Exciting careers in the gaming industry

Against the backdrop of a fast developing transnational ITES gaming industry, there’s no dearth of career opportunities as India establishes a reputation as the next gaming hub

gaming industryA by-product of the booming IT, ITES (information technology enabled services) and the BPO (business process outsourcing) businesses, the gaming phenomenon, born out of the leisure pursuits of IT geeks, has become a major global industry in its own right. Not only in the US and Japan, but also in slow-coach India where only 41 percent of the country’s population has Internet connectivity.

A rising star of India’s entertainment sector, the annual revenue of the country’s nascent gaming industry is estimated at $890 million (Rs.6,675 crore). According to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), the sales revenue of Indian gaming companies is expected to rise to $1.1 billion (Rs.8,250 crore) by 2020. The global gaming industry is expected to reach $196 billion (Rs.14.7 lakh crore) in annual revenues by 2022.

Currently, specialist divisions and subsidiaries of IT megaliths as well as garage start-ups are inventing console video, desktop, online, mobile and wireless games at bewildering speed. In particular, the online gaming market which allows contestants separated by vast oceans to play mind games and match skills, is set to experience boom conditions as access and broadband connectivity rates improve significantly. Against this backdrop of a fast-developing transnational gaming industry, there’s no dearth of career options as India’s reputation as the next gaming hub is growing by leaps and bounds.

gaming industryThe process of digital games development generally involves three stages — the creative process (conceptualisation and visualisation), production (graphics, animation, and programming), and finally, testing on a multiplicity of platforms and media (video, desktop, mobile etc). Designations in this sunrise industry range from lead artist, preproduction concept artist, modeller, texture artist, lighting environment artist, creative writer and FX artist, game coder, level designer, technologist/programmer.

Graduates from the engineering, fine arts, science, and commerce streams, are best qualified for this industry. For programming and game design, IT, engineering, and science graduates are generally preferred. In the graphics and concepts divisions, a fine arts background is a prerequisite. For porting and testing (the final stage of game development), individuals with engineering/technical backgrounds are most suitable. For sales and marketing, an MBA or any other degree will do, as long as you are passionate about online gaming.

The best institutes offering study and preparation programmes in this field are:

Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai, which offers a bachelor’s in fine and applied arts (BFA) with specialisation in visualisation
 National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, offers a graduate diploma programme in design with specialisation in communication design and postgrad diploma programmes in graphic design, new media design and animation film design
 The arts faculty of MS University of Baroda, offers a postgrad degree and diploma in graphic arts
 Academy of Animation and Gaming (AAG), with branches in Noida, Delhi, Bhopal and Lucknow, offers bachelor’s, postgraduate and several short-term diploma courses in gaming
 Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation (AIGA), Bangalore, offers diploma courses ranging from eight-12 months

The digital 3D modelling and animation and digital interactive multimedia programmes of NIIT, Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune, and Aptech’s Skill Builder courses are also worth checking out. Certainly any trouble taken to check out career prospects in this sunrise industry is worth the effort. A fresher programmer/designer starts off with Rs.3 lakh-plus per annum which can rise to Rs.4-6 lakh within two years. Salaries at the top are for the asking.

“India’s gaming market is all set to explode. It has the potential to become as big, exciting, and profitable as it is in China, US, Japan, and Korea. With the emergence of MMOGs or massively multi-player online games — huge game communities with lakhs of people playing simultaneously — online gaming is all the rage,” claims Nimit Panpalia, former head of advertising and sales at the Mumbai-based Kreeda Games India Pvt. Ltd, a start-up venture (2006) of three maverick engineers with big dreams and now funded by IDG Ventures and Softbank Bodhi Investment, two of the top venture capitalists in online gaming.

“The most crucial requirement for success in the gaming industry is single-minded passion for computer and online gaming. Creating bestseller games is like making movies; it requires teamwork, actors, and a technical crew,” says Panpalia.

With its labour cost advantage, India has the potential to become a hub for outsourced work for the global gaming industry if it can provide trained professionals. “Unfortunately there’s a tremendous dearth of game testers, animators, content managers etc. Moreover, there’s an urgent need to develop quality gaming syllabuses, curriculums and diploma programmes by computer education institutes such as NIIT, Aptech, MAYA among others,” says Panpalia.

Young people would be well-advised to check out this new rewarding and creatively satisfying career.

(Excerpted from 101 Great Careers for the 21st Century by Indra Gidwani, 2016)

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