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jun 29, 2017

Brazil brings in global gaming industry

Until very recently, Brazil was not on the map for the global gaming industry. “That changed in 2013, after the Brazilian Association of Digital Game Developers (Abragames) started a partnership with Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil),” says Eliana Russi, executive director at Abragames.

Abragames and Apex-Brasil launched a continuous investment project to promote Brazilian-designed games abroad. “At first, we had 17 associated companies, which represented $2.4 million in revenue,” explains Russi. “In three years, the number of companies rose to 62, and the revenue is now at $17.4 million.”

That represents a 600% growth increase during an otherwise challenging period for Brazil’s economy. “We have a high-quality industry. What used to set us back was the fact that the world didn’t know how much potential Brazilian game developers have,” Russi says.

That is certainly no longer the case. Since 2012, Brazil has hosted the BIG Festival, which is now Latin America’s biggest event for independent gamers. The event is a meeting place for developers, big international companies, and investors looking for the next great innovation. 

This year, 768 companies from 54 countries applied to take part in the 2017 BIG Festival. But the festival is not only about fun. A total of 210 speakers from Brazil and abroad will talk to young developers and help them grow their business in the best and fastest ways possible. 

Also, over 450 investors came to São Paulo to find a project worth investing in. Organizers estimate more than 7 million BRL in contracts over this year’s events. “Brazil has the potential to become a ‘super’ game developer overnight – like Sweden, for instance,” said Mario Valle Reyes, a partner at an international venture capital fund that invests in the gaming industry.

For future developers, the event is also a place to join roundtables and lectures about the challenges and pitfalls of the industry, helping the hopeful ones to understand how to produce a game from A to Z.

One of this year’s novelties is a section dedicated to games focused on social issues and politics. The goal is push the boundaries of how games can affect society. According to Russi, the gaming industry already heavily impacts other economic sectors including “health, mobility, and education. “The possibilities are limitless,” she explains.

Brazil is already one of the top 12 markets for games. In 2016, the market brought in $4.1 billion for Brazil, accounting for one-fourth of total Latin American revenues. Projections have the Brazilian market growing quickly until 2019, at an average of 13% per year.