Malta set to become “Europe’s Central Hub for esports” – Prime Minister

Credit: Kevin Abela

New incentives to develop Malta’s video game development and esports were launched today by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who said that Malta is set to become “a central hub in the Mediterranean and Europe for video game development and esports”.

The Prime Minister explained that Malta’s vision for the video games development and esports sector includes several strategic initiatives. These are set to include such things as a European model for tax rebates, Direct Grant Schemes for Innovation, a fund for the development of video games, and investments in new facilities required for game-development related courses. It also includes a bursary programme to attract local and foreign graduate students to further their studies with local institutions whilst working in the industry. The PM also said that there would be an incubator space for games development start-ups.

3,000 new jobs

These incentives are set to help companies already residing in Malta to further expand their operations and attract new game studios from abroad. The industry currently employs around 200 employees. “Malta’s vision for video games development is aimed at creating up to 3,000 new jobs”, explained Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri. Schembri emphasised that one of the main pillars in the strategy is education.

He also highlighted that esports is also central to Malta’ vision on developing its digital economy, where efforts are underway to help attract international esports tournaments to Malta. To this end, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Electronic Sports League (ESL) and the Government of Malta through the GamingMalta Foundation. The MoU will serve as the mechanism for both parties to develop a multi-year programme to help the development of the local grassroot esports ecosystem, the organisation of local and international events, as well as the sharing of expertise in the sector.