Malta has launched a new strategy called ‘Vision for Video Game Development and Esports’, which aims to transform Malta into a central hub in Europe for the video gaming sector. Intended to future-proof the economy by creating more diversified and robust economic growth, the twin goals for the sector are to contribute 1% of GDP and support between 2,200 to 3,000 employees within a decade.
The video games industry grew by 11% globally in 2018, reaching $135 billion, and is now worth more than the film and music industries combined. Malta currently has more than 15 companies employing around 200 people in Malta.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy Silvio Schembri said the video games sector had been key for the development of other technology, such as internet connectivity and screen resolution, and that Malta could further improve the underlying technology of gamers through innovation and blockchain technology.
“Our strategy is to make a big push with esports, then game development production and this will eventually attract publishing activity from the fourth year onwards,” Schembri said. “There will be incentives on personal income tax, video games with a cultural dimension can take up to €200,000 through a tax rebate, the leveraging of start-up funding through Malta Enterprise, financial seed and risk capital to invest in game production and others.”
Esports, which are sports and games played in computer-based competitions, now attract over 290 million viewers. Malta plans wants to build a strong local ecosystem for esports and attract international competitions. To this end, the government is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with ESL, the world’s oldest and largest esports company.
The government is to invest in education, including establishing a gaming incubator for video game development. Malta will also look for talent, with Gaming Malta and the European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM) organising new scholarship schemes, work-placements for Maltese students, international master classes in Malta to promote education in Malta and centres of excellence.
“Malta offers a business friendly jurisdiction that has proved time and again to be ahead of the curve,” said Ravi Viroomal, Head of Sovereign’s Business Unit in Malta. “Malta has legislation relating to remote gambling and virtual financial assets that has attracted many high tech companies to its shores. We are increasingly seeing more esports businesses interested in Malta due to its existing ecosystem of developers, platform providers and payments companies. When coupled with a vibrant lifestyle and low taxes, it makes Malta an ideal place for tech businesses to set up or relocate.”
For further information, please contact Ravi Viroomal at Sovereign Trust (Malta) Ltd., by telephone to +356 21 228 411 or by email.