With 1.3 billion people and two-thirds of them below the age of 35, the world’s largest youth population—India—is poised to become one of the world’s leading markets for gaming. This surge is new. Historically, video games did not gain a foothold in India due to the lack of access to gaming consoles and PCs, as also its low social acceptance. This is changing; Indian gaming industry is at the cusp of a transformation. Economic growth has resulted in a society that is embracing digital content and entertainment like never before, enabled by growth of smartphones and affordable wireless internet.
The Indian media and entertainment industry is a sunrise sector. Internet is increasingly becoming mainstream media of entertainment for most. The gaming industry, which comprises a large chunk of this sector, is at an inflection point, having seen exponential growth over the last decade. According to Nasscom, the Indian gaming sector is valued at close to $300 million (Rs 2,000 crore). Video games have become a major part of modern culture. Factors such as a large young population, rising disposable income, increasing smartphone users, 3G and now the roll-out of 4G services are all aiding the growth of the gaming industry.
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According to a recent report, the Indian market for applied games alone is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14-16% to $80 million by 2021. This means the industry requires a steady inflow of professionals in the next five years to cope up with both outsourced work from leading countries in the games development space (like the US and Japan) as well as increasing domestic demand. India, in fact, has the potential to be the next big hub for game process outsourcing.
Gaming as an industry offers career opportunities in areas such as design, art creation in 3D and 2D, animation, programming, quality control, testing and project management. But how to get the details of what happens in each of these areas and how to prepare oneself for the same?
Generally speaking, students aiming for a career in game art and animation should be skilled in low- to mid-polygon modelling in Autodesk Maya/Max, high resolution sculpting in ZBrush or Mudbox, creating diffuse textures, baking texture maps and have a working understanding of a current generation game engine like Unreal, Crytek or Unity 3D. They must also be familiar with physically-based rendering (PBR) workflow, as most game engines have switched to PBR. A background in traditional arts like drawing, sculpting, painting, etc, would be another advantage. Also, those wanting to learn game programming are advised to enrol in computer sciences, while learning game programming on their own. There are plenty of resources available on the internet.
The gaming industry pays well. An average game developer can earn Rs 30,000-40,000 per month after spending a couple of years in the industry. Post-employment growth is immense and depends on talent, skills and other individual factors.
The author is CEO, Lakshya Digital, India’s largest games development company.
Views are personal