Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Career in online gaming has a big potential

Being at a nascent stage, the Indian market offers a lot of scope for growth

Online gaming is one of the favourite pastimes for entertainment deprived on-the-run individuals. The development of infrastructure, increasing penetration of the internet and availability of quality games has increased the time spent on this form of entertainment.

Online games play a major role in filling the social void created by the fast paced world which leaves little time to socialise in traditional social settings. They provide users a chance to socialise either by competing with each other or working together to accomplish a game’s objectives.

The Indian gaming market is small as compared to other developed markets such as the United States. This is primarily due to the fact that online gaming is generally limited to Tier I and Tier II cities, where internet penetration is deeper. However, being in the nascent stage, the Indian market offers a lot of potential for growth.

Gaming attracts the predominantly younger section of the market and currently, India boasts of the largest population of the under-25 year old age group. With broadband growing by 25 per cent on a y-o-y basis and reports suggesting that India is poised to have the third largest internet audience in the world by 2013, it is no wonder that all eyes are on India as it looks to turn its population ‘problem’ to an advantage. 

The gaming sector is poised to be one of the fastest growing segments in the entertainment market, and an excellent field for career advancement. According to Nasscom, the global animation and gaming industry has grown 37 per cent from $ 55 billion in 2005 to $75 billion in 2009. The Indian gaming market is estimated to be $950 million in 2009 growing at over 35 per cent from what it was in 2005, a mere $250 million.

The online gaming market is dominated by cricket or games related to cricket including cricket quizzes, flash-based and 3D cricket games among others. With cricket being the most popular sport in the country, the cricket games have become prominent online.

Cricket is a religion in India and online cricket games provide a perfect outlet for fans and fanatics to test their skills.

The online and PC gaming market put together constitutes 24 per cent of the total gaming market in India. Nasscom has also projected that gaming in India will grow by 49 per cent  to reach $830 million by 2012. With broadband connections growing at 66 per cent CAGR, one can expect online gaming to grow exponentially over the next few years.

The percentage of gamers amongst the active internet users increased from 25.3 per cent  to 41.2 per cent  at a massive growth rate of 89 per cent.

There are many online gaming genres including role playing games, massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) and fantasy sports games among others. Fantasy gaming is the latest entrant in this fast evolving sector. It is part of the $5 billion global fantasy sports industry with 60 million people playing worldwide. Fantasy sports, simply put, gives a chance to users to create fantasy teams of real players in their allocated budget of virtual money and score points depending on how those players perform in real-life matches.

This strategic, competitive and engaging game is a true test of knowledge for millions of sports fans around the world. In India, the popularity of cricket has given rise to many fantasy cricket websites which boast of lakhs of players for each major tournament. With cricket being the most popular sport in the country, fantasy cricket is bound to have the biggest fan following as compared to other sports.

Realistically speaking, no other sports in the country can command the same mindboggling number of followers as cricket. With greater number of people joining the bandwagon, computer and video game development has gained importance and promises to offer one a professional outlet for creativity. Enthusiasm and passion are crucial however, and the correct skill and qualifications are essential requirements. Gaming is competitive in nature and there is no reason why the job industry shouldn’t reflect the same attitude.

The high growth potential provides opportunities for a variety of career roles to flourish in the gaming industry. This includes designations such as game developer, game designer, game artist, and game tester which can co-exist in the ecosystem. There are various segments in this industry if someone is serious about making a career in gaming. One can look at a variety of career prospects such as that of a game tester or join the sales and marketing team of an online gaming company.

A person can oversee the production team if he has good skills in project management. Also depending on the interest of the individual, other aspects of careers in online gaming include programming, audio visual, graphics animation and sound.

Important aspect

One of the main requirements to be a part of the gaming industry is to be passionate about what you do. Skill can be acquired but passion is a must.

Game creation involves paying attention to detail, writing a good storyline, designing graphics according the game and more importantly, playing the game! If a person doesn’t like the game, he cannot expect others to like it either.

It’s always imperative to stay informed and connected and also be part of the developer community. A number of publishers and game portal websites are willing to support those in the business of developing games with the resources they require. The current online gaming market is highly competitive yet offers smaller development teams an opportunity to showcase their talent and make some money.

The online gaming industry is akin to other industries. Besides the technical skills required to develop games,  good communication skills, delegation skills, teamwork, multi-tasking abilities, problem diagnosis and problem solving abilities are also required.  Leadership skills also can and need to be honed to handle a team of game developers. A good analytical mind can make or break a game. A good game is intertwined with its storyline and intricate strategies that need to be carefully thought of when finalising the game.

Developing games can be rewarding but playing games is equally rewarding. The new breed of social games such as fantasy cricket helps improve interpersonal skills. One gets to interact and play with total strangers from around the world, all for free!

So if your passion is gaming and you would love to involve the world with your passion, then go ahead and get yourself trained or join a gaming company as a trainee to learn on the job.  There is nothing more rewarding that making others happy while you make all the money!

The writer is CMD, Dream11 Gaming Pvt Ltd

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