Romulo Reyes – Business Opportunities in the Gaming Industry
In this episode, Derek is joined by Romulo Reyes. He is the General Manager of Elite Global Sourcing which specializes in game developer outsourcing. Join us as Derek discusses Romulo’s background, the gaming industry and the potential for the Philippines.
- Romulo is the Managing Director of Global Sourcing. He handles the business side of things – Operations, B2B, B2C and then he got started with Elite Global sourcing.
- Way back his career, he joined E-games, Convergys, and Optive Technology.
- His educational background is actually Journalism, in development communication. And he couldn’t have imagined working in the service and gaming industry.
- Elite Global Sourcing handles developers creating games.And the publishers publish and sell the games.
- According to Romulo, 10 years ago, the industry was mostly about RPG’s, online games using your PC consoles. However, since the last five years, mobile games have become really strong and the platform nearly overtook online PC games.
- He shares that there are so many genres out there. To put it simply, it is just like food, there’s Asian, French, Continental and Filipino food. People would either like to taste some of it, all of it or none of it. And this taste is also the same with games.
- Romulo tackles and explains creating an application based on the workplace gamification.
- When it comes to the tech aspect, in software development, there are other countries that are more competitive right now. However, in terms of getting full potential, Romulo is very confident that the Philippines exceeds these competing countries.
- He also shares that there’s a reason why software developers are getting paid a lot of money is that no software developer would code the same way. Probably similar but not the same way. They each have their own way of doing things.
- Hundreds and thousands of people around the world, from Europe, Asia, North America are coming back to the Philippines to distill all information into meaningful training, business opportunity to create the next unicorns in tech, specifically in the Philippines.
- Infrastructure and connectivity are growing leaps and bounds, and what the industry is trying to figure out is what the next great idea is.
- Thousands of games are literally launched every couple of minutes globally. Each of these companies wants to hit critical mass.
- Game fundamentals can be applied to people’s daily lives in some ways.
- When it comes to tech, the English language often takes the backseat and the language becomes what is commonly known to the tech industry as the software language.
- All it really takes is for someone to have the experience and most importantly the guts to actually do it and the next big thing will come from the city.
Hi and welcome to another episode of Outsource Accelerator podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore and this is episode number 102. Today, we have Romulo Reyes as a guest, he is the General Manager of Elite Global Sourcing and they are a specialist game developer outsourcing partner, you will hear a little bit about them in this episode and a lot about Romulo’s background, how Elite came to be and we also discuss the gaming industry and the potential for the Philippines and you out there in the West. If you don’t gain, if your business isn’t in gaming, that’s fine, because I’m sure, you will learn a lot and there’s a lot of insight in here. So if you want to get in touch with Romulo, then do so get any information about the show then go to our show notes as well that is at outsourceaccelerator.com/102. Enjoy.
Derek: Okay, so welcome back everybody. Today I’m joined by Romulo Reyes. Hi, Romulo.
Romulo: Hi, Derek. How are you?
Derek: Good. And really, this isn’t my kind of scene, this is where talking about tech and gaming today or something like the gaming side of things. I appreciate it’s complexity but I’m not, I wouldn’t describe myself as a gamer so I’m excited about exploring this with Romulo. Romulo is here with Elite Global sourcing, which is a BPO outsourcing, specifically for the gaming industries, this is what we have talked about that there are outsourcing is so specialized now and it is not just called centers but there are incredibly specialized clerical that are handling an incredibly technical staff.
Romulo is here and working with Elite Global Solutions. So it’s super exciting to dig into this with Romulo. Thanks, Romulo. I supposed can you start just by introducing yourself and how you found yourself working with Elite?
Romulo: I’m Romulo Reyes, I’m the Managing Director for the Global sourcing. I handle the business side of things, Operations, B2B, B2C and I got started with Elite Global sourcing, I think the story goes all the way back 7 years ago, I joined E Games Philippines. It’s a game publishing company, it was the one of the pioneers of free to play games in the Philippines, and I think that’s how my career in gaming started. Before that actually worked for Convergys as a Manager for Customer Service and fast forward a couple of years.
Derek: So you’ve always been an outsourcing in some respect?
Romulo: In some respect, yes. I think with Elite Global sourcing I found my home because I can work with 2 things I’m passionate about, number 1 is service and number 2 would be games.
Derek: You are a gamer?
Romulo: I definitely am.
Derek: Fantastic. And what did you do in University then? Are you trained in what tech or web?
Romulo: No, actually, my background is Journalism, as development communication really from the left field I never, I mean I was a gamer ever since back in the late 80’s and I wouldn’t really, and I couldn’t have imagined working in the service and gaming industry.
