What Has the Government Done for Us? Introducing the Hong Kong Game Enhancement and Promotion Scheme 政府做過甚麼?「香港遊戲優化和推廣計劃」

Whenever we bring up the Hong Kong game industry, a lot of people will point fingers at the government for not supporting us. But the truth is that the government did actually offer some support, but it’s just been pitifully small and most people probably never caught wind of it.

Today, I’m going to introduce a plan that has been finalized, but the majority of you probably don’t know about it. The Hong Kong government put 8 million and 720 thousand Hong Kong dollars aside to sponsor the Hong Kong Game Enhancement and Promotion Scheme.

It’s a very simple program. After a simple briefing, a group of unnamed judges went through an unknown selection process to handpick 12 companies for unknown reasons. These companies were able to receive complete support on their games, including specialized mentoring, training courses, a marketing fund of 500 thousand Hong Kong dollars, as well as a chance to attend the Tokyo Game Show.

Information from Create HK

So which games got in on the scheme?

12 games were able to get in the scheme after the three rounds of judging and get that HKD$500,000 marketing fund. In order to minimize the length of this post, I’ll only list the games.

  1. Realm of Alters
  2. Genki Village (元氣動物村)
  3. Foodie Frog – World Tour (吃貨青蛙 — 環遊世界)
  4. Over Kill (極限對決EX) by VAR Live
  5. Magic Burn 9 Times (魔法燒九)
  6. Balance Breakers
  7. Journey to the Sweet Challenge (甜蜜西遊 大挑戰)
  8. Idle Space Farmer – Waifu Manager Simulator (太空農夫)
  9. Fall in Love — The Knight Brothers
  10. Apex Racer
  11. Dangerous Man (危險人渣)
  12. Iron Space

Why have we never heard of it before?

Indeed, this is a huge program that received a sponsor of over 8 million Hong Kong dollars, but it lacked any advertisement what-so-ever.

Here’s just my personal guess:

In 2017, Create HK supported Actplus in organizing the ACG+Capital exibition, it was a huge deal and was even introduced during Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong that year. However, a lot of scandals surrounding it also arose. While I’m calling it scandals, there were never any solid proof about anything, nor did we ever get any official response from the organizers.

Thus, I have no way of knowing whether it was the government, who funded the whole thing, or Actplus, the organizers of the event, that actually exposed all these scandals. But after this incident, the government laid very low for all their following programs, including this one. It is even stated on the program itself that the Hong Kong Government is only sponsoring the program, and not involved with the program in any other ways (this was something that was not stated for ACG+ Capital).

Although it seems like I’m criticizing things quite a bit, if you read on, you’ll understand that I actually admire the program a lot.

Is it just a way for people to pocket money?

That’s the very first question that I’m sure a lot of people have. While they say that the HKD$500,000 can only be used for advertising, and cannot be pocketed by the developers, are the teams able to use any way to get around that?

According to an insider, the scheme uses an anti-cheat mechanism to prevent this. Out of the HKD$500,000 marketing fund, the government is only providing HKD$400,000, the rest must be paid by the developers themselves. Also, the cost of the assets used in the production of the advertisement material must be less than HKD$100,000 as well. Furthermore, the advertisement channels are limited as well. They must pay Facebook Ad or Google AdSense directly, they are not allowed to go through any marketing agencies of sorts.

For those of you who don’t understand what that means, let me explain: it isn’t possible for them to just pocket the money.

Are they really so honest?

The other point of suspicion is how there was basically 0 advertisement before the program, but plenty of public announcements for the actual results. It was even announced on StartupBeat and the Hong Kong Economic Times.

So, is it possible that the whole selection process was just a rouse, and the winners were already predetermined?

Allow me to explain.

