"A decade ago, video games were unchartered territory and Tetris (the addictive tile matching puzzle video game that started the craze!) was perhaps the only video game that we were familiar with. Hand held gaming was still in its infancy and consoles were a luxury that only a few could afford. The phenomenon that gaming has now become can be attributed to a string of factors that revolutionised the industry and made it into what it is today," says Manvendra Shukul, CEO of Lakshya Digital, a graduate of Delhi University, and a self-taught programmer.
We talked to Mr. Shukul and he gave us these inputs on how to pursue a career in gaming industry:
The gaming industry
"The gaming industry is estimated to be worth $ 100 billion globally and is the largest segment within the entertainment industry; standalone, it exceeds the movies or music segments. The Indian gaming industry is currently valued at over $300 million or approximately Rs 2000 Crores. With a population of 1.3 billion people and two thirds of them under the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. With this distinct advantage India has the potential to becoming one of the world's leading markets for gaming.
Gaming as profession
"Gaming is not only one of the fastest growing markets in India, it is also becoming a career option of choice for a vast number of talented young students from diverse backgrounds. Game Art professionals are in great demand across the globe. The result is that there is huge employment potential for young aspirants within India as it develops as an outsourcing hub for international gaming companies.
"Career options in the gaming industry range from Game Animation, Game Art Creation in 3D and 2D, Game Design, Game Testing, Game Programming, Project Management, as well as General Management positions.
Courses for Gaming
"Students looking to make a career in the field of game art should consider applying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program from a good university followed by a good training programme that is taught by professionals who can share their knowledge and give hands-on training on tools, techniques, and processes.
"Since there are so many different fragments of this industry, it takes a while for students to discover what field is suitable for them and this usually comes through trial and error therefore it makes sense to enrol in a generalized game art program that provides fundamental training and exposure to each of the areas to enable the student to get a more thorough understanding of what skills are required to work in that area.
Skills necessary in Gaming profession
"While artistic ability is a key pre-requisite for a career in Game Art creation, one also needs to be skilled in the use of digital tools like Maya, Max, Photoshop, Z Brush, Substance Designer etc. and have a rudimentary understanding of how game engines such as Unreal or Unity work.
"Finally, one needs to have knowledge of the video game art creation pipeline, and the processes and techniques involved in the creation of digital assets for games. A passion for gaming helps great!
How much you can earn
"Salaries offered in the gaming industry are comparable to other industries and are as per industry standards. While newcomers start with a modest salary, the average artist salary is around 5-7 lakhs per annum. This can grow to 12 lakhs or more by the time one becomes a Lead (or even earlier) and can grow by huge leaps thereafter.
"Additionally, there are incentives and ESOPs for senior employees in companies with a good track record. Post-employment, the growth potential is immense and while - like everywhere - a lot depends on individual talent, skills, and the aspiration to succeed, gaming offers one of the most challenging and rrewarding employment opportunities in the jobs market today. No one who wants to be part of the future will want to miss this boat!"
(With Inputs from Manvendra Shukul, CEO of Lakshya Digital)
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