Derek: Do you, did you ever visit that you’ll be working in the outsourcing industry, you’re certainly not in the gaming industry, but when you’re in University, did you see that as a viable career path for you back then?
Romulo: There was no practically no outsourcing industry back then was like early 90’s
Derek: Which is back when it started.
Romulo: Yes, correct. So you know, not a lot of people heard about this service industry, but you know, I think, my natural you know the character will just predispose to doing these things.
Derek: So then, what you were saying doing before this particular role?
Romulo: I was the Chief Operating Officer for Optive Technology. It’s a software tech development company.
Derek: And then, so you moved into Elite and do you ever just I was supposed what Elite does specifically for the clients, but then also the broader industry.
Romulo: Correct, a decade ago, you know we classified ourselves as an outsourcing company for the gaming industry, but right now, we are a turn-key solution provider, for game developer and publishers, It sounds you know like a mouthful but basically from a game developer perspective, and a game developer perspective, we are your partners in for the developer creating the game and for the publisher, we’ll publishing and selling the game to and supporting the game. All services from 3D Art 2D and game design QA sound engineering programming we can take care that for you or we could work with you, in terms of game publishing that’s gonna be customer service marketing, E-sports particularly in South East Asia, marketing, customer engagements, social network management, you name it we’re currently doing that right now.
Derek: Like any industry, I suppose 10 years ago, when it all started, it was pretty basic back then everything got far more specialized and getting more and more expertise, but also a specialist on those roles, yeah?
Romulo: Correct, I mean, just to give you probably a better understanding, we normally go to gaming conventions like Gstar, GD in San Francisco or Chinajoy and you’ve noticed these trends. I mean, 10 years ago, it was really mostly about RPG’s, online games using your PC consoles, now fast forward like 5 years ago, mobile becoming really really strong, and platform nearly overtook the PC, I mean that’s a neck to neck race and you know the industry is trying to find out where the next step, I mean what will people use and play within next 2-3 years, I mean, right now, virtual reality, oculus rift, HTC vibe, whether PC console or mobile, people are saying that’s the next step, but we already know that afterwards what happens next and we wanna know where that is, we wanna be there
Derek: It really makes hard for the industry because to build something pretty complex for the PC, but it also then got to fit in a mobile, it’s got a fit to brand new system possibly got a different size of screen, and maybe you gonna overhead mass.
Romulo: That’s the holy grail of developers and publishers. Finding the right game which we call you know can be cross platform and responsive I mean, let’s say you’re in your living room with your kids and playing this console game and all of a sudden you got to go to the office and you still wanna play the game and you’ve got the game running on your mobile concurrently so you wanna have this full 360 experience, and that’s what the industry is trying to find out how can we make the games that are very engaging to everyone, wherever and whenever they may be.
Derek: Because convenience went out and there are like people who years ago used to have SLR cameras and them just unheard of now because everyone got the camera in their pocket and it might not be as good, but you’ve got access to it whenever you want and it kind of beats having a really heavy camera around.
Romulo: Correct. and not just that, but on top of it of what we call emergence.
You’re on this game, you are so immersed then this universe so whatever genre that may be and for you don’t wanna leave it to a certain degree, you still wanna be let’s see you like RPG’s, you wanna be beside your character, you wanna be with that if you’re a community-centric person, you wanna stay in touch with your guildmates or teammates, and that’s what the industry trying to find out, how can we make all of these connected. Infrastructure and connectivity are growing leaps and bounce, and right now what the industry is trying to figure out is what is the next great idea.
Derek: And it’s not long the realm of the few geeks sitting in their bedrooms anymore, you were saying that the gaming industry just surpassed the movie industry.
Romulo: Correct, couple of years ago just to give you a good example, let’s take guardians of the galaxy took hundreds of millions of dollars to make, and probably, wreck in around $81mil within the first week, but let me give you an example right now one of the hottest game in steam, steam is a digital platform for games. Right now it is being played right this very moment by 1 mil players around the world right now.
Romulo: Live. And this is currently happening right now 24 by 7. I started of playing games there were no graphics just pure text, we call them multi-user dungeons. It’s so awesome for me to see people living and breathing in this world and everything growing leaps and bounce, and you have this world and you have this game, it called clear unknown battlegrounds, and you can youtube it, google it and people are within this community playing these games a million players, think of the business and the engagement that this company. A lot of companies are trying to
Derek: And this benefit from the networks effect? If you just got 10 people in the world, it’s not really cool but there’s a million or 10 million it has increasing kind of value, doesn’t?
