone, providing business opportunities local developers shouldn't miss.
"We at the Information and Communication Ministry have launched a mentoring program called Indonesia Game Developer Exchange that facilitates business matching and promotion for game developers so that they can adapt themselves to the business ecosystem," he said.
"The Indonesian video game market is being heavily controlled by foreign developers and we must ensure a level playing field by issuing applicable policies and boost the competitiveness of local developers."
The minister admitted that he had received messages from parents who called for a ban on online video games over concern of negative impacts on children such as poor social skills and lower school grades.
"I think we need to rectify this logic. Let's draw an analogy with soccer. If children are so addicted to soccer that they forget to study, we cannot close down the pitch. Instead, we must educate and regulate them more to better manage their time," he argued.
Indonesia has among the world's biggest digital demographics with 202.6 million internet users and $44 billion of digital economy valuation according to an estimate, the minister said.
"The valuation of the Indonesian digital economy is projected to grow significantly to $124 billion or Rp 1,767 trillion by 2025," Johnny said.
"That makes Indonesia the biggest digital economy in Southeast Asia."
The topic will be discussed in the digital economy working group of G20 countries next year when Indonesia will assume the presidency of the group, he added.
Indonesia's fast-growing digital economy is particularly evident in the increasing number of startups with unicorn status, such as Gojek, Bukalapak, Tokopedia, Traveloka, OVO, J&T Express, Online Pajak, and Xendit, he said.