Start-up Interview: Total Gameplay Studio

Our first interview on myanmar-startups.com is with a very cool company. Total Gameplay Studio – Myanmar’s first high quality game studio.

total gameplay studio myanmar

So here we go with our interview. Thank you so much for your time and I highly appreciate you doing it remotely and spending time reading through it. The first question is to introduce you a bit so could you let us know a little bit about you? 

My name is Myint. I am from Yangon, Myanmar. Me and my brother, Zaw, co-founded Total Gameplay Studio, which is also the very first game studio from Myanmar.

After your short introduction. Let’s see where you’re coming from. What’s your professional background?

We both studied and graduated from KMD – a local Computer Sciences School. After graduation, we started working on our first game and our first company which ultimately became Total Gameplay Studio.

Have you always been in the tech / game / coding business? Why do you like it?

Have you always been in the tech / game / coding business? Why do you like it?

Before we start with TGS in detail one more question about the “why”. Many people leave Myanmar for other countries around Southeast Asia. Why did you decide to stay in Myanmar? 

Well, other people thought there was less opportunity in Myanmar than other countries. And they were right. It was a bad time. But we wanted to create our own opportunities. But there were also perks too like less tax and less cost to start up than other countries. Places were cheap back then as well.

Alright. Down to business. Why a gaming studio? Aren’t there enough games out there?

Well, to make games is our dream ever since our father brought back NES home. And Myanmar has rich diversity of culture heritages. We want to make games that reflect them. Sittuyin (Myanmar Chess) which we released a few weeks ago, is one of the examples of what a Myanmar game can be. Not only that, we have a long history of wars between neighbouring countries like Thailand. As sad as the past maybe, they will make really cool game stories. So I believe they will bring fresh values to the current game pool already filled with lots of Western and Japan games.

total gameplay studio

Sittuyin (Myanmar Chess) byt Total Gameplay Studio

Following up the previous question with the obvious one: What makes you unique? 

We are Myanmar developers so we are exposed to rich Myanmar arts and designs. I believe by bring them into digital games, we can bring out fresh style and design.

If you would have to name the one feature that makes TGS super mega awesome. What would it be?

“Unique”. We hope to bring fresh and unique game designs, and stories to the market.

Can you also give us a quick sneak peak into what’s in the making? What does the future hold for TGS? What are your plans?

We recently released Sittuyin (Myanmar Chess) which includes a game mode that pit Thai army against Burmese army. Riding on that fame, we are planning to create a war game between Thai and Myanmar around the age of Taungu. I can say such game idea is our childhood dream!

How big is the TGS team now? Are you still looking for support?

We have 8 developers working full-time. And if it will allow us to create more awesome games, we will look for more support!

Now we know what’s on the horizon. Brief walk back: Was it easy to set up TGS. Did you find investors easily? I assume companies haven’t all been that keen on spending money for a game studio in a country with low internet density. 

It was very hard back then. Especially nobody knew you could make games like that. There were a lot of problem back then including electricity, Internet and human resource shortage. Investment was out of the question as well. So we have to fend for ourselves and our company. Now things are getting better. Internet penetration will improve a lot after new telco companies deployed so I can see business is booming for digital content creators like us in near future!

What was the biggest hurdle to overcome when founding TGS?

I think that would be staying alive through the tough times. It was easy to found but so hard to keep it together, especially through electricity black-outs, censored Internet and International sanctions.

How does an “average” day look like for you right now? Lots of coffee? Little sleep? Pizza? 😉 

Yes, little sleep, lots of coffee and lots of Xbox sessions as well. Everyone plays games even during office hours. We have an Xbox at our office. What’s the point of being a game developer if you are not allowed to play games.

total gameplay studio

Are you actually coding? Or have you been? In a garage?

We started our company on a Pentium III computer beside our dining table. I was the coder and my brother was a 3D modeler. I am still coding because I always enjoy it!

What’s your impression on the start-up scene in Myanmar right now?

Infrastructures like electricity and Internet are improving. International VCs and fundings are coming to our ways as well. I can see a bright future for wannabe entrepreneurs in our country!

Do you work together with any start-ups? 

Yes, we have worked together with other Start-ups like Zewnexsys and hope to do so in the future.

What kind of start-up / tech venture are you missing in Myanmar at the moment?

I want to see tech ventures more focus on improving life in rural areas especially the medical sector. Infras are already reaching to these poor areas and I believe we can help them in a lot of ways using technology.

A bit crystal balling: What’s the next big thing? In Myanmar as well as on a global scale? 

For Myanmar, it’s “Mobile”. It’s coming big and I believe every tech start-up in mobile sector, will see a brighter future. For international, I am not sure. But computers are becoming more and more integrated into our daily life and things like AR will be a big thing, I think.

Since we’re spreading the word here. What do you want our readers to know?

Well, I think a lot of people outside will like to know whether Myanmar has actually changed. The answer is yes and no. Some areas had changed but, unfortunately, some aren’t.

Famous last words 🙂 

The cake is a lie…. 😀

That marks the end of our interview. I’m super happy and thankful that Total Gameplay Studio took the time to do this with us! If you want to contact Total Gameplay Studio please do this here:

Myint Kyaw Thu (CTO, Total Gameplay Studio)
myintkt@totalgameplaystudio.com
http://totalgameplaystudio.com
http://www.facebook.com/totalgameplay

Myanmar-Startups.com brings you interesting start-up related information from Myanmar, Interviews with up and coming start-ups and offers start-up consulting in order to move our wonderful country forward. Thankfully powered by My-Thai.org & sayfun.me

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