Humans at Play: Skills, Tech & Demand in the Booming Creative & Gaming Industries

Deep Dive in Bulgarian Gaming Industry: First comprehensive study presented during webinar within the framework of the SPECTRA Project

On July 2, 2024, BIC Innobridge organized a webinar on the topic ” Humans at Play: Skills, Tech & Demand in the Booming Creative & Gaming Industries”. This event, part of the series of Deep dive sessions on various topics under the SPECTRA project, attracted a wide range of stakeholders, including investors, startups, and professionals from the creative industries in Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, and others, who participated in discussions and presentations.

A key highlight of the webinar was the presentation of the first comprehensive study of the Bulgarian gaming industry, conducted by Interkultura Consult. This study, covering over 1,200 participants, is the first of its kind in Bulgaria and examines the gaming industry ecosystem from both the professional and consumer perspectives and their preferences. Additionally, it includes the perspective of creatives, which contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of this sector.

The Interkultura Consult study, conducted in 2023 in the frame of project called Humans at Play: Creators and Users, reveals important data on the state and trends in the industry. The key points from it, presented during the webinar, include:
Scope and Research Methods: The different methods of data collection and selection were presented, including surveys, interviews, and focus groups. These methods provide a sufficiently detailed picture of the current situation and needs of the gaming industry in Bulgaria. They surveyed over 1,200 participants, who represent a wide range of professionals and users in the sector, which contributes to a reliable analysis of key trends and challenges.

Gaming Industry – Key Skills and Attitudes: The study identified the key skills needed for success in the gaming industry, as well as the attitudes and motivation of professionals. This type of creativity seeks a combination of technical and creative skills. Key competencies include programming, game design, sound design, and screenwriting. The attitudes of professionals in the industry are oriented towards innovation and continuous development, with many of them striving to improve their skills through various courses and webinars. The data shows that there is a significant need for specialized training and skill development in the field of gaming. It is recommended to create and implement more training programs and certifications to meet these needs.

An interesting fact presented in the study was that even with a clear interest in professional development in the video game industry, a serious problem is the lack of visibility of the presence of studios and companies in the country. Or in other words, the Bulgarian audience is not aware of the existence of game development companies that create and develop in Bulgaria. It also turns out that although they recognize the skills associated with the video game industry and show an interest in working in this field, a high percentage of respondents from the general public do not practice anything that develops their skills in any of the professional directions in it.

Several strategic conclusions from the study were also presented, such as the need to create a gaming association in Bulgaria to support and develop the industry. In addition, there was an emphasis on the need for targeted policies to support the gaming sector as strategically important for the development of the country and strengthening our positions on the international gaming scene. The presentation of the study was led by Dr. Petya Koleva, founder of Interkultura Consult and a specialist in innovation in the field of arts, culture and creative industries. Also, Milena Berbenkova, a specialist in audience analysis and development, supplemented the data with details about the motivation and demotivation of professionals in the gaming industry.

The webinar not only provided a platform for dialogue and discussion on the future of the gaming sector in Bulgaria, but also highlighted its importance for the country’s economic landscape. This is a dynamically developing sector that generates a significant contribution to GDP and creates numerous jobs. In this context, it is of essential importance for both the state and the private sector to make targeted efforts to support and stimulate it. Investments in education, infrastructure and the development of stimulating policies are key factors in realizing the full potential of the gaming industry in Bulgaria.