Researching the Videogame Industry in India: Naive Questions That I Asked Myself Over A Year Ago

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Just found this while clearing my Dropbox junk. Fresh from the UK and with a lot more enthusiasm than I have now, I framed these questions for an academic at one of the famous 'centres' of research in India who had requested such a list. The said academic never replied. Wonder why.

Possible areas of research on the Indian gaming and animation industry

India has been the sleeping giant of the videogame industry for over a decade.  With a billion strong population , India’s image as a potential market for the industry is strong both within the country and abroad.  International players such as Sony,  Ubisoft  and Zynga  are setting up units and testing labs here.  India also has a large number of experienced programmers, creative artists and animators – all three of these being key roles in the videogame industry. Not many academic and training institutions, however, make the connection between animation, programming and the creative arts with the videogame industry. Those that do so concentrate more on either the animation or the programming aspect of game design and they generally do not focus on the sociocultural aspect of gaming that the industry needs to stay informed about; further, they do not take into account the concerns of the Indian gaming industry as such. More traditional academic disciplines also do not engage with the videogame industry in the country. A few key questions, relevant for both businesses and academia, keep arising and remain unanswered. Any academic research on the subject should take into account the following:

1.       Is there a videogame industry in India? How can we describe the videogame development work going on here?
2.       What is the role of outsourcing in the industry today? What percentage of the market is comprised of international companies employing Indian professionals and in what job roles (usually to work on small sections of a large game project)?
3.       The level of animation and AI programming.
4.       What considerations do game companies make when deciding to market games in India? Often both the product delivery and the marketing may not be suited to Indian consumers. Indian companies that have entered the market also haven’t yet carried out much research into consumer preferences.
5.       The role of software piracy and the game industry in India.
6.       Globalisation and ‘glocalisation’: how the global and the local have interacted in the Indian videogame industry. An interesting comparison would be with South Korea and Japan.
7.       Games on local themes.  How much has been done in the area of conceptualising and scripting games?
8.       The mobile game market: why Indian game developers preferred the mobile platform and the pros and cons of this.
9.       Games and the film industry: why the Hollywood model has not worked in India.
10.   The videogame industry and e-learning companies: how e-learning companies view videogames.
11.    The ‘indie’ gaming scenario:  ‘indie’ or independent game development.
12.   Development of middleware, hardware and game consoles. India’s  role in this compared to other Asian countries and to developing economies like Brazil.
13.   Marketing games, game revenue sectors. Which are the highest paying games?
14.   Fan base. Demographic data on the Indian gamers. Fan responses.
15.   Serious games and the videogame industry:  any potential areas where the videogame industry can contribute in other areas of life such as education, health, business (advertising through ‘adver-games’) among others.

The above are only some areas on which work needs to be done and I’m sure the scope can be extended much further.  

Thus spake Souvik one year ago. 

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