Japanese publisher and developer Koei has announced it is opening a development subsidiary in Vietnam, Andria Sang reports. Koei Tecmo Vietnam is scheduled to open in September with around 30 employees to start, and the staff is expected to grow to around 100 over the next three years.
Koei recently merged with Tecmo to form Tecmo Koei Holdings, however the Vietnam branch, in which Koei will be investing ¥50 million (around $520,000), is strictly a subsidiary of Koei. The region’s relatively low labor costs stands as one of the deciding factors behind the studio’s creation, which makes sense given ever-increasing development costs. It’s a strategy employed in practically every business and industry in the world, and yet, there haven’t been too many game publishers that have pursued it recently.
Last year, Ubisoft opened a studio in Singapore, citing the country’s “excellent technological infrastructure, thriving local game development industry and quality of its universities and training institutions” as the chief reasons for deciding to open a studio there. Yet, I can’t help but think that the whole cheap labor aspect played a somewhat influential role as well. Casual games maker PopCap also opened a studio in Asia last year, becoming the “first Western casual games developer to have a full-fledged operation in the region.” But besides these two, and possibly a few others, there hasn’t been a mad rush on behalf of the game industry to set up shop in that part of the world, which obviously begs the question, "Why?"
Could game publishers actually be less money crazed than companies in other industries? What could be some of the other factors at work here?
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