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The Collaborative Decade Of Gaming
The gaming industry’s new mantra is moving above and beyond the individual companies, coming together and forming a gaming ecosystem
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If the ongoing pandemic has thwarted the economic activities on one side, it has made way to various avenues that reaped from this blessing in disguise. Gaming during this time has become one such sector that spotted the signs of early success amid the postponed growth story. Various reports on the sunshine sector have been released lately, speaking the tale of its glory – growing at a CAGR of 40 per cent, investors’ new darling, and above all rendering gender-neutral career opportunities.
Last year’s investments in existing and new gaming companies have stirred the gaze of investors and big gaming giants in the gaming industry this year. The gaming sector in India attracted $544 million in investments during the August 2020-January 2021 period and this is set to double over the next 12-18 months, anticipating a huge growth of the gaming industry in the immediate future. Apart from this, there has been an increased cross-border interest in the M&A space.
The experts from the industry got together during the virtual award ceremony of BW Gaming World People Of The Year and discuss the collaborative approach towards which the industry is moving amidst the growing interest of stakeholders in gaming.
Collaboration creating traction
Poornima Seetharaman, Director Design, Zynga says, “Collectively, a lot of us have been in the industry for quite some time now. The industry does not grow on its own. We are creating people in this small industry. Most of our employees have moved around in this ecosystem. It is to enable them and get the right skill-sets and move from one to another company where they get to learn more and become better. I think that’s always the larger goal. It is not necessarily about the company, but the kind of quality of people we are building here because these are the people who, going forward, will build the next-gen of gaming in India. I think that is what we will be looking at.”
According to her, the longtail of the game is to build the gaming industry together and through that achieve individual growth as well. “But without it, we cannot because we need the support of everyone to collaborate and look into the issues of diversity, conscious bias, and everything to bring in the kind of variety we need whether it be in terms of genre, people, or the skill-set,” she says.
For Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman, Managing Director & Founder, JetSynthesys the approach is more or less like co-opetition -- a collaborative competition. “There is no better example than what Nitish Mittersain and I have done together. We work together towards the industry in ways where we enhance certain areas that were very important for us to come together. One such was esports. We co-founded Nodwin Gaming with 50 per cent equity. Nitish now owns more than 50 per cent and we have the minority stake. But we are working together to see how that industry can become large. We need to see how we as an industry put the industry above our companies,” Navani says.
Government as the catalyst
Nazara Technologies’ Founder & Joint Managing Director Nitish Mittersain explains how with the help of the government the industry can grow and concentrate more on growing the economic pie. “Stronger regulations, clarity in skill-based gaming and taxation, will help a lot and bring in more capital. This will let the companies wholeheartedly focus on growth. I think that’s what can the government do.”
Navani adds, “The government is looking at it from multiple angles. There are several ministries that are looking at gaming as their domain. I think it is very important to see how at a government and state level, the law will stand around gaming as an industry. For example, the way we want to define it especially esports and others. It is something that we all need to champion towards, create greater awareness, and share that.”
Navani states that having a common view of gaming by both the centre and the states would be exceedingly helpful as the industry moves forward.
Speaking about the initiatives a company can take, Paavan Nanda, CEO & Founder, WinZO Games says, “Our business is fundamentally being built over partnerships. Being a two-sided platform, we don’t make games in-house but only partner with game developers in India and overseas.”
So far, the gaming platform has partnered with 40 developers. Some of these developers are well-established. “We also work with young indie developers – a bunch of college kids who probably just have a gaming idea and are learning to build games from their dorms. We are always happy to even support those kinds of projects.”
WinZO has taken a lot of initiatives on those lines for building an ecosystem. “We have a WinZO Games Developer Fund. This will be the third year when we will be announcing it. Two years ago when we raised $5 million, we announced $1 million from the total fund for the initiative. This year also, a significant chunk of the amount we have raised will go towards that. Through this fund, we will be investing in gaming and media and entertainment startups,” Nanda says.