NO CHILD’S PLAY

Evolution is the name of the game in this industry. Gaming gained popularity in 1970s and 80s and has since become more accessible. It has also created space for youngsters wanting to turn their hobby into a career.

“In the past gaming was considered as exclusivist. In the last three years or so, especially with the advent of social games, now everybody is a gamer,” said Rahul Razdan, President (Product and Operations) at ibibo.com, a popular gaming Web site.

A growing number of animation and IT institutes have started to offer specialised courses in game development to cater to youngsters wishing to enter this industry.

Deepak Abbot, Product Head, Reliance Entertainment Digital, said, “Five years back, the gaming industry hardly existed in India, hence, we only hired people who loved gaming and then they developed on-the-job specialisations. But things have changed now — we get majority of profiles with good three to four years of experience in game development, game designing, game marketing and so on.”

Zapak.com, a social gaming site, is a subsidiary of Reliance Entertainment Digital.

Job Applications

He added that five years back the company used to get about 10-15 applications a day and today the figure has grown to almost 50 profiles each day. The average age of an applicant in the industry falls in the range of 21 to 35 years.

Rajiv Vaishnav, Vice-President, Nasscom, said one of the major reasons for this change in attitude among youngsters towards gaming as a career is that the “gaming culture” is steadily gaining more ground.

“Game development is a viable career option for students — game programming is close to the IT industry and programmers can harness their own gaming skills,” he added. Razdan added that with mobile gaming and social gaming gaining quick popularity, the industry has now become more competitive and has turned into a serious business. He added that their revenue from gaming has increased by 40 per cent this year.

“Indian gaming industry is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 49 per cent to touch $830 million by 2012, against $167 million in 2008,” Vaishnav said.

Abbot expects the industry to keep growing at 40 per cent a year to become a billion-dollar industry in India.

“We have seen a rise in start-ups in gaming sector over the last two years. There are nearly 50 start-ups that have emerged in mobile, PC and social games. In the next few years, there will be an increased awareness about gaming and more original content will come out of India,” Vaishnav added.

aesha.datta@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 19, 2012)
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