The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is the organizer of LEVEL UP KL, Malaysia’s biggest game festival. With a mandate to spearhead Malaysia’s digital economy, the event is meant to be a platform of leverage for gamers, the public, game developers, corporate and esports, taking the biggest entertainment market towards key economic growth. Vice President of Digital Creative Content and Technologies for MDEC, Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, took a few moments to sit down with us.
It’s already been five years since the first LEVEL UP KL. Hasnul mentions about game developers wanting people to try out their games, and thus find a way to “extend” LEVEL UP KL as an industry. In comes LEVEL UP PLAY, what Hasnul calls the “public” part of the event, to celebrate the games.
Hasnul has been with MDEC since 1996, but LEVEL UP KL itself is relatively recent. He had left, but rejoined in 2014 with the mandate of growing the games industry. MDEC had focused on animation for a while – local successes include Upin & Ipin and Boboiboy – before turning to games. There were local games, Hasnul says, but earlier on, there was “no market” for them.
With LEVEL UP KL, he believes that people can now see that, within the region, the Malaysian games industry is getting strong support from the government. For MDEC’s part, they’re reaching out to local secondary schools to teach them game development, then showcase the best creations. Universities also have LEVEL UP Apprenticeships for final year students to give them an idea on the game dev process.
The B2C area of LEVEL UP KL 2019 will be touching on the public playing games, influencers and esports, explains Hasnul, as part of LEVEL UP PLAY. It’s an event first, and he hopes it’ll be the best one yet.