Gaming industry: Getting bigger by the day
Gaming is fast acquiring a leading position in the Indian multimedia industry. The numbers are not mind-blowing just yet and the craze is restricted mostly in larger cities. Yet if there is one new revolution that is taking Indian youth hostage, it is gaming, which is fast emerging into a multi-million dollar business.
According to the apex body of the information technology industry Nasscom, the country's gaming sector would grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 78 percent to reach $300 million by 2009.
An assessment of the gaming craze in India can be gauged by the fact that recently 26,000 gamers in 12 cities participated in the first Indian championship, which was organized by Indiagames.
Gaming in India can be divided into three broad segments.
- Computer games that are delivered on disks or CD- ROMs and played on a PC.
- Video games that use dedicated consoles to play the game.
- Wireless games market that is dominated primarily by games played on mobile phones.
Besides the fact that India promises a huge market with millions of untapped PC users or an exploding mobile phone user population, the country could also be a significant hub for developing games. Here, a game could be developed here for as little as $2 to $5 million, that takes about $5 to $ 10 million anywhere else.
Skill-sets and software
Game development requires specialized skill sets that are not easily available. A good game can be created by the right combination of design, programming and creative effort.
Key skill sets for game development on various media available in India:
PC: Shockwave, Flash, Visual Basic, Java, visual C++, DirectX, Open GL, Graphics software like Adobe Photoshop, animation software like Maya, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave etc.
Console: The respective software development kit, Visual C++, Dire ctx, open GL, Graphics software like Adobe Photoshop, animation software like Maya, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave etc.
Pocket PC: Flash, Embedded Visual C++, Embedded Visual Basic, Personal Java, graphics software like Macromedia Fireworks, Freehand, Adobe Photoshop, animation software like Maya, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave etc.
Mobile phone: Visual C++ for native application development, J2ME, VB, WAP, ASP, JSP, graphics software like Macromedia Fireworks, Freehand, Adobe Photoshop, animation software like Maya, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave etc.
The game industry employs those experienced in other traditional businesses, but some have experience tailored to the game industry. For example, many recruiters target just game industry professionals. Some of the disciplines specific to the game industry include:
- Game programmer
- Game designer
- Level designer
- Game producer
- Game artist
- Game tester
Where can you hone your skills?
Some Indian companies have now started offering courses on game development. One such company is Arena Multimedia; it has started a course called Arena Gaming Specialist Programme, validated by players like Indiagames and Paradox. Says Sudhir Mathur, head of Arena, “Game development is one area where India can emerge as a strong provider of content or programming resources. In the last year itself around 10 Indian companies have ventured into gaming. Globally, game revenues from interactive TV, mobile phones and the Internet are expected to zoom. Industry estimates suggest that by 2006, 529 million people across the world will play mobile, interactive TV and online games. There was a need for trained manpower in this segment. Looking at the demand, and the absence of an industry course to fulfil this demand, we launched this programme.” Arena has structured the course into three levels. It teaches students concepts of animation, game development, including game content design, game engines-driven development, and finally, Java programming to develop interactive games that can be played on mobile devices.
Here are the links to some other schools/institutes where you can train yourself to become a multimedia professional.
Amity School of Fine Arts (www.amity.edu/asfa/default.htm)
School of Audio Engineering (SAE) (www.saeindia.net)
The future for India's game development community looks bright. Take for example the case of mobile gaming. It is the rising star in India's fast growing mobile business. Gaming is the key element in operator's and content developer's strategies to develop new, high value revenue streams, beyond basic voice services and simple text messaging. The growth of this sector has attracted publishers, developers, animators and content providers and is also stimulating the development of innovative business models. Indeed, a huge new market is waiting to be tapped.