• The San Juan Daily Star

Island gov’t sees e-gaming as an industry with high growth potential

“We have the potential in Puerto Rico to become leaders in the e-gaming industry, not only as participants but also as developers and promoters,” said Enrique Völckers Nin, the island’s chief information and innovation officer.

By The Star Staff

Enrique Völckers Nin, who heads the Puerto Rico Technology and Innovation Service (PRITS), participated over the weekend in First Attack Puerto Rico, the largest video game event in the Caribbean.

The event, held at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, was seen by more than 200,000 people back in 2014.

“Certainly, seeing the enthusiasm and participation that First Attack Puerto Rico has had confirms that the e-gaming industry has a promising future,” Völckers Nin said Sunday. “We have the potential in Puerto Rico to become leaders in the e-gaming industry, not only as participants but also as developers and promoters.”

The advancement of the industry has been marred by communication problems.

The official stressed that the island government has been addressing the connectivity problems that exist on the island, mainly due to the damage to and fragility of the infrastructure after Hurricane Maria.

“Governor Pedro Pierluisi and his administration are committed to improving the technological infrastructure so that industries like these have the capacity and resilience necessary to develop to the fullest,” Völckers Nin said. “At PRITS, along with the Governor’s Office, AAFAF [the Spanish acronym for the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority] and the NET [the island Telecommunications Bureau], we are working with the Puerto Rico Broadband & Infrastructure Initiative to solidify both the government network and ensure that the digital connection gap is eliminated and that we have robust and resilient connections.”

In the 1970s, companies such as Atari, Namco, Nintendo, Capcom, Taito and Konami created the video arcade. Games like Pong, Space Invaders, and Asteroids were released and when in 1981 Nintendo released Donkey Kong and games like Defender, Scramble, Frogger and Galaga for home consoles, the industry began to take off. After the arrival in 1985 of Super Mario Bros and Tetris, the industry catapulted to what we see today, the PRITS chief said.

E-gaming is now bigger than music and movies.

“I was a participant in this industry as a player, fan, even a developer and teacher in 2013,” Volckers Nin said. “Puerto Rico has a CIIO [chief information and innovation officer] who will support the e-gaming industry, since we understand that it is one of the sources of economic development and a new economy that we have to promote and support.”

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