Today started off with another guest lecture at UEF, but this time it was all about the development of the Mekong Delta. Its main focus was the challenges faced by the Mekong Delta due to climate change and upstream development, two problems requiring global cooperation. The projected sea level rise by 2100 would flood 20-30% of the Mekong Delta, which provides 50% of Vietnam’s domestic rice and 90% of their rice exports. These stats put climate change into a greater perspective for me. The Mekong River is also used by six countries, Vietnam being the last one. Dams being built upstream for water storage and hydroelectric power are reducing the amount of sediment and fish that the delta receives. Even though the lecture was about a single area of a single country, it turned out to be about globalization, showing the extent globalization has reached.
After lunch, we visited Glass Egg Digital Media, a 3D art company that specializes in creating cars for racing games. In addition to the pre-departure materials we read, I have a lot of previous knowledge about the gaming industry, so I got a great deal out of the tour and presentation. The COO dropped so many names and different features of the industry that made the visit that much more great. It was interesting to hear about the challenges an art outsourcing company faces in today’s world. The biggest challenge being security. Glass Egg works with the biggest video game studios in the world including Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Sony. If any information leaks about a game they are working on that hasn’t been revealed by the game developer first, it could have huge consequences. For example, Glass Egg knew about the Xbox One two years before Microsoft announced it. By working on a game for it they know the specifications the system has, and if Sony were to get that information they would know what level they need to beat for their next system. The security challenge has little to do with being located in Vietnam, but the main problem with being located in Vietnam is that they are isolated from other art outsourcing companies. Because of this, it is not efficient for a game developer to visit Vietnam because they will only get to meet with Glass Egg. If they were to go to say, India, they would be able to meet several big art studios in one trip. However, it seems the benefits of being located in Vietnam outweigh this problem. First, the labor costs are lower, and second, the industry is based on relationships. The COO mentioned that clients generally enjoy coming to Vietnam significantly more than most other countries they visit, so the relationship built with that company is stronger. In terms of future growth, Glass Egg now has a mobile game team to develop their very own game, and they are even going into furniture to make models for the websites. They are also thinking of opening a second location in Vietnam to draw more attention to it.