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Notes from Game Developers Conference in Pune

Last updated on: November 24, 2011 11:55 IST

Notes from Game Developers Conference in Pune

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Get Ahead reader Bhautik Joshi attended the Nasscom Games Developers Conference 2011 in Pune. His observations on gaming industry's future in India.

Bhautik, a commerce graduate from Mumbai University, currently works with Barclays Technology Center India, in Pune.

Pune played host to this year's Game Developers conference promoted by Nasscom which brought bigwigs and delegates from all walks of Indian and Global gaming industry at this event, Rajesh Rao from Dhruva Interactive played the perfect host across this 2 day event that had an impressive line-up of distinguished experts & speakers from the Industry.

Inaugural session by Mark Skaggs (SVP – Product Development) from Zynga brought out the thought behind the process of connecting people with very simple and fun to play games, surely watering your Farmville farms may seem to be a petty task to you, however developers rack their brains hard enough to ensure Zynga as a company is able to Acquire and Engage customers while offering games free to play with lot of variety that makes customers keep coming back to play these games at the same time the company is also able to build on monetization opportunities effectively.

Zynga currently has an active user base of 230 million active users hooked playing line up of popular games like Farmville, Cityville, and Fishville etc. Mark faced interesting questions from audience around social gaming and his overall view on the gaming industry which turned out to be quiet an interactive session.

Other key speakers at the event included Atin Bose (Country Manager - Sony Computer Entertainment), Samir Bangara ( COO, Indiagames), Rahul Razdan ( President, iBibo), Vishal Chinchankar(VP - Digital Media & VAS Head - Reliance DTH), Manvendra Shukul (CEO, Lakshya Digital), Ian Livingstone (Life President at Eidos), Pauline Jacquey (MD – Ubisoft, India), Pratik Murarka (Idea guy at Idealabs Interactive), Vishal Gondal (CEO - Indiagames) with Vishal Golia (CEO, Gamiana) and Chetan Shah (IAN Member).

Also Read: Get Ahead Gadgets and Gaming

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Image: Nasscom Games Developers Conference 2011, Pune
Photographs: Bhautik Joshi
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Notes from Game Developers Conference in Pune

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This event covered some important topics around the State of Indian Gaming industry today, Delivering Quality and insightful session on entrepreneurship and VC funding in Gaming industry, while the gaming industry is growing simultaneously under the cloud of Console + Web + Mobile and DTH platform there is no dearth of game developers who are growing by leaps and bounds today in India who carry the baton of promoting India as an important gaming development hub amongst other countries.

No other country currently apart from India presents the kind of opportunity that lies with DTH gaming segment which has potential of strong growth ahead because of the upcoming regulation guideline laid by TRAI to digitize CAS (Conditional Access System) across the country by 2014, Developers stand to get immediate access to consumer market which probably would have had no exposure to PC/ Smartphones/ Web, Brands are ready to invest towards In-Game adverts via DTH games which may look retro Atari style games by graphics standards but this does not matter till the time operators and publisher can earn money out of it.

Social sites like Ibibo are willing to back promising game developers by providing initial guaranteed marketing support to promote their games and once their games start getting popular and noticed by gamers, they provide further promotional assistance to such developers to popularize content by tracking the time spent on games with good potential.

Mobile gaming is poised to touch a revenue potential of $13.4 billion by 2013 which was one of the interesting stats shared by Ian Livingstone from Eidos during his keynote. A gamer is no longer a nerd sitting in front of a computer juggling his fingers on a keyboard; surging mobile subscriber growth in India is serving as a catalyst for causing a heavy shift for developers to make games for iOS, Symbian and Android mobile operating systems along with java games suitable for even low end mobile phones, the confusion increases though on how to adapt an effective development strategy due to decreasing size of computing devices and increasing screen size of mobile devices. Microsoft team showcased potential of XNA platform for developers to be used on Windows enabled mobile devices that combines gaming portability for PC-Xbox 360-Windows Phone and Zune.

Also Read: Get Ahead Gadgets and Gaming

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Image: Participants at Nasscom GDC 2011 in Pune
Photographs: Bhautik Joshi
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Console gaming faces a lot of challenges especially for developers in India where they need backing and support from credible publishers and even angel investors to provide them economy of scale which can be further passed down to consumers with economy in Pricing. Investing in a new IP or working on an existing IP carry equal challenge for working on a console title and it is as risky as investing time and money in a Bollywood or Hollywood movie and pinning hopes of it getting successful by the time it releases. We hardly see a credible console game title coming out of India for the global market; however a company from Hyderabad has taken a bold step in developing India's first PS3 game Smash 'n' Survive which looked stunning from its teaser trailer and gameplay video in terms of the quality of work coming from a firm called Zen Technologies which was nowhere related to gaming, formed a gaming division Version 2 Games and went through a roller coaster ride developing their first game funded by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

The panel of speakers also highlighted the fact that India is no longer viewed only as a hub for ITES/ BPO industry, Global gaming companies are placing trust on our capability to provide IP protection, delivering quality at competitive cost and having enough talent that can be nurtured to the next level provided the awareness is brought to a right level amongst parents considering gaming as a career options for their children, In my view a profession like gaming is purely driven by your creative ability, money spent on learning and skills acquired if not applied the right way even the costliest course under the roof would prove futile. Pauline Jacquey (Ubisoft) touch based on the need for doubling the quality of work being delivered out of India in the coming period of less than 5 years in the wake of increasing inflationary pressure witnessed in our economy, the competitive advantage would vanish fast on pricing as cost of development heads up, other countries are picking up on quality too.

Also Read: Get Ahead Gadgets and Gaming

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Image: College students checking out a gaming console at Nasscom GDC 2011
Photographs: Bhautik Joshi
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Other sessions organised were around topics like importance of design and colour in game development, evolution of 3D art in gaming and also information on Gaming laws prevalent in India. A game developer or start up development firm needs to have a firm business model in place to get right support at the right time, they need to believe in what they plan to work upon and as a team execute their plans at the right moment, they need to engage and interact with gamers from all walks of our life and give them what they want, Digital game download figures in volume are also set to take over volume of physical goods sold via retail channel approaching year 2013, as rightly quoted by Ian Livingstone if you are not going digital you are living in a dinosaur age.

Gaming industry in India has the potential to take over Bollywood movie business in coming years, what we are now seeing with games like Modern Warfare 3 collecting $400 million in 24 hours after going on sale overtaking first day collection of the recent Harry Potter movie, there was period in between where console gaming hype boxed game business with increased complexity and too much reliance on graphics, I remember being scoffed by relatives during my childhood and teenage days for having a strong liking towards gaming, however social networking and mobile computing brought the casual gamer back on the scene which we could see today in our mother's/sisters or wife engaged busy with their farms on Farmville, or probably your grandma or grandpa developing a fancy for Angry birds game or else your dad joining you for a gaming duel on your PS move/Nintendo Wii/MS Kinect, Nasscom hosted a great event which I am sure would continue growing ahead in popularity not just with the developers but the overall gaming community as well. Game On India, keep playing!

Also Read: Get Ahead Gadgets and Gaming

Reader Invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Nasscom GDC 2011 in Pune
Photographs: Bhautik Joshi
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