Major tech investment creates awareness for $300B gaming industry
HONOLULU—TRUE Initiative has launched the TRUE Esports + Tech Lab at Waipahu Public Library. The state-of-the-art technology facility will teach valuable game and software development skills. The esports industry, encompassing software development, data analytics, and content/media content, is a priority for technology companies globally and is estimated to be worth $300 billion.
The lab, 6 months in the making, is the culmination of a unique public and private sector collaboration between TRUE, the Hawaii State Library System, and the State of Hawaiʻi, with hardware and technical guidance contributed by Pacxa and Central Pacific Bank Foundation. The lab will introduce Hawaiʻi’s first community-based, competitive high school esports team with a dedicated coach and will compete locally against other gaming teams. Community members can learn and earn a certification in foundational software game development and coding thanks to a curriculum curated by GameDevHQ. The Lab will also serve as a resource for the community, providing a means of engaging with technology, even for beginners. Content is available free of charge for library members.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for the state to put our economy on a solid path towards digitalization,” said Governor David Ige. “As we work to diversify our economy, we have found great opportunity in the STEM industries. We know the potential that our state and our people have. Now, the world will see it.”
The Lab will feature the best-in-class gaming PCs, displays, and peripherals in a space for 5 gamers to learn, study, and play. In the coming weeks, additional programming will be launched, such as talks with professionals in the tech and gaming industry and demo sessions on topics like “building your own computer.”
45% or 1.48 billion of the world’s gamers are based in Asia, and Hawaiʻi is poised to act as the bridge between Asia and the continental United States. The Overwatch League, the world’s first franchised esports league with 20 teams around the world, recently chose the University of Hawaiʻi’s iLab at UH Mānoa as the location for its 2021 playoffs and grand finals.
“Game development is a gateway to software engineering, and there are a million engineers needed by 2025,” said Paul Yonamine, chairman of TRUE and executive chairman of Central Pacific Bank. “More than 50 percent of software engineers do not have a college degree. This facility gives residents the opportunity to learn software development skills and to embrace a lucrative tech career path.”
TRUE plans to launch additional esports facilities at public libraries throughout the state within the next year. Esports represents an opportunity for Hawaiʻi residents to embrace technology, receive essential training, and have an advantage over other regional workforces when it comes to the technology of tomorrow such as artificial intelligence, the metaverse, and virtual reality.
“The library is here to engage, educate and inspire the community,” said Stacey A. Aldrich, State Librarian, Hawaii State Public Library System. “The TRUE Esports + Tech Lab represents the future of the role that our library will play in people’s lives. This is a very hopeful and exciting development, and we will support this digital transformation in any way that we can.”
The TRUE Esports + Tech Lab aims to attract jobs, investments, and “East meets West” gaming competitions. Hawaiʻi has the AV production, planning, event coordination, and convention and hospitality infrastructure to host and manage these global events.
“We have a ready workforce, we have the time zone advantage, and we have a welcoming climate and people,” said Kelly J. Ueoka, advisory board member of TRUE and President of Pacxa. “All the major tech giants will be looking for developers and analysts, and they can find them here. Hawaiʻi is uniquely positioned to fill that need with the proper infrastructure in place.”
The community is encouraged to use and experience the lab, which opens to the public July 27.
TRUE is a program of the Hawaiʻi Executive Collaborative, supporting the CHANGE Framework and Movement. TRUE’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of technology in Hawaiʻi. By leveraging technology, our community can upskill, increase productivity, improve efficiencies, and gain customer insights. Tech enabled jobs earn 53% more. By accelerating the adoption of technology, local organizations succeed, Hawaiʻi’s economy becomes more diversified and sustainable, and the workforce will earn higher incomes, allowing them to build assets and a better quality of life.
About Hawaii State Public Library System
The Hawaii State Public Library System nurtures a lifelong love of reading and learning through its staff, collections, programs, services, and physical and virtual spaces.
Pacxa is Hawaiʻi’s premier technology provider and systems integrator. We harness the power of world-class technologies to help local businesses realize their full potential. Our team delivers customized solutions that enable nearly 450 organizations across the state to maximize opportunities and pursue innovation. To learn more, visit www.pacxa.com.
About Central Pacific Bank Foundation
CPB Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Central Pacific Bank, was designed to create opportunities for Hawaii’s youth and foster social progress. Since its inception in 2007, the foundation has committed to strengthening Hawaii communities through partnerships, collaborations, and signature programs that provide investment and leadership to support Hawaii residents and businesses where it’s needed most, and by helping Hawaii define a path to a brighter future.
CPB Foundation is dedicated to programs that support our diverse community, education, small businesses, youth sports, agricultural and environmental initiatives, and pathways to explore new opportunities for our ohana to reach their full potential.
About Hawaii Executive Collaborative
Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes and supports CEOs, senior decision-makers, and global leaders who are committed to working together to drive community solutions. HEC supports leaders in developing a common agenda and help to drive shared actions to solve community issues with a focus on creating community resiliency and promoting economic growth.