Multiplayer online games are taking the world by storm these days. Names such as PUBG and Fortnite are no doubt too familiar already - with the former being massive in India right now, but Dauntless is a relatively new one that has also received a lot of recognition. Available for PC and consoles, the game attracted over 10 million players just a couple of weeks after its launch back in May.
While the game was published by Epic Games and made by San Francisco-based studio Phoenix Labs, hundreds of its assets including characters, costumes, vehicles, creatures, and props were created by Lakshya Digital – an Indian company that has had a 15-year-long history of working with renowned game developers and has contributed to many notable triple-A titles such as Elder Scrolls Online, Just Cause 3, and Sea of Thieves.
During an interview, Lakshya Digital’s CEO Manvendra Shukul explained that up until just a couple of years ago, game artists didn’t know what the global audience expected in terms of quality. Now, they are getting more and more freedom and say in the development process of even the top projects. They are no longer just task developers, but have gradually become more like partners to big companies, he said.
Shukul does make a great point. Not only is India becoming a lucrative market for games, but it’s also being regarded as the provider of talented individuals needed to develop modern games. Statistics from KPMG shows that the number of game development companies located in the country is currently 275, which is a massive growth compared to the 25 of a decade ago.
Well-known French developer Ubisoft already has 2 studios located in India and is also currently working with IIT Mumbai on implementing artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) into game automation. Meanwhile, Rockstar Games – creator of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption – acquired Dhruva Interactive just last May, which is a studio based in Bangalore that has contributed to Spiderman and Forza Horizon 3 among other games.
It’s clear that game companies across the globe are starting to make a beeline to tap the Indian talent.
Oliver Jones, director of game studio Bombay Play feels that the talent pool has expanded greatly in recent years. This has opened up opportunities for India to develop its own ecosystem that is no longer isolated.
Jones also believes that the game industry has come to a point where most new AAA titles would have something coming from an Indian team – be it content design, asset creation, or quality assurance.
The increasing involvement of global game developers and publishers at various events such as the Unite India conference from Unity Technologies is also proof of an active developer scene in major cities like Pune, Hyderabad, or Bangalore. Look at the India Game Developer Conference as an example: Taking place at Hyderabad last week, it featured the attendance of EA Sports, Tencent, Riot Games, Imangi Studios, and many others.
These events unite developers from all over the world, offering them a chance to collaborate, share knowledge, and showcase their creativity. The gaming industry in India is no longer just about players. Nowadays, there’s a much stronger focus on game development. Previously, nobody was really interested in making their own game, but just within the past two or three years, over 200 game development studios have popped up.
In order to grow, the gaming industry requires not only players, but also those who contribute to the ecosystem.
Parents too are now starting to look at game development as a viable career for their kids. Today, developers have access to a huge global market with massive financial returns, which has made the industry very attractive for youngsters. Also, tools like Cocos, Unreal Engine, or Unity have significantly boosted the development efficiency, making the process cheaper and more accessible than ever.