UM opens new premises of Malta’s Institute of Digital Games

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Digital game development is a new niche market that Malta has to explore to see how the country’s economy can be enhanced by embracing this vertical, Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri said today during the inauguration of the new premises of the University of Malta’s (UM) Institute of Digital Games.

Mr Schembri praised Malta’s digital transformation, which he said is supported by the expansion of the institute. Digital gaming is an area that has to be explored further, to see how the vertical can support the island nation’s economy, he said, adding that the government is aiming to position Malta as a major hub for this sector.

The parliamentary secretary also said that the government is looking at video game development holistically, and the expansion of the institute is the next appropriate step toward further supporting the sector. He also ensured the university of the government’s “full support” for its efforts, and praised the UM for its “futuristic mindset”.

Mr Schembri also mentioned the potential that eSports can deliver to the country. Global eSports revenues are expected to break the glass ceiling of US$1.1b in 2019, increasing by a year-on-year 27%, chiefly fuelled by revenues from advertising, sponsorship and media rights to competitive video gaming, according to a report by Reuters.

Educational programmes are now following a multidisciplinary route, making it possible for game developers and scientists to come together with professionals from other areas such as humanities and work on developing games together, Professor Georgios Yannakis, Director of Institute of Digital Games said during the opening of the new premises.

Games are more than just profit and entertainment, they have pushed other technological innovations — such as better hardware solutions and faster internet connectivity –, which is why the university puts special emphasis on the institute, said Professor Alfred Vella, Rector of the University of Malta. The university aims to create future programmes, which will fit better to the needs of now and the future, Mr Vella added.

“We have a thirst for talent and want to work closely with the sector in order to enhance the digital gaming ecosystem and also attract peak talent to Malta. The scale of opportunities is enormous,” the rector added.

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