Gaming: 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.

A by-product of the booming IT, ITES (information technology enabled services) and the BPO (business process outsourcing) sectors, the gaming industry, born out of the leisure pursuits of IT geeks, has become a major global industry in its own right. And not only in the US and Japan, but also in slow-coach India where only 3 percent of the countrys 160 million households have internet connectivity.

A rising star of Indias entertainment sector, the annual revenue of the countrys nascent gaming industry is estimated at $45 million (Rs.194 crore). According to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), the sales revenue of Indian gaming companies touched $30 million (Rs.129 crore) in 2005 and is expected to rise to $830 million (Rs.3,695 crore) by 2012. The global gaming industry is expected to reach $40 billion in annual revenues by 2012.

Currently, specialist divisions and subsidiaries of IT megaliths as well as garage start-ups are providing 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 all set to experience boom conditions as access and broadband connectivity rates improve significantly. Against this backdrop of a fast-developing transnational gaming industry, theres no dearth of career options as Indias reputation as the next gaming hub is growing by leaps and bounds.

The process of 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, pre-production concept artist, modeller, texture artist, lighting environment artist, creative writer and FX artist, game coder, level designer, technologist/programmer.

Graduates from engineering, fine arts, science, and commerce streams, are employable in 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 study and preparation programmes in this field are:

Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai, which offers a bachelors in fine and applied arts (BFA) with specialisation in visualization

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 graduation, post graduation and several short-term diploma courses in gaming

Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation (AIGA), Bangalore, offers diploma courses ranging from 8-12 months

The digital 3D modelling and animation and digital interactive multimedia programmes of NIIT, Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune, and Aptechs Skill Builder study 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.2 lakh-plus per annum which can rise to Rs.3-6 lakh within two years. Salaries at the top are for the asking.

Indias 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. My company which is into MMOGs, was the first to create Indias multiplayer online dancing game called Dance Mela,” claims Nimit Panpalia, 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.

A commerce graduate of SIES College, Mumbai, Panpalia has considerable experience of the internet domain, having worked with and prior to signing up with Kreeda Games in 2007. 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,” asserts Panpalia.

With its labour cost advantage, India has the potential to become a hub for outsourced work in the gaming industry, subject to availability of trained professionals. Unfortunately theres a tremendous dearth of game testers, animators, content managers etc. Moreover, theres 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.

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