According to SuperData, video games as an industry generated a revenue of $119.6 billion during 2018, thus placing it ahead of cinema and music. By 2022, experts foresee this revenue to reach $196 billion. Therefore, it is no surprise that tech giants like Apple and Google are trying to leverage this by launching game streaming services.
The increasing acceptance of gamification systems as a tool for human behaviour architecture to induce creativity, efficiency, or engagement is also supporting the development of the industry, with the use of gamification systems further widening beyond their traditional marketing scope, as currently, they are used extensively in advanced applications like crowdsourcing.
The gaming industry in India has transitioned from outsourced technical and customer support-focused to self-sufficient games production with higher development and marketing budgets (AAA games) in the last few decades.
One of the reasons behind this swift development is the sudden massive access to smartphones by every strata of the population. Through these technological advancements, a majority of Indians discovered a world of entertainment, previously concerning only young males of the upper class. Nowadays though, it’s not rare to see a 50-year-old maid playing Candy Crush on the way to work. In fact, a recent survey has found that women mobile gamers are actually more active than men in India.
Another factor driving the growth of the video game market in India is its large number of cybercafés with more than 100,000 in 2006, 40% of which are used to play online.
While the overall market for video games is estimated at US $17.4 billion, making it the eighth largest in the world, India’s cybercafés dominate due to the industry’s open nature, the availability of a variety of game titles, and the sheer number of customers using these at any given time.
In a recent survey, it was found that 79% of the Indian players polled were gamers and therefore, the desire to play within virtual worlds is extremely high. According to a recent survey, 59% of Indian gamers consume 15 or more hours of video gaming daily.
Most studios in India derive a large chunk of their revenue from outsourcing to international companies (with its impact on employment). After Dhruva lead the march in 1997 and inspired two dozens of studios to start on their own till 2010, there are now more than 270 game development companies open in the country, which includes many international publishers like Technicolor, Gameloft, Electronic Arts, Digital Chocolate, Ubisoft or Rockstar, who found India to be the ideal hub to stay competitive in this growing industry.
With this new scenario, a previously non-existent workforce is now needed to face the market requirements. The craft of today’s gaming sector is so high that the technical, creative or artistic competencies to ace it are rarely seen in other industries. As such talent is challenging to find here, with very little available training, big studios have to import their talent pool. This is also a great opportunity though, for young Indians who aspire to create a career in this field.
However, there is a common trap they should avoid falling into — believing that mastering a software will make them good game artists or designers. In reality, learning graphic software is becoming easier, with each passing year. The first versions of 3D Studio (now known as 3DS Max) could not be used before reading a 600-page manual, and would need robust training at a specialised centre to produce any decent output. Nowadays, anyone can create better images after watching several tutorials on YouTube.
A good game artist/ designer is someone creative, imaginative and original, someone who understands the market and target audience for computer games, and who has problem-solving skills. These qualities cannot be acquired via YouTube tutorials. Having a solid foundation in art, learning how to write, tell a story, interact with professionals and practicing is what it takes to get there. It is imperative for any aspiring game artist or designer to develop a critical mind, a perfect sense of presentation, and above all, limitless curiosity. The topic of a video game could be anything under the sun, but the level of its realism and accuracy requires designers to be experts in that domain.
Students’ passion for gaming is evidently another determinant to build a career in that field. This passion is unfortunately, rarely shared or comprehended by their parents, who tend to perceive gaming as a juvenile pastime. In most cases, they fail to understand the economic strength of this sector and its ramifications.
Furthermore, game design is not limited to pure video games. With concepts of gamification and serious games, game play is increasingly being used as a means of learning, training, communicating, and selling.
There is a need for parents to realise the immense potential for a career in this field. As mentioned earlier, the industry is fast-growing and goes beyond the ‘entertainment’ aspect, by involving serious gaming and gamification, which brings along a plethora of opportunities for aspirants. Companies that wish to tap such an opportunity will require a substantial workforce to create and build products. Young game designers with proper training and skill-sets can expect a vast range of possibilities to pursue a relevant career. Even in a particular studio, career scenarios are multiple. If a junior artist shows talent and passion in their specialisation, they can progress to becoming an intermediate, senior and eventually an expert. If one is also good at managing people, resources and projects, one can become a lead artist, followed by an art manager. Finally, if that individual excels at taking creative decisions, he/she can access the magical world of art directors and creative directors, and potentially become a big name within the gaming realm.
The global gamification market is estimated to witness a growth rate of 30.31% within 2020 to 2025. The explosion of the international gaming industry shows a promising future for all creative gamers to pursue a career in the same. Depending on their talent, passion, skills and willpower, there is immense scope for them to network with the right people, and explore countries and universes that other industries may cease to provide.
Mr. Yan Garin, Associate Vice President of Operations at Ecole Intuit Lab.