The first thing I need to make clear is that this scheme was only announced in three places:

1. A game developer Whatsapp group with around a hundred members created by the Hong Kong Game Developer Alliance (Since it is a Whatsapp group, people can’t join the group themselves, they must be invited in by the Hong Kong Game Developer Alliance)

2. The Hong Kong Digital Entertainment Association Facebook page (with around 1500 likes)

3. The Open Source MultiMedia Facebook Page (27 likes)

While searching for past information, make sure you make the search based on the search engine’s time, since a lot of platforms like Facebook allows you to back date posts, essentially falsifying evidence.

Since all the information was announced through public channels, the ones who received the information could have spread the news to more people. However, it is likely due to Hong Kong culture lacking a “sharing” habit that news of the scheme basically disappeared.

Thus, I do believe that the project wasn’t just a way to benefit certain predetermined people, it was our fault that caused it to end up that way.

Only 4 shares…

As someone who was in the know, was I at fault?

Definitely. I found out about the scheme because the company I was working for at the time took part in it, in other words, I didn’t find out about it from public announcements either.

And that’s the core of the issue. Since the quota was limited, if I was to spread the news about this, I would have been causing damages to the company using its own resources. That’s why I chose to be professional and remain silent.

But, the game industry is not just about me, or just about you. It’s about all of us. That’s why, I want to sincerely request everyone that if you have any inside news about the industry, please try your best and share it. This is extremely true for those involved with the media, don’t only post mainstream information for traffic, even if you just spend 1% of your time to publish information on the industry, it already makes a huge difference.

Conclusion

Since the scheme was not advertised, a lot of more capable game development teams with better projects didn’t even know about its existence. That’s why it became an all-you-can-eat buffer for the minority.

As for whether the scheme was actually effective or not, we’ll have to wait until the industry conference in April. The exact details of the conference is still unknown right now, but if I have any information (even if it is not publicly announced), I’ll definitely share it with all of you as soon as I can.

P.S.

On the same day that I finished this post. Yes, the very same day! I saw this:

The second Hong Kong Game Enhancement and Promotion Scheme is coming! It’s time to prove your love for the industry!

Also, make sure you tell everyone about it!

Facebook Groups

香港遊戲開發聯盟 Hong Kong Game Developer Alliance has 355 members. 我們有一個只開放遊戲有關的公司或團隊加入的Whatsapp群組,如果你是其中一份子,請聯繫Philip Lau…

Let me set an example!

__________________________________________________

說到香港遊戲業,很多人都會怪責政府沒有支援。其實政府也不至於沒有支援,只是少得可憐,而且多數時候大眾不會收到相關資訊。

今天要介紹一個已經走到最終階段的計劃。也許 9 成的讀者都毫不知情,香港政府去年 3 月撥出 872 萬港元資助「香港遊戲優化和推廣計劃」。

計劃內容很簡單,辦一場簡介會,然後不公開評審名單,不公開評審流程,經過三輪選拔,12 間不知為何入選的遊戲公司,將獲得全面支援,包括導師指導、培訓課程、50 萬宣傳資金和東京遊戲展的出展機會

資料自 Create HK

哪些遊戲入圍

經過三輪評審後,共 12 款遊戲入圍獲取 50 萬港元宣傳資金。篇幅所限,本文只列出遊戲名稱。

  1. Realm of Alters
  2. 元氣動物村
  3. 吃貨青蛙 — 環遊世界
  4. 極限對決EX (VAR LIVE)
  5. 魔法燒九
  6. Balance Breakers
  7. 甜蜜西遊 大挑戰
  8. 太空農夫
  9. Fall in Love — The Knight Brothers
  10. Apex Racer
  11. 危險人渣
  12. Iron Space

為何大家都沒聽過?

