Game On

The gaming industry is increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives as technologies like AR, VR, and the metaverse are integrated into console and computer games

Game On

If you’re worried about your child playing online games all day without any prospects, think again. They might have a career as a game developer, game tester, or level designer. However, it’s essential to understand that merely playing games won’t be enough. To become a game developer, they need a strong foundation in gaming, programming skills, drawing abilities, and knowledge of design software. The gaming industry, thanks to the internet, has become one of the most profitable fields globally, offering numerous job opportunities and promising careers. Take the example of Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth, fans of English football fantasy leagues, who wanted to create an IPL-style sports venture. They now own Dream11, one of India’s leading gaming startups.

“A mobile has become a ubiquitous object, ever-present, in everything we do. It dictates how we interact with spaces, people, and artifacts around us. This has driven up the demand for design-driven work in application development and user interface innovation,” said Mudita Pasari, Academic Dean, The Design Village.

In 2023, the global online gaming market raked in about $26.14 billion in revenue, marking a 9.8 percent increase from the previous year. The surge in online gaming started in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which kept people indoors, looking for digital entertainment and new ways to socialise. Worldwide, there are roughly 1.1 billion online gamers, with China, South Korea, and Japan having the highest number of players. India, too, has seen significant growth, with around 421 million online gamers in 2022, an eight percent increase from the previous year, and this number is expected to surpass 442 million in 2023. Notably, around 90 million of these gamers paid for online games.

One can pursue a course in game and mobile app development for an easier career path. Alternatively, you can also build a career in gaming with degrees like BTech in IT, BTech in Computer Science and Game Development, or a BSc in Computer Science. For more advanced options, one can go for MSc in Gaming and Developing, MSc in Graphics Animation and Gaming, and a Diploma in Game Design.

“Game development requires a concept artist, cleanup artist, 2D animator, background artist, 3D model creator, texturing artist, animator, rigger artist etc. Those with a passion for animation or game design are generally great visualisers. Gaming professionals are now expected to depict the character in the game as real and life-like as possible. The same goes for mobile apps, too, even if it is a different platform. Apart from the basic knowledge of gaming, one must have a good understanding of sketching, views, proportions, colour applications, light, atmosphere, textures, dynamics, etc. He has to have an in-depth knowledge of 2D sketching or 3D modelling and colour applications as it is an important part of graphics. The study of user interface (UI) that works on the look and feel of the website or mobile application and user experience (UX) that deals with the ease of use for a website or mobile application is also a key factor that can give one an edge over others when it comes to game developing skills,” said Dipta Joshi, Principal, Lexicon Institute of Media and Animation.

In the gaming industry, professionals can follow various career paths, including game developer, mobile app designer, special effects artist, game tester, character designer, level designer, game audio engineer, game writer, and multimedia specialist. If one is interested in studying abroad, then institutions like Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are some of the best in the world.

Prof Chiranjoy Chattopadhyay, Associate Professor, Computer Science at Flame University, emphasised that there is a strong job market for game design and mobile app development professionals today. “There’s a consistent and growing demand for professionals in these fields, driven by the increasing reliance on mobile apps and the thriving gaming industry. Also, the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to remote work, expanding opportunities for professionals to work from anywhere. Ongoing technological advancements, like AR and VR, are creating new avenues for innovation in these fields,” said Chattopadhyay, who has a Master’s degree in IT from Jadavpur University.

The United States is the leading country for game development, and England, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and China also have thriving game development scenes. In India, the average game developer salary is around Rs 6,91,493 per year, while in the USA, it’s considerably higher at $116,189 (approximately Rs 96 lakh).

“Now, there is a steady need for various front-end developers in particular with skill sets in animation, VFX, digital illustration, 2D and 3D graphics, motion designers, game designers, digital product designers, and UX/ UI specialist, etc. who can directly or indirectly contribute to the front-end development jobs or can introduce or improve the experiences of the digital products including mobile apps. The industry is also flooded with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and immersive technologies. There will be a paradigm shift with the introduction of AI and AR/VR tools just like how computer systems changed the printing industry during the 1990s. The immersive tools will take over traditional design processes people with creative thinking and research abilities, who can provide a new or significant change in product experiences will remain on top. The skill set of future designers and developers will be slightly different compared to the present scenario. Many AI and rendering tools like Midjourney and Dall-e are going to be there in the gaming and UI industry to ease the developers’ jobs. However, the experiential design industry like a digital game designer will thrive on cognitive sciences with an emphasis on developing communication skills, teamwork, and creative thinking skills,” said Snigdha Banerjee, Assistant Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shiv Nadar University, Delhi-NCR.

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