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Career in Online Gaming

Recent reports by Google-KPMG states that the online gaming industry in India is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2021 from the current $360 million, with the online gamers’ community reaching 310 million by then. An offshoot of the thriving IT, ITES and the BPO segments, online gaming germinated from the leisure pursuits of IT geeks. Today, it has emerged as an important global industry in its own right. Though US and Japan remain the main hub of this industry, India with only 3 percent of its 160 million households connected by internet, is also fast growing as a major online gaming industry.

The inside story

Currently, IT majors and start-ups are offering console video, desktop, online, mobile and wireless games at perplexing speed. The online gaming market is poised for unprecedented growth as the digital connect improves extensively. Against this setting of a fast-emerging global gaming industry, career opportunities for India’s youth are believed to be myriad.

It takes a huge amount of discipline, practice and grind to become a pro in this domain, almost akin to any other industry. From the outside, it might seem like a very glamorous profession, but the grind is definitely there. Up until a few years ago Indian online gaming market was only high volume like high DAU (daily active user) and MAU (monthly active user) but they were low value players i.e. monetization was low. But now with real money prize competition, we see that the monetization aspect is on the rise. Real money is catching on in traditional games like solitaire, Ludo and you can see the interest of the public towards these games.

Educational eligibility

Graduates from any field including science, fine arts, commerce or engineering, can look for a career in this industry. IT, engineering, and science graduates will have advantage in programming and game designing. A fine arts background is perfect for the graphics and concepts divisions. For porting and testing, young aspirants having engineering/technical backgrounds are most apposite. For sales and marketing, a degree in business managment is required along with a thorough knowledge of the domain.

List of Study and preparation programmes in online gaming-

Go for a diploma in design along with specialisation in communication design or diploma in graphic design, multimedia, new media design, and animation film design from –
1. Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai
2. National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
3. MS University of Baroda
4. Academy of Animation and Gaming (AAG), with branches in Noida, Delhi, Bhopal and Lucknow
5. Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation (AIGA), Bangalore
6. NIIT,
7. Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune
8. Aptech’s Skill Builder study courses

Initial pay package for a programmer/designer starts with around Rs.2 lakh per year which can increase up to Rs.3-6 lakh in two years.

Challenges

The biggest challenge that exists in the sector is the negative perception of poker and in general card games in India. “When we were starting up, we had to literally educate our investors, banks and everyone around by showing the legal framework. We had to educate the people about the difference between gambling and ‘games of skill’. As per the statistics available, there is more skill in playing and winning in Poker than professional fund managers who manage large stock equity and debt funds,” says Anuj Gupta is the Founder and CEO of Adda52.com, an online Poker site. Another challenge is because the change of perception is slow it is difficult to carry out mainstream campaigns on traditional media, google or Facebook.

Career opportunities in the sector

Online games are developed through conceptualisation and visualization followed by graphics, animation, and programming, and ultimately by experimenting on a multiplicity of platforms and media including video, desktop, mobile and such like. Aspirants can look for profiles like game coder, lead or pre-production concept artist, designer, technologist/programmer, modeller, texture artist, lighting environment artist, creative writer and FX artist,.

Earlier developing the game meant creating a blockbuster to gain sales. Then there are monetary models like in-app purchase (of virtual goods related to the game and ability to play it better). Traditionally in India this would give large volumes of play in high DAU and MAU numbers but low earnings per active customers. But now there is a paradigm shift in the business models. With successful real prize money models cropping up and challenging the previous models, there is an uncharted territory for entrepreneurs. There is a vast scope in taking popular games and gaming concepts and build new monetisation models around it. The strategy needs to be changed and a different approach adopted. Just think of an empty battle ground that can be captured with the right tools and resources.

Up until a few years ago Indian online gaming market was only high volume low value players. But with the advent of real cash tournaments for ‘games of skill’ new revenue models have emerged. There is still a lot of scope of innovation and improvement for the Indian gaming market and we are still at the tip of the iceberg.

Author: Baishali Mukherjee

Profile- An independent writer and journalist for last nine years; presently working with Education World, Entrepreneur India, Scrabbl.com and Stoodnt.com. Worked as the content head for four books and have articles and features published in leading print and digital media spaces.

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