At the India Gaming Summit, held last week, the country’s videogame industry looked determinedly towards a bright future
Crysis, danceMELA, Need for Speed, and FIFA — video-gamers, across the city, will readily recognise these popular games. For non-gamers, however, they may not ring any bells: The Indian video-gaming fraternity is still small. Overseas, however, video-gaming — a billion-dollar industry — sees professional gamers earn up to $50,000 per year.
Lack of a proper distribution system for the games, and PCs that lack hardware powerful enough to support high-end games, are some of the problems plaguing the industry in the city.
Prakash Bagri, director of marketing, Intel, outlines another area that needs improvement: "When it comes to broadband penetration, India stands the lowest among developing countries. Proper broadband requirement is an essential feature for the growth of online gaming." Affordability of the games is also a deciding factor, when it comes to buying a particular title.
The recent launch of India-centric games like danceMELA, Zapak Girls etc, has piqued public interest. Sashi Reddi of PC game creator, FX Labs, adds, "The future of gaming in India lies with the localisation of games. It needs to appeal to people at large, beyond the cities and towns." Proper marketing will ensure that people from all demographics will be made aware of the latest games.
Despite the numerous obstacles, all sectors involved in the gaming industry are confident that the future of gaming in India is bright. The demand for the games, it appears, is far ahead of supply. In India, there are about three million online gamers, of which, 40 per cent are women. The number, experts say, is likely to rise threefold, by 2010. Online games are a big hit as they can be played on a PC, at home, in a cyber café, or even on mobiles. Add arcade and CD-based games into the mix and gaming in India looks all set for blast off.
Even gamers are optimistic. "There are lots of new and international companies coming onto the scene, which is helping create awareness about the games," says Saishyeam Haridas, a member of team 3GP. Gaming may take time to become a serious profession in India, but increased awareness will play a crucial role in it doing so.
Live2own and V-Street are two Internet portals run by gamers. As Adil Bhave of live2own, says, "Only gamers know what gamers want." The aim of these portals is to increase the standard of videogames in India and make them a proper sport, like they are abroad.
6 months ago