As gaming takes off, demand for design & engg skills soar

SEP 09, 2021

The pandemic led to a surge in gaming globally, as people stayed indoors. The result was a rush of global companies to India in a hunt for game development talent, as well as a mushrooming of gaming ventures in India.

Global game behemoths Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Rockstar are expanding their India facilities. British video game developers Kwalee and Splash Damage have been looking for talent here. Lila Games, founded last year by US and Indian gaming professionals and which is building a mobile shooter game, will have its biggest presence in Bengaluru. Fantasy sports platforms like Mumbai-based Dream11 are already on a dream run. Indian online Ludo platforms are winning audiences worldwide. Nodding Heads’ game launched last year – Raji: An Ancient Epic – has been a breakthrough for the country.

Biren Ghose, president of Technicolor India an animation and game development company, says Karnataka alone has seen some 70 gaming startups emerge in the past two years.

Ashwin Jaishanker, co-founder and CEO of AutoVrse, which has been offering AR\u002FVR (augmented reality and virtual reality) solutions for industrial training and which is now looking to make a VR-based game, says the gaming ecosystem in India has changed over the last few years as the barriers to entry have come down.

That’s in part because Unity and Unreal Engine the two platforms most used to develop mobile and desktop games – have released their source codes. This, Jaishankar says, has made it easy for game developers to create games at a more rapid pace.

Ubisoft’s Pune studio has more than 1,200 people and has become the second-largest quality control department within the company. The studio also houses a production team that co-develops several Ubisoft titles. The company’s website shows 36 vacant positions in Pune, in areas like backend programmer, game tester, R&D engineer, and senior artist.

Electronic Arts, which has its office in Hyderabad, has over 650 employees here and is hiring in areas like senior game product manager, software engineer and content artists.

India’s big advantage is its huge number of engineers and programmers. Jaishanker says game developers should know the fundamentals of programming, know C++ and C-sharp. For the VR games he is planning, 3D design skills are also needed.

AI/ML is entering gaming in a big way now. These are being used to improve customer experience by matching the right set of players, to provide personalised experiences, and to assist in fraud detection.

The gaming industry did not need engineers with a background in AI and ML even five years back, but right now they are the most in demand with some of the best paid positions,” says Prashant Joshua, head of product at game publisher Mobius Development Studio

Mobius CTO Jayanth Tadinada says when a user signs up, the system builds a profile of the user, in terms of income level, expense on the platform, credit rating. This is used to send alerts if the gamer is seen to be spending too much of his\u002Fher monthly income on the games. “All of these are part of the responsible gaming index done through AI,” he says.

One area where India lags is game design – what kind of player engagement your game should have, what emotions it should drive, how do you keep the gamer playing. Given that India is mostly a mobile game playing country, creating game designers for PCs and consoles is even more difficult. The investment needed for the latter is substantial.

We are good in technology, in engineering skills, we have good artists. But all of them lack a deep understanding of design and economy of games (economy is about building hooks in the game to drive purchases),” says Avinash Pandey, co-founder of Lila Games.

Game engines do make it easy to get things done. But in order to build bigger and challenging games, Pandey says, developers need to have strong fundamentals.,msid-86058710/86058710.jpg

Gaming is bringing a huge B2C business in the digital world In the last three years, the number of users have grown to 433 million from just 50 million. 70 gaming start ups have come up in Karnataka in the last 24 months.

Biren Ghose, president, Technicolor India,msid-86058723/86058723.jpg

When you innovate something, your fundamentals have to be strong. You can learn any programming language but the best way to build your base is to do lots of practicals and start making small games when you are in college.

Avinash Pandey, chief technology officer and co-founder, Lila Games,msid-86058738/86058738.jpg

Building VR games is more difficult as you need a better immersive experience. However, the ecosystem in India has changed over the last few years as the barriers to entry have come down

Ashwin Jaishanker, co-founder and CEO, AutoVrse,msid-86058752/86058752.jpg

The gaming industry did not need engineers with a background in AI and ML even five years back but right now they are the most in demand with some of the best paid positions.

Prashant Joshua Mandapalli, CEO, Mobius Development Studio,msid-86058776/86058776.jpg

One of the ways in which Indian games can be taken abroad and to the masses is if we focus on our mythologies, which deals with fights, wars and weapons.

Piyush Kumar, founder and CEO, Rooter,msid-86058799/86058799.jpg

Customer requirements for gaming have gone up, development cycles have come down, we now see more gamers from the tier II and III towns and all this has led to a 3X increase in the number of cyber attacks.

Sidharth Pisharoti, regional VP, Media & Carrier, Akamai Technologies

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