Skills that can help develop an exciting career in gaming

IndGaming has evolved to be one of the fastest growing industries, especially post the 2020 pandemic era with the market size to easily exceed $200b by 2023 at current growth rate. Additionally, the number of gamers worldwide is expected to grow to 3.3b in the next 3 years as well by 2024. Closer home in India though, the market is still maturing and constitutes a much smaller percentage of the global size (in terms of revenue). However, it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30% over the next five years. This is only bound to get bigger with the access to more powerful devices, internet connectivity, and of course - more free time with people. Besides, the advent of cloud gaming services and big tech companies entering the fray with their own gaming platforms (say, Microsoft xCloud, and Apple Arcade) is further going to fuel this growth.

While the gaming business continues to boom; on the other side of the equation - there has naturally been a massive surge in the demand for skilled folks who can design, build, grow and manage these games. Amongst various global economies with gaming workforce, India is fast evolving to be the destination of choice for game development with the rise of a new breed of local players (across both F2P and P2E domains) driving awareness and growth within the ecosystem. Thereby, many western gaming giants have also been setting their eyes on India as a valued game development and operations base. As of 2022, India is seen to have more than 250 game development organizations of varied scale; ranging from smaller indie studios to large organizations like Zynga with a workforce of 500+ and still growing out of their India studio in Bangalore.

At the core of it, game development jobs differ from most typical 9-5 work, purely because the people involved not just create games, but also get the chance to get immersed in the world of gaming – all in a day at work.

It takes an entire crew to build a game (or even a feature within a game) ranging from conceptualisation to development to launching it to then growing and managing it with the varied mechanics built in to engage players. Hence, the kind of roles that the industry offers varies from those being fairly creative in nature - like Game Design and Art & Animation; to the being more of analytical, technical and/or managerial nature - like that of Game Development/Engineering, Product Management, Production, Data Analysts. Though some of these functions are generic and have an overlap with other domains, the role of a Game Designer and a Game Developer/Engineer is more specific to the gaming industry - and expected to have the majority of the demand surge.

In terms of Game Design, the primary set of skill sets needed range from creativity, storytelling ability and knowledge of multi-media software to more softer skills like critical thinking, collaboration, and effective communication. The game designers are at the beginning of the idea inception and play a key role in its evolution, scoping and execution, thereby requiring a good hold of partnering with various other teams like product, engineering, ux/ui and art.

Furthermore, Game Design as a role needs extensive design thinking ability as building a game involves having the ability to imagine, plan and strategize journeys within the game that can allow the players to experience a bunch of tasks, obstacles, progressions and wins within the game.

Most great game designers have a knack for data just as much as their creativity bent as well - and tend to analyse information to develop reasonable solutions. From character development to creating compelling story plots, game designers put themselves in the shoes of the player and create the game to bring in the sense of anticipation, excitement and elation that drives engagement within the game.

When it comes to game development, the focus is on more technical aspects of the building a game. Game developers are expected to have a good grasp of a variety of programming languages like Lua, Perl, C++, and familiarity with game development tools like Unity, Cocos studios etc. In larger games, the development might also include development and/or integration of various internal or 3rd party services to support the basic gameplay.

However, to succeed as a developer, especially in the gaming industry - a fair amount of exposure to interface design, scenery and character representations and other related subjects beyond the core expertise in programming and software development could go a long way.

Besides, game developers need to have the resilience and patience to work in challenging environments at times, resolve technical and UX/animation glitches to help create a gaming experience that is seamless and engaging.

As the gaming ecosystem continues to mature in India, building a career in gaming is expanding beyond just the gaming enthusiasts to technology professionals from other discrete domains also pouring in. The market seems to be reaching its inflexion point with scope for continuous innovation; and offers a bright future for anyone looking to be a part of the next chapter of gaming story we write in this country.