Romulo: Correct, that’s what we call critical mass, each game that launches, thousands of games literally launch every couple of minutes globally. Each and every one of this company is wanna hit critical mass.
Derek: If I wanted to make the best game in the world, how would you even start, like there’s all these RPG’s with single ID, real person and you’ve got like a Sim’s City kind of simulated thing but then you have the candy crushes the world where there are basic, to those, to the candy crushes that make zillion dollars in a day, did that annoy you guys, because there must be so simplistic to make.
Romulo: I wouldn’t say simplistic. It just starts off with an idea, there are so many genres out there, you have to think games simply put just like food, there’s Asian food, French cuisine, Continental and Filipino food right? People would like to taste some of it, all of it, none of it and this taste also goes the same with games, and this shared interest in these genres that’s what defines what a company would like to make games for, for example, I’m the market in terms of the much older market, old school, first-person shooters, RPG hardcore things. Candy crush doesn’t really interest me personally, but I see the value in the game, and the kids love playing the game, that’s how it is.
Derek: I see this less technical value on those but I think there’s a lot of psychological clients and quite a lot of psychological sophistication on those things.
Romulo: Sure. Actually, I’m a game designer, I used to work for a game development company called Gamebow, and I designed all their games and part of the game design would be what part of the human psyche or psychology you want to stimulate. Candy crush, the clash of clans, all of these casual games actually tap into the instant gratification. There’s a huge science behind it, but simply put its focus on instant gratification. You do something right, terrific sounds come up, awesome graphics come out but for me let’s say for my market, I’m not really for gratification I’m more of the community. The feeling that I’m part of something bigger, so I’m more of a RPG guy, I start of small, weakling character and as I put in the time and effort, and I joined this big group called the guild, I instant, well not instant but slowly but surely grow the power of my character, and I fee this gratification and aspirational aspect of the game, so that’s me.
Derek: Which is more compelling over long term, or as instant gratification thing, they kind of give you a short role, it’s amazing all these things tie in to real life, and there’s a book called Hooked which talks about kind of the gaming industry, but then tries to apply the lessons into real life, If I have a team of 70 people here in the Philippines, the Philippines like the workplace is commonly working with KPI’s, but if you tail it that to a further extent, there’s kinda a gamification of KPI so that people stay engaged and you make goals achievable and not too easy and not too hard and regular interval so that if the goal is 6mos way people are gonna lose interest. If I went to you, trying to gamify my workplace, could you create an app? Can you apply to that?
Derek: Have you been asked to do those things.
Romulo: We asked but of course, depending on the project, if would be the resources available would be provided, but to answer your question, yes, you have to think of the workspace, given the scenario, the workspace in itself is really, a place where in you need to full fill certain goals whether it is a business goal, personal goal of your individual employees or as a team, and these goals are all found on nearly all games, and the trick is to find out what motivates your people, a workplace is very diverse whether segmented or together as a collective, first you have to design everything from the ground up, from let’s say the way your office looks, your lighting, even the sound and the temperature, but more importantly, not just the way it looks and feels but also the way that people communicate. A lot of stock has been put in applications, but nothing really beats seeing person eye to eye, talking face to face, and the next step would be how do I manage information, how do I project manage the things that I need to do, and finally how do I keep track and reward, so in games there’s so many KPI’s that you don’t even see or think you know about their scores, quest time, number of quests that you’ve accomplished even the way of the game or if you score it sounds or look. All of these are KPI’s.
Derek: And I supposed the best KPI are the hidden KPI, where you, you don’t even realize you’re chasing those things
Romulo: Yeah, Exactly.
Derek: Fascinating, it’s amazing how these game fundamentals can be applied to so much of life and in some ways, gaining so much more advanced or other aspects of society.
Derek: Why the Philippines then, I wanna know a lot of listeners out there. I’m trying to encourage everyone in the West to outsource because I’m saying there’s a level playing field now and I think more so than anywhere or anything possibly gaming is one world. There’s no borders and people all in knows the virtual world, it doesn’t matter what country you’re from, but also these kids are learning from the same forum, same platforms and learning all the technology the same. The Philippines is cheaper to employ people, do you see any downside to hiring the Philippines, are there better skill sets available in Silicon Valley would you think or is the Philippines as technically capable and competent as anywhere else in the world then.
