Is India ready to take up gaming in a big way?
Asian countries, especially Korea, Singapore, Japan, and China, are a decade ahead of us in the field of gaming
"THERE are enormous opportunities in the digital gaming sector. Become a global leader in the field of international digital gaming by creating innovative games based on Indian culture and folklore", says Prime Minister NarendraModi.
It is clear that there is a growing demand for online games in the face of the global digital transformation. Movies, theatre, and sports were some of the entertainment elements in the recent past. But with the spread of digital technology, gaming entered into the computer and mobile screens as a new entertainment opportunity.
Man needs entertainment after his basic needs Roti, Kapada, Makan (food, clothes, and shelter). That is why online, mobile games are rapidly penetrating the life of man. These are attracting the children and young people and enticing the elders and the adults in the house.
In this context, it is up to us to decide whether to satisfy the imported foreign games such as PUBG or online poker or turn it into a business opportunity and create a new industry that promises many new jobs.
Without technical knowledge, people with creativity, drawing skills, and rational thinking can get jobs in this sector. Simultaneously, the aspiring entrepreneurs and startups, which would turn into big companies, will provide revenue in the form of tax to the government, while earning a market share of billions.
If we look globally, the largest gaming companies after the United States are in Korea and Japan. Asian countries, especially Korea, Singapore, Japan, and China, are a decade ahead of us in the field of gaming.
We will be surprised by looking at gaming companies' market value on the Hong Kong and Taiwan stock exchanges. Not to mention that the Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to the realization of opportunities in the digital gaming segment.
People who have been confined to their homes for a long time are spending more time on computers and mobile phones. They are playing games on a mobile phone at some point and also slowly liking them.
Under these circumstances, efforts should be made to excel in the global market and cater to domestic opportunities in the digital gaming segment. What to do to make it possible? What conditions should be created? How to provide infrastructure, human resources, marketing power? How to earn? These are the challenges before us.
Beginning from New York
Computer games may be new for us, but they have six decades of history. The first video game machine was introduced in 1940 in New York. It attracted children and adults. Slowly, video gaming parlours popped up in the main squares and shopping malls in the US and Europe. Video gaming entered home in the 1970s with the design of the home game' to be played on TV sets. Computer games expanded in the 1980s and 1990s and mobile gaming grew after 2010.
Currently, 250 crore people around the world are entertained by playing online computer games. The global gaming industry has an annual turnover that has gone beyond Rs lakhs of crores. On top of that, it is registering at least 10 percent growth annually.
The number of jobs created in this sector is very high. With smartphones and the 4G revolution, the online gaming industry is expanding much faster than expected. Over the last ten months, the number of people attracted to online and mobile games has increased dramatically due to Covid-19.
This culture is spreading in our country as well. We are in a situation where we cannot step out of the home but need some pastime. So, we open a game on a smartphone or in a tab and immerse ourselves in it.
The gaming industry in our country is still in its infancy. It's always a small gaming company. It's an unorganized sector, though several startups, online or computer games were established by some people with a keen interest in gaming.
Some companies tried to take the gaming sector forward. But they did not grow as expected. Industry experts believed that the gaming sector might not achieve industry status like that in Far East Asian countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore.
But the sector rejuvenated by the Covid-19. Enthusiastic entrepreneurs are coming forward as the number of players is increasing, and some state governments like Telangana and the Centre are again focusing on the gaming sector.
In addition to companies already in the segment, some startups have also ventured into the gaming sector. Apart from this, with the prime minister's call, there is a growing hope that the gaming industry can grow as a business sector in our country.
(The author is Managing Director of 7Seas Entertainment Ltd, a Hyderabad-based gaming and animation company)