Most of us have played video games when we were kids and hoped we could keep playing video games for a living.
Can it get better than this? Play video games and get paid for it. Sounds like a dream right?
Well, it certainly is true in these times as India is now home to a lot of companies which are making games - mobile games to a large extent.
India is the biggest consumer of mobile games in Asia. That's right, almost every 3rd person owns a smartphone and probably plays Candy Crush or Subway Surfer whenever one finds time.
The Indian mobile gaming market, one of the fastest expanding markets in the world, is expected to grow to USD 571.6 million by 2016.
We have gaming companies like EA, Zynga, Games2win, India Games, Hungama, Apar games and atleast a dozen more smaller indie game studios.
So what comes to the mind when we talk about a career in gaming? Play games and get paid for it? Is that it?
Not really. Game development is exactly like software development. Well the game is just code right?
Like any other software company, a gaming company also functions in a similar way. There are projects, there are agile systems in place, there is a development team, there is a QA team, there is a product management team, a community management team, sales, marketing, finance, HR etc. The difference is, there are arts teams here, there are designers, artists and the whole industry is very casual when it comes to the office environment - it is the gaming industry after all.
The career opportunities in the gaming field are immense. If you like playing games a lot and if you are good at finding out bugs, then Quality Assurance might be good for you. You start off as a QA Tester testing games and eventually growing up the ladder and reach a position of a QA Project Manager or even a QA Manager based on your skills and experience. These roles require very strong project management and people skills.
If you are interested in game development, then you need to know the software for it. When it comes to mobile games, you need to know Java, C, C#, need to understand the android SDK and Xcode for iOS. It is basically building software and you start off as a software engineer and can go on to different positions like software engineer -1, 2, 3 etc. You can also go on to become a Development Manager and eventually other positions.
You can also be a Producer of games - which means that you will be owning the game completely. You will decide what needs to go into the game, what features will be good for a game, the planning, sitting down with the artists to create characters, design elements, design the different levels, talking to the marketing team, planning the project for the software development team, QA, distribution team, working along side the development management team, product management team etc.
And there is a Product Management role where the person looks at sheer numbers - number of people playing the game, number of users acquired, users engagement, find out what the users are liking in the game, which features are working the most, how are the users navigating inside a game, what are the pain points for the users, problems being faced by the users and finding solutions for those problems etc. This requires a very good understanding of the product, define the vision, get along the other teams onto the vision and work in unity, a lot of research, collection of feedback, and improving the user experience for the customers.
And a lot of mobile games these days are based on the freemium model. The games can be downloaded and played for free. The user can opt to pay when he/she is stuck at a level or is waiting for a 'life' but will take a few hours, or to buy that shiny dress for the character in game etc.
Mobile gaming industry in India is growing and with the penetration of smartphones with affordable internet packs, the stats say that almost every smartphone owner plays a game for at least 7 minutes in a day on an average. A person in the age group of 15-35 plays a game for atleast 26 minutes in a day on an average and spends upto 3 hours on different mobile apps.
And these numbers are bound to increase with mobile phones getting better and the games getting better with their content, visual appeal, game engines and user experience.
If you are looking to find out about more career opportunities in the gaming industry, talk to our experts here.