Your Royal Highness,

Your Excellency Ms. Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Excellencies, Professors,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honor to be present today with you at the closing ceremony of the Belgium-Japan game jam. This is the last event of this very important Belgian economic mission to Japan, under the presidency of HRH Princess Astrid.

First of all, I would like to apologize the Vice Minister President of Wallonia. Unfortunately his duty demanded him to stay in Belgium. He is deeply sad and expresses his wish that this closing ceremony confirms the strong relationship between our two countries, in the video game ecosystem.

I would like to thank him for allowing a federal Secretary of State, myself, to adress you a few words on this occasion. Willy Borsus knows how much we share determination and motivation in building a digitized world based on inclusion (digital must be accessible for everyone), convergence (we are much better if we work together) and ambition (because our playing field is not only Wallonia, Brussels, Flanders, neither Belgium… Our playing firld must be the world). Being inclusive, convergent and ambitious is what I call being a #SmartNation.

The energy deployed, in Wallonia and in Belgium around video game ecosystem is the perfect example of what a #SmartNation could be.

As you know, the video game sector has grown enormously in recent years. The global gaming market will have up to 3 billion players by 2023, nearly half of humanity ! It proves how fast world is changing.

And it is only a beginning…  this event is a glimpse of what the future could look like and how video games will influence society.

As we speak about video game, we could think we just speak about entertainment industry… but it would be a enormous mistake to restrain our sight.

To my point of view, video game industry is so much more than that. The game industry is probably one of the gate keeper of a new world.

Metaverse, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity… and so many other technologies are used in the video game industry for so many years now. And those technology are flewing from our common digitized past (Pacman, Mario, Pong… Gran Turisme) to our present analog world. A world with so much benefits and opporutnities.

Let me take two examples :

Gran Turismo, a well known video game. Two days ago, I was invited by Michael Spranger, head of « Sony AI » for a presentation about how the so called AI « Gran Turismo Sophy » which is used (trained) in the videogame will be deployed in the automotive industry. From video game to analog world. A few days ago, Sony announced a new partnership with Honda to build new generation of electric cars / electronic cars.

Closer than us, Pharmaverse. A project developed in Ottignies-Louvain-La-Neuve and supported by Wallonia, around building skills in the metaverse for the pharmaceutical industry. This will lead to train employees more rapidly, more efficiently and with less money. From digital world to analog world. Metaverse will reduce lack of skilled workers for the new economy.

2 examples among hundreds others to express how skills used in the videogame industry will have an impact to build a better world.

Healthcare, autonomous drive, energy efficiency… all the ingredients to tackle those challenges, are precisely the same skills that videogame industry developes.

Video games is at the heart of the digital transformation. It is important to understand how this will influence our society.

So how will the future look like ? Well, games and games skills will be everywhere. They will migrate from our larger than life screens to join the real-life, with real life consequences.

I am very excited to be here and witness the success of this challenging game jam that gathered mixed teams of Japanese and Belgian students. It reflects the mindset living in the videogame ecosystems all over the world. In Japan and in Belgium as well : Albert Jacquard High School, Walga, Cortex Machina, ArchBishop, Fishing cactus, Howest… energy is everywhere…

And it reflects what I call a #SmartNation mindset… being more inclusive, convergent and ambitious. And it makes me really optimistic  for the futur. Yes, we will build a better world together.

I would like to congratulate all the participants and to thanks the organisators.

I would also like to thank HRH Princess Astrid who honored us with her presence and the privilege to give the prize to the winner.

I wish you all the best for the future

and thank you for your attention.