Romulo: Let’s talk about the downside first, admittedly in the Philippines, when in comes to the tech aspect, let’s say software development you’ve got other countries that right now would be more competitive, but in terms of getting the full potential, the Philippines I am very confident we’ll exceed very quickly these competing countries, whether it’s Singapore, or India or even North America’s Silicon Valley. The unicorn in these country given the full potential that the Philippines would have like it can easily overtake this and the Philippines is really poised to be a major a tech hub not just in South East Asia or in Asia but globally, so which leads me to my “the why” that this is the up point. As you can see the history of our country, much has been said about our command of English language, but when it comes to tech, English really takes the back seat and the language now becomes what is the language that is being used, C#, C++ so it becomes a software language, right. What comes in now would be the pre-natural capability of the Filipino to be able to solve problems and make use of the available resources in order to create something. If you’re a programmer, normally you’ve given a module and then say, “I need to integrate this animation to the game” and it’s not as easy as just clicking a few mouse button and you’re done. There’s a reason why software developers are getting paid a lot of money because no single software developer would code the same way, probably similar but not the same way, they each have their own way of doing things. In terms of the Philippine market, we’re so in tune with the rest of Asia, China, and North America and where we are bombarded and saturated with all of these products and we know what the client would want, and we know how to solve these problems, and we know how to code, what’s lacking right now is so here comes the opportunity. I’ve read recently that the Department of Science and Technology is working with some sectors in the BPO to future-proof the industry from AI, but that’s just one aspect of the support we need from the government, but this is not just the government endeavour it should be a multi-sectoral approach, wherein the government not just provide the incentives but also provides the avenue a level playing field for everyone, where they can innovate and put in ideas in order let’s say, not just future-proof AI but create AI. Not just to create technical hubs but actually make every part of the Philippines a technological competitive hub, not just the big cities even so far back as the provinces. I’d love to see a farm be interconnected to the internet that makes them resilient from the weather, gives them weather information, flood information, and pest whatever so all of these things have to come together, and I have yet to see that. There are people trying their very best to make these happen.
Derek: It’s a difficult thing because the Philippines doesn’t have Harvard, the US has Harvard University and would never have Harvard to the same degree because the US has decades or hundreds of years ahead, but with coding, and these new skills it moves so fast that there’s no real advantage of having Harvard because people learn the stuff in their living rooms, it’s kids that are just hacking or coding and as you say it’s the language so how quickly you learn that new language and how it depth to you are. So I find it fascinating, and I think it really can level the playing field in terms of a meritocracy of people being able to build stuff from anywhere in the world and commanding the same thieves which are a huge opportunity for the Philippines, and so, do you see then that in, do you see the skilled gap closing that they will eventually be no Silicon Valley for gaming like it will just be an even playing field.
Romulo: Well not just in gaming but, let’s talk about development right now. Right now the government trying to get these overseas foreign workers even Filipino citizens abroad to come back and contribute to the economy, contribute to the previous brain train, if I may say so. So you have, second, the third generation, let’s say, for example, very specific, Filipino American who have experience already working in the US or North America, if the government can follow through its program and instead to advise them to come back. They’ve got, you’ve got a treasure wealth of this knowledge-based from hundreds and thousands of people around the world from Europe, from Asia, from North America coming back to the country and distilling all these information into meaningful training, business opportunity, creating the next unicorns in tech specifically in the Philippines, because right now, you’re correct, you said that there are really is no boundaries, the entire world is interconnected so it really doesn’t matter if you’re in Silicon Valley or in Manila. All it takes really is for someone who has the experience and most importantly the guts to actually do it, and you know, the next big thing will come from the city.
Derek: There’s a big opportunity. One of those is marketing angles were trying to pursue and propagate is that the Philippines should be considered Swiss banking of outsourcing and I was like, it is, it’s been doing almost the longest, it’s the best in the world that is because of the cultural alignment, the language alignment everyone has a lot of benefits to a strong future. So we can have you back soon, Romulo to discuss exactly what Elite does and what it offers, so I look forward to speaking to you then. Thank you for your time. And if people would like to get in touch with you, how can I get in touch with you, of course, I’ll provide all of these in the show notes as well.
Romulo: The easiest way would be to go to our website is elitegsl.com and you can send us an email here or you can chat with us where there 24/7.
Derek: Fantastic. Thank you.
Derek: Okay, that was Romulo Reyes of Elite Global Sourcing. I’m sure you enjoyed that and there’s a lot of insight, we do actually get Romulo back in the future to discuss exactly what Elite Global Sourcing does and it’s a value proposition for you even if you’re not into gaming I encourage you to have a listen to this because there’s a lot of inside potential for outsourcing specialized verticals. If you want any of the show notes, then go to outsourceaccelerator.com/102 and if you want to ask us anything then drop us an email to [email protected] See you next time.