Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Gaming is no Child's Play!?

Last Friday, when I stepped in to the Novotel hotel to attend the IGDC 2019 -in an attempt to get a ringside view of the Indian Gaming industry, I kind of lost my way!

There were a bunch of Class VIII students -who were pitching their games, after having learnt a few new design applications! The energy was palpable as they could legitimately spend time playing more games, and interact with gamers who producted them!!

The place seemed to be teeming with hundreds of youngsters-in early twenties,in what seemed like a hitech kumbhamela of sorts. Gadgets galore across all across, with huge stages, people keyed in-with headsets in front of monitors,it seemed an ecosystem of digital content creators, brands and agencies!

The 11th edition of the India Game Developer Conference, held at Hyderabad, was  held as part of India Joy 2019, the premier gaming, media, and entertainment event. With several talks, workshops, panel discussions, and esports tournaments, the conference showcased how India is becoming a game hungry nation.

It was interesing to note, apart from the usual tracks, business, design, art, technology,      applied games, I was impressed there was one that had 'career' as a focus. A great plaform for young professionals/aspirants to get a feel of what it takes to be successful in the Gaming industry. Loved the thoughts/deliberations that the different speakers shared- including what is expected of freshers- how do they design their portfolios etc! 

I must admit it was a little mindboggling at first -especially since I was conscious that I really didnt have any experience in playing mobile games -nor was I aware of the several genres associated ( at best, wondered how the millenials got so carried away by the hours of thumbing!). So it was enlightening to know, amongst other stuff, the kind of details a 2D artist gets into, a 'character sketch artist' actually spends hours of learning anatomy- to be able to come up with realistic figures!

While I have grappled to understand how to use instagram,or snapchat, and wondered at the pace of it I have had a fleeting affair with a couple of videos on tik tok. I realise it was increasingly necessary for me to come with terms -and accept that I could not longer be tech-averse- and atleast appreciate the changes as it happen! The key note speeches -sensitised me on how -in a period of less than 18 months, India has seen millions of people getting to 'PUBG with each other', and how there was even a Premier League (MPL) that had captured the attention of all the 'gig economy' adopting developers -who could now produce games for more millions..playing not just pool or card games, but also quizzes, cricket!

Hey presto..it stuck me -we were in the midst of increased bandwidth, 4G, 5G..and folks spending more time on mobile phones -and less and less on web. This is indeed the #futureofwork!                                                                                                                                       

Perhaps it was indeed the #signoftimes-that the key note speaker on the second day- in a Gaming conference - was a pioneer from the Animation industry!! Rajeev Chilaka of Green Gold Animation sharing his story of gowth of Chhota Bheem-the company had gone beyond making animation films, (including providing services to other labels for sustaining their revenues), licensing, merchandising, reail, TV films, Apps and Games. And banking on the new media -OTT- they even launched a global extension- Little Mighty Bheem for cover an international market of over 100 countries, riding on the network on Netflix!

And would you believe it? 

Telangana Government has actually had its act together to getting investment to Hyderabad by providing exclusive infrastructure -providing plug n play office spaces in a building called IMAGE -an acronym for Innovation in Animation, Multimedia, Gaming and Entertainment! And yes, they are also on the verge of announcing a new tie up with foreign Universities to usher in the best and latest curriculums required to keep in sync with the changing world!

This is indeed a new new world. It is said that there are almost 300 game development companies in India..which is likely to be a 12000 Crores industry in 3 years -and over 2 crore gamers in India.

And yes, the future looks promising..as there is a yet another unconventional career opportunity for professionals..opening up!

And it is indeed ironical that one feels the gaming industry starves for talent!!? Time to change the way we all look for talent?

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