Gaming may become India’s biggest vehicle to shine as global soft power, says Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies
What is the state of gaming industry in India? How do you see its growth and development in the coming years?
It is phenomenal. India has been fastest growing mobile gaming market by downloads and number of mobile game downloads has doubled in 2016 over 2015 on Google Play. India now stands at the fi fth position in terms of downloads (Source: AppAnnie). This growth will only get better in the coming years but there is a long way to go before the industry competes with Japan, China and US. Therefore, its future will be a mixed bag where quality consciousness will grow and investments will increase
How do you view the CII-organized exhibition of India Gaming Show and its potential?
Indian ecosystem needs massive exposure and knowledge sharing with much evolved gaming ecosystem of Japan, Korea, China, US & UK and other European gaming power houses like Finland and Germany. India needs as many high quality content shows happening in India offering an opportunity to Indian ecosystem to network with gaming industry experts who have seen multiple cycles even in relatively nascent mobile gaming industry. NASSCOM, Pocket Gamer Connect and now CII Gaming show are all great initiatives and I am hoping that these shows will keep growing in size and stature.
In a short period Nazara Technologies has carved a niche in the Indian gaming space? What’s working for Nazara?
Nazara is the fastest growing publisher in 2016. I am personally very satisfied in sowing seeds of great partnership with some of the developers globally and locally and I am confident that this would be a highly satisfying journey to grow while Indian mobile gaming grows at breakneck speed.
In addition to mobile gaming, what are the platforms that have potential for growth?
Smartphones have changed the way in which Indians consume content. We believe interactive content creation apps, videos and gaming would take over all other formats and deep integration with messaging platforms will drive the growth of the entertainment very heavily. We also believe that the way sports is viewed today will change drastically in coming years and it will change from passive viewing to highly interactive viewing with deep personalization for each spectator
How do you see the potential of skilling and employment opportunities in the Indian gaming arena?
Indian gaming could be the biggest vehicle for India to shine as global soft power as mobile gaming has potential to cross global barriers. Hit games not only generate massive revenues for local governments but also create country brand, as is the case with Finland. However, for globally successful game, massive amount of focus needs to be done on creating right skills. For this, we would need courses specifically designed for gaming and partnerships with countries like Japan, UK, Korea to help in creating curriculum and providing teachers.
What kind of policy interventions are needed for gaming?
I think gaming needs a mindset change first at the decision-making levels where it matters. To start with, I think that people who matter need to understand what is gaming and what is its potential. Once we get over the mindset of “how many jobs can this industry create” and believe in soft power which a globally successful IP brings to a country, we can move forward with more meaningful discussion on what needs to be done to make it happen.
Has launch of 4G impacted gaming in India?
The number of 100 million casual gamers in India is set to explode with 4G adoption and is set to cross 300 million mark in next 3 years. In terms of content, global games like Candy Crush, Temple Run, Subway Surfer still dominate the market; however, in the last year, Indian gaming market has seen emergence of multiple local genre based games.