Understanding the sector
As per a KPMG report, the online gaming market in India has risen from US $870 million in 2019 to over $1 billion today. This number is expected to reach $3.9 billion by 2025, the report adds. The number of Indian gamers is also expected to rise to around 700 million.
Subi Chaturvedi, chief corporate and public affairs officer, Zupee, said, “Over the past two years, a pandemic-led increase for interactive entertainment coupled with affordable smartphones and data, has led to the growth.”
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The Mobile Gaming segment has seen the biggest growth in recent times. “A BARC & Nielsen report suggests that Indians have downloaded mobile games 7.3 billion times in the first three quarters of 2020, which is about 17% of the total global downloads. Other surprising statistics are that 43% of Indian mobile gamers are female, 60% gamers are under 25 years of age and that Indians now spend 218 minutes gaming versus 151 minutes before the lockdown,” she adds.
Education in gaming
Manvendra Shukul, CEO and co-founder, Lakshya, a game art creation company, says that investing time and money to develop game development talent is important. “Game creation companies have to partner with regular institutes and chalk out a curriculum that will help hone talent,” he says.
India has around 165 game design institutes, of which around 25 are in New Delhi, says Chaturvedi. “Students can join certification courses after class X as well. An advantage is that anybody can learn basic skills including software, UI/UX, animation etc., and become a professional in this sector. The course fee is also not too high,” adds Chaturvedi.
Gamification is already a part of the education system in a variety of ways. However, game-based learning is a relatively newer approach that banks on ‘learning by doing’. Chaturvedi says, “Benefits include better self-confidence, improved conceptual knowledge, enhanced memory and better analytical skills.”
Game-based learning is especially beneficial in improving memory in kids by 90%. Children also experienced 20% increase in self-confidence and 11% improvement in their conceptual knowledge.
With education moving online, it is a challenge to keep children glued to screen for long hours. This is where gamification can be helpful, adds Chaturvedi.
Shukul says, “India is known to provide services, not make products. Statistics suggest that the gaming industry is changing this pattern. Today, the world is looking to partner with India as a source of game manufacturers.”
Chaturvedi reveals, “Few ways to make a career include working at gaming companies or becoming professional gamers. There are around 400 gaming companies in India, with roles across programming, public policy, design, communications and marketing. Revenue streams for these include subscriptions, donations, affiliations and merchandising.”
Young gamers are also looking at becoming professional gamers, although it is still a novel idea in India, adds Chaturvedi.
Salary structure for gaming professionals is similar to other media and entertainment verticals. Starting from Rs 50,000 pm, it can go up to ten lakh/month for senior leadership roles and exceptional talent.
Dealing with challenges
It is a myth that being a part of the gaming industry provides quick bucks, reveals Shukul. “Gaming is a well-paying industry, but only for those who are willing to put in long hours and hard work,” says Shukul.
He also cautions gaming students from starting on their own immediately after acquiring the required skills. “It is always better to learn the basics about the sector by joining an established firm. A few years’ experiences will go a long way in stabilizing your skill-sets and making you ready to strike out on your own,” adds Shukul.