Future of Gaming in India

The last decade especially the previous year has witnessed a boom in the gaming industry all over the globe. When the world went into a lockdown and everyone was trying to fight boredom, gaming and online TV streaming came out to be the only top contenders. Since gaming also provided us a way to chat and hangout with our buddies in the virtual world it attracted people of all age groups which are generally not the target audience of a game. Games like among us, Ludo and online chess connected so many family and friends that a time slot was fixed when every family member or friend would have to leave their ongoing work and join the game to spend some quality time with their loved ones. Games such as Call Of Duty Mobile and Valorant were the most played games of 2020 in the mobile and PC category respectively. Another reason for this explosion in the gaming market in India can be Jio. In the last few years Jio has single handedly changed the online footprint of India by providing fast, reliable and cheap internet connection to even the most remotely located areas of India. The internet connection in India is now at par with the western world. And since a strong and fast connection goes hand in hand with gaming performance, it may be one crucial factor in this rise. The market value of Indian gaming industry in the financial year 2020 was 90 Billion INR and is expected to cross the 140 Billion mark by the end of 2022. Another important factor here is the increasing availability of affordable smartphones and other gaming devices. The price of smartphones are decreasing tremendously day by day with advancement in technology, for the same price you can now buy a much better smartphone probably from the same brand which you could have got previous year or even previous month. This has made it possible for a smartphone to reach deep inside rural families. Being the gateway to the gaming world these smartphones have attracted many to join the gaming community and continue to do so with almost 370 million mobile gamers as of now.

Even though the Indian gaming society is skyrocketing still it is not able to convert or provide successful career options for the most. And there are a lot of reasons behind this including our biases as an Indian society. The public of India largely includes people that are very cautious and still haven’t been able to accept unconventional career options such as gamers or streamers or infact anything other than Doctors and Engineers as a profession. Parents in India are very much involved in life and career decisions of their children unlike the western world where parents don’t want to interfere and want their child to make his own life changing decisions. One can’t argue that this one is right and the other one is wrong as both the parents from opposite sides of the globe have only got the love for their child as the core for their decision. Now since Indian parents are so much involved and haven’t been able to accept professional gaming and streaming as a career yet, they try to pull their children away from these and push them towards more mainstream professions. And I think it is what we would have done as well in their place. Parents find it difficult to push their children to a life which they know nothing about, any parent would rather opt for a stable and convenient job option for their dear ones.

Another hurdle for the Indian gaming community can be the absence of a strong internet connection. Surely the internet quality has improved manifolds since the Jio revolution took place in India, but it has been mainly focused on improving the mobile data quality and not the Wi-Fi which is almost mandatory for a smooth online gaming experience. Most of the houses in India today don’t support an active wifi connection and are dependent on their mobile data for any online activity. So when these mobile data users try to join the world of gaming they are welcomed with a lagging experience bad enough to turn anybody away.

Absence and lack of media covering the gaming news and events unlike other offline sports has also stopped many from choosing a career of their passion. A professional gamer doesn’t even get a slice of fame compared to other sports such as cricket. Since India’s gaming community consists largely of mobile gamers with just a few into PC gaming, the gaming companies don’t generally provide an exclusive server for our country and only do so if they receive an overwhelming response. The four qualified gamers from India for the Fortnite champion series in 2019 had to depend on the UAE or Singapore’s server as India didn’t have one at that time, this put them at a disadvantage over other players.

Another baseless notion about gamers is that they are lonely people who don’t go out much and have no friends; this statement has absolutely no basis. Gamers in fact are a lot closer to their virtual friends than one might think. If you watch their streams you will get to know that they can be the friendliest people on the planet if they are comfortable with you.

It’s time to address these issues and see the world without such biases and prejudice. Because the rising gaming industry is not only a means of entertainment but has also brought many attractive job options in the Indian market which are not limited to just playing games. Other talents such as designers, story writers, animators, audio engineers are also much needed to keep the games rolling. If gaming is your passion and you are pretty good at it you can choose it as a career. Who would want to work a nine to five job when you can have a career in gaming. Although this is quite a tough job where you must be cream of the crop to get selected for an e-sports team where you can finally have a chance to prove yourself. Once you reach the top of that ladder the money is hefty plus all the fame you get.

If you are not that competitive and just like to play for fun you can always stream your games on twitch and YouTube to build a career as a streamer. But the growth is very slow and tests your patience, you might have to wait for ten years to finally get a nice paycheck out of it. But if you are fun or you have some other talent which people enjoy you can be a star in almost no time. Just make sure to be consistent with your streams and videos and don’t ever lose hope.

Apart from these mainstream careers one can also choose to be a game designer, game artist or a game animator. If gaming is your hobby and designing your passion what could be the perfect career match for you other than this. Being a game enthusiast you can design exactly what a gamer would like to see in the game. It’s like designing yourself a game plus you also get a hefty salary. If you are that guy from YouTube who posts bugs and glitches and how to abuse them you can try going for a game tester. Try out unreleased games before anyone and give feedback to the developers. Games now are more like a movie where they include a backstory to involve people more and more. And if you have got yourself a talent in story writing plus a love for gaming why not become a storywriter for games? Finally why work for someone else when you can be your own boss and start a business in gaming be it a high-end gaming cafe, an e-sports team or launch a very own made in India game. All these are options that have been very successful in other countries and are not yet popular or active in India. Keeping aside the professional gaming and streaming career all the other careers are relatively new to the Indian market and have a lesser competition. There are many courses and degrees specifically designed for the gaming industry which can help you grab a dream job. The Indian gaming industry is still far away from its destination with many empty seats onboard. The journey might not be that smooth but you would love every part of it.

-Priyanshi Mishra (Freelancer)

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