Brazil has just become one of best places to make games, here’s why that matters to you – as a consumer

“There’s before 2024, and after 2024”. That’s the main message from Brazil’s first ever Gamescom, Gamescom Latam. The traditionally German show teamed up with BIG – a storied, local festival in Brazil – to really show off what Brazil can do on the global stage. And at the opening night of the show, the organisers were keen to really hammer home how important Brazil is going to become to you, me, and everyone else that plays games across the globe.

Game development, as it stands, is dominated by the global North and West – there’s not a lot of support for game development in the global South or, especially, in Latin America. But Brazil is keen to change that narrative. In May 2024, the country passed a law that did a lot of things that will help make game development in the country an easier concept; the new law makes it easier to get hold of dev kits, for example, and provides monetary relief for grassroots developers, to name just a few elements of the framework.

But why does that matter to you, a gamer assumedly in the US or UK or Europe? Simply speaking, the Brazilian government passed a law that – all at once – recognised games as a vector for innovation, commercial investment, and cultural expression. As it goes, that’s a rare trifecta of things for a national government to understand. Gaming is a young industry compared to its entertainment peers, and needs to be aggressive about getting access to the same cultural and government recognition (and tax relief) that film, TV or music does. Brazil, here, is trailblazing.

So right now, it’s early days, but – to cut the jargon – Brazil is looking at games through various lenses. The Brazilian government wants to fund and help develop games that are unique, creative, and (essentially) marketable.

Taken on the end of opening night, the physical logo for Gamescom Latam.
Live from the show floor. | Image credit: VG247

In a few years time (as the triple-A space continues to contract across the UK, EU and US – see all the layoffs we’re enduring at the moment), Brazil’s homegrown developers will be there to provide games in the holes that begin to appear. Remember, games take years to develop and ship, and all the layoffs we’re seeing now are really going to bite in 2025 and beyond, where a lot of the down-sized studios and destroyed creative endevours start to show in the release schedule.

To that end, Brazil’s current recognition and investment in its local games industry will mean more choice – and more quality and variety – for you, a few years down the line (and even more immediately, in some cases: I’ll be providing a rundown of the best games at Gamescom Latam by the end of the week).

There’s precedent for how this works, too: I’m not just pulling hopeful sentiment out of thin air. Jason Della Rocca and Kristian Roberts, who helped pen a white paper on Brazil’s place in the global gaming ecosystem, highlighted Finland as a good example of a country that provided support for its developers, and profited hugely from it.

Nintendo, Epic, and Bandai Namco at Gamescom Latam.
Gamescom Latam attracts attention from global players – but that’s not the most exciting thing here. | Image credit: VG247/Gamescom Latam

You should be familiar with Rovio (Angry Birds), Small Giant (Empires & Puzzles), and SuperCell (Clash of Clans) – some of the best games in the mobile market that have really put Finland on the map in terms of gaming. There are games you’re likely to have played, games that found a niche in the market and absolutely dominated it. And, though aimed at a casual audience, they affect the more core side of our hobby, too: Rovio sold to SEGA for $750m, for example – becoming mainstream, and offering more choice and quality to you, as a gamer.

Meanwhile, in Switzerland – where games have been declared as culture and art, officially – the government is providing relief for games that are seen, very much, as cultural exports. The most obvious and successful of these is the charming Game Pass breakout hit, The Wandering Village.

BIG Festival imagery
Before it was Gamescom Latam, Brazil’s biggest game exhibition was BIG (and it’s still here, but just as part of Gamescom Latam). | Image credit: VG247

Brazil has a great opportunity now; the industry here is rife with developmental talent in multiple regions within the massive country. Brazil boasts the fifth largest global online playerbase, is home to at least 105m players, has 13k+ people employed in the gaming industry, and is home to over 1000 game-related companies. The industry here is huge, and it’s due to become a significant global force very soon.

The message here at Gamescom Latam is very much that Brazil has the opportunity to ‘leapfrog’ more established countries and their gaming industries, if the government continues to remove the barriers for young developers in the country. There’s a hope and an anticipation that Brazilian game-makers will tell uniquely Brazilian stories – stories that leverage the unique architecture, cuisine, language and artistic expression the country is known for – in their games. This is something we all benefit from, especially given Brazil is one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations in the world. There are important and valid stories to tell here.

The eyes of the world are on Brazil, now – and there’s no better time for the locals here to show us what they’ve got up their sleeves. There’s before 2024, and after 2024, after all.

This article was written at Gamescom Latam. Travel and accommodation was paid for by the organisers. A full list of the best games playable at the event will appear on VG247 by the end of the week.

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