沒聽錯,這是撥款額達 8 百萬港元的大型項目,卻幾乎沒有宣傳。

個人推測如下:

早於 2017 年,Create HK 支助過樂言社舉辦計劃「動漫玩創之都ACG Capital」,規模很大,甚至在當年動漫節辦過簡介會,最終卻鬧出了不少醜聞。雖然叫醜聞,但有證有據無可否證,卻沒有相關人員回應或問責。

因此,我沒法得知這些黑材料是由金主政府還是主辦樂言社搞出來的。但明顯這前車不得不鑑,政府往後的計劃都相當低調,包括這一次。甚至在計劃下方都加上免責聲明:香港特別行政區政府僅為本項目提供資助,除此之外並無參與項目。(「動漫玩創之都ACG Capital」則無此聲明)

醜話說完了。雖然前面說得有點槽,大家讀下去就會發現,其實我是欣賞這項計劃的。

會否左手交右手?

第一個疑點,雖說50萬資金只能用於宣傳,不能「自己袋」,但是團隊會否用奇怪方法左手交右手呢?

據內部人士透露,計劃有一個防作弊機制,宣傳經費的 50 萬中只有 40 萬是政府提供,餘下 10 萬必須自己支付。並且,用於製作宣傳素材的資金,不得多於 10 萬元。至於宣傳渠道,要直接付給 Facebook Ad 和 Google AdSense 而不能經過廣告公司或其他中介。

我不想多解釋金流方面的運作,所以直接講結論:絕對不會出現「左手交右手」的情況。

真的如此清廉?

另一個疑點,事前宣傳近乎零,而事後的結果公佈卻有不少公開宣傳,包括 香港經濟日報 和 StartupBeat。這就不禁令人懷疑起來。

到底是否存在假入圍,實內定之嫌呢?

這裡請容我花點時間解釋。

首先我具體列出,該計劃只於三處地方發佈過消息:

  1. 一個由 Deva 發起的開發人員 whatsapp 群組,成員約百。(由於是 whatsapp 群組,成員不能主動申請加入,只有由 Deva 那邊邀約。)
  2. 香港數碼娛樂協會 Facebook Page (約 1500 like)
  3. Open Source MultiMedia Facebook Page (27 like)

找資料時要以搜尋引擎的時間為標準,因為很多平台包括 Facebook,內容發佈時間可以設定為過去,因此並不可信。

既然消息是在公開渠道發佈的,得到消息的人是可以把消息再分發出去,讓更多人知道。不過,也許香港文化實在缺乏「互相分享」的習慣,讓計劃就像消失了一樣。

因此,最終我傾向相信項目並沒有利益輸送,只是大眾一起造就了它

分享數只有 4……

作為知情人士,我到底有沒有責任呢?

絕對有。我當初得知這計劃,是因為所屬公司有份參與(所以說我也不是從公開渠道得知的),並非從公開渠道得知消息。

問題來了,因為入圍名額是有限的,如果我公佈出去,是利用公司情報損害公司利益,因此我基於職業操守是沒法說出去的。

不過,遊戲產業不是我一個人的事,也不是你一個人的事,是我們所有人的事。因此,我在此懇切呼籲各位,如果有任何業內消息,希望各位盡自己綿力,分享出去。尤其是遊戲傳媒人,不要只為流量和生存而只講主流玩家關注的內容,即使只花 1% 時間來發佈產業資訊,已經是零的突破,能為整個產業帶來很大的改變。

結論

由於項目沒有宣傳,很多能力更強作品更優質的團隊,甚至都不知道這個計劃存在。就結果而言,它變成了少數人的大餐。

計劃最終有沒有成效,要留待四月的業界分享會。分享會詳情(時間、地點)還未知道,若我有資料(即使它選擇不公佈),我必定第一時間告訴大家。

後記

在我寫完這篇文章的同一天。對,是同一天!我收到這個訊息

第二屆「香港遊戲優化和推廣計劃」要來了!快實踐你對產業的熱情吧!

說句地道一點的話:「同我推爆佢!」

Facebook Groups

香港遊戲開發聯盟 Hong Kong Game Developer Alliance has 355 members. 我們有一個只開放遊戲有關的公司或團隊加入的Whatsapp群組,如果你是其中一份子,請聯繫Philip Lau…

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