At a time when video games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds are taking the world by storm, video game development is fast becoming a bright career option for the youth. Although India seems to be lagging behind in terms of game developers, a recent study by NASSCOM revealed that the Indian gaming industry is close to $890 million. With the increase in popularity of smartphones in the Indian market, the gaming industry is set for a steady rise as the youth are now looking at video games as not just a form of recreation, but also as a way to test their skills and talent.
Lakshya Digital, headed by Manvendra Shukul, CEO, and Dibyajyoti Chaudhari, president, has been one of the pioneers in India in game art outsourcing since its inception in 2004. It has game art studios in Gurgaon and Pune. Shukul, who is also one of the co-founders of NASSCOM’s gaming forum, talks about the industry and its promising future in India.
In the past, India was mostly considered an outsourcing hub by game developers. Has this outlook changed?
Not really. People in India do not take gaming seriously. However, the good news is that in the past few years, the number of gamers has increased. This has resulted in many people wanting to develop and design their own games. This change in mindset is helping to create an interest in game development. There are several games designed by Indians in the market, most of which are successful. Game development in India is at a nascent stage now.
How much has the gaming industry changed in India? How popular is it?
There has been a dramatic change in the past two years. Earlier, no one considered gaming as a career option. The situation is different now. People are gradually becoming aware of the different options in gaming. It is slowly gaining popularity in India. In the past, children used to face resistance from parents as they considered gaming only as a form of recreation. Although awareness is low even now, the youth are showing interest in game development. People, however, are still not clear about the various aspects of this field. There are several components such as art, design, technology and so on. Awareness needs to be spread about these areas so that people know what best suits their talents and skills.
What would you attribute this sudden increase in interest to?
The popularity of smartphones that provide every consumer easy accessibility to video games. Earlier, video games were restricted to a niche audience. A very small percentage of people would buy gaming consoles. Now, while more number of people are buying gaming consoles and gadgets, an increased number of people are also into gaming due to the prevalence of smartphones.
Where does India stand in terms of infrastructure and technology compared to other countries?
Infrastructure is not a challenge in India as the best hardware for developing games can be easily acquired. What is required is cutting edge technology, skills and expertise. That is where we lag behind. Indian game developers lack the technical know-how and need to work with experienced game developers in leading countries like U.S. and learn from them. India looks promising in terms of consumers, primarily due to the large number of people from the young generation. But, we need to grow into a promising market of game developers.