Rockstar Games and Electronic Arts Inc deals add XP to India’s gaming industry

FILE PHOTO: An Electronic Arts (EA) video game logo is seen at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles, California, United States  

You know the hype around India’s gaming industry is real when gaming companies like Electronic Arts Inc (EA) and Rockstar Games make investments. Recently, Dhruva Interactive (DI), the country’s leading game production studio, was acquired by Rockstar Games. And e-xpress Interactive Software (eIS), a Mumbai-based video games distributor, signed an agreement with Electronic Arts for packaged goods. Rockstar Games’ hits include the likes of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and Red Dead Redemption series, while EA has popular role-playing games, sports titles and first-person shooter games like FIFA, Battelfield and Star Wars.

In control

What does it mean for gamers? Until now, new EA games were launched on e-commerce websites. After EA’s deal with eIS, buying game CDs at offline retailers such as Sony Centre, Croma, Starmark and Landmark is expected to be way simpler. So don’t be surprised when you see swarms of gaming enthusiasts outside stores for FIFA 20 later this year.

Putting GTA V in context
  • GTA V has sold over 100 million copies since 2013.
  • As of April 2018, it had made around $6 billion.
  • Ranks third on most-selling games after Tetris and Minecraft.
  • Can be played on Xbox, PlayStation and PC.
  • Players still share GIFs and videos of their playthroughs.

One question on the collective mind of India’s gaming community after the Rockstar announcement is ‘When can we expect GTA Mumbai?’ as asked by user u/Flamewake on Reddit thread ‘r/IndiaSpeaks’. On the same thread, user u/Mad-o-wat jokes, “I can imagine how many non-playable characters (like) rickshawallahs will get thrashed in GTA Mumbai.”

Screenshot from GTA V by Rockstar Games

Screenshot from GTA V by Rockstar Games  

These events haven’t gone viral on social media because it hasn’t affected the consumers directly. But such deals have the potential to change the DNA of the gaming industry, feels Ankur Diwakar, a professional e-sports athlete. According to him, professional gamers often order games from global e-commerce platforms and don’t mind paying a premium for early access. “However, access to new games in retail stores is crucial for the next generation of gamers. Everything else, they can learn by practice and watching videos on YouTube,” says Ankur, who represented India in Asian Games 2018.

If gamers run the industry, game developers are its maker. It’s no longer a wild fantasy to aspire for a career in the gaming industry in India. DI, the two-decade-old game developer, employs over 300 people. They were one of the art developers for games like Spider-Man, Days Gone, Forza Horizon 3, Halo 5 and Sea of Thieves. Now that they have the backing of an industry Goliath, DI has access to a better playing field with financial stability. This is not only good news for employees at DI, but also for people looking for opportunities at India’s leading game developer. I won’t be surprised if other global game developers follow Rockstar Games’ footsteps.

A still from the latest Spiderman Game by Insomniac Games, Dhruva Interactive were one of the art developers

A still from the latest Spiderman Game by Insomniac Games, Dhruva Interactive were one of the art developers  

As per a May 2017 study by KPMG and Google ‘Online gaming in India: Reaching a new pinnacle’, India’s gaming industry is on track to reach US$ 1 billion by 2021. At the same time, gaming on consoles and PC is still limited to a niche segment in India.

Did you know, most gaming PCs and consoles are sold at a higher price in India? Apart from the cost, there is fierce competition from hand-held devices, due to affordable pricing and development of high-end games like PUBG and FIFA. As per the study by KPMG and Google, the majority will continue to play on mobile devices in India.

Still from one of the FIFA titles by EA

Still from one of the FIFA titles by EA  

Hopefully, in near the future, hardware sales like in the US will hit the Indian market and catalyse growth supported by a widespread increase in the digital payment user base, affordability of new technologies, rise in India’s developer base and focus on generating content with local themes, in Indian languages.

Age is in your head
  • US-based Shirley Curry is the oldest gamer on YouTube, as per Guinness World Records. She has about 5,00,000 subscribers and close to 11 million views. She is known for let’s play videos of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 3:53:46 AM |

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