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India has 250 firms developing games as of 2019.
India has 250 firms developing games as of 2019.

Outsourcing of game development work to India gains traction

Though China was leading the game art industry, recent tensions have shifted the preference towards India

NEW DELHI : Indian game development firms providing art and animation services are in demand as global game publishers look to outsource work to reduce costs and meet launch deadlines. This has also driven up demand for skilled professionals for game development in India, at a time online gaming has soared worldwide thanks to lockdowns and mobility curbs.

“Game development work being outsourced to us has grown by almost 25-30% in a span of 2-3 months. It is not just existing clients that are coming to us, but also new clients, especially from Japan," said Manvendra Shukul, CEO of Lakshya Digital, a Delhi-based game art creation company.

Riding the new demand for online gaming, many mobile game companies want to rush their products to the market while the big ones behind AAA titles (games with high development budgets) want to ensure their games don’t get delayed.

“A lot of gaming companies are trying to keep up with deadlines. Demand for entertainment has never been higher. At the same time, work-from-home has impacted production timelines. They need to accelerate and to do that, they have to delegate. India is becoming a natural choice as many game development firms are coming up here," said Oliver Jones, co-founder and director of Bombay Play, a game development company.

According to a 2019 report by KPMG, India has 250 game development firms, compared to 25 in 2010. Many big global names have set up studios here in the last 1-2 years. French gaming company Ubisoft has studios in Pune and Mumbai, while US-based Rockstar acquired Indian art production studio Dhruva Interactive for $7.9 million last year. Many large gaming firms are looking to cut costs in the development process and outsourcing can help accomplish that.

“With a lot of workforce already working from home, many gaming companies are finding outsourcing more viable. Outsourcing across borders also gives them a cost advantage," said Rajan Navani, president of Indian Digital Gaming Society and MD at Jet Synthesys, a game development company.

Though China has been leading the game art creation industry, recent geopolitical events have led to a growing preference for India. According to Lakshya Digital’s Shukul, in markets like Japan, recent issues with China have played a role in the decision by many firms to hold back from outsourcing to China, benefiting Indian companies.

The growing demand has created new job opportunities for 3D artists and animators in India. Lakshya Digital, which currently has a team of 500, is planning to hire up to 70 more people in the next one year. Ubisoft too has put up several posts on job portals.

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