How This Startup Is Taking India Towards A Global Leadership In Game Process Outsourcing

Lakshya Digital has worked with Disney, Microsoft, Sony, Square Enix and more.

Gaming in India has been undergoing an evolution over the past few years. With the rise of accessible Internet and low-end gaming solutions, Indian gamers are finding it more and more easier to play games.

While it was previously only a privilege reserved for those who could afford it, gaming is now a lot more accessible than it was even half a decade ago. The Indian market is also a prime target for video game companies, owing to the large demographic of young individuals.

What Indian gamers don’t know is that some of their favourite games have been developed by Indian talent. An industry known as game process outsourcing has been growing rapidly, and India is at the forefront of it all.

To know more about the state of the GPO and gaming market in India, Curious Dose got in touch with Manvendra Shukul, the CEO of Lakshya Digital. Lakshya is one of India’s leading game art creation companies, and has worked with some of the biggest names in the space.

The Sleeping Giant In Global Gaming

India is coming into its own as a target market for video game companies. Companies like Sony have amped up their marketing efforts in the country to capitalize on brand recognition.

Shukul has seen the industry since its genesis in India. He stated,

“From being a very small industry that focused mostly on teenagers and young men, gaming is today rapidly establishing itself as a mainstream form of entertainment across different demographics.”

Gaming has evolved from a product with a ‘nerd’ demographic to a pop culture phenomenon with global acceptance, he said. Added to this, gaming in India is a “gold mine waiting to be tapped”, owing to the increasing per capita income and high population of young individuals.

The market is worth only $300 million at this point, with the global gaming market being pegged at around $100 billion. Shukul stated that “the scope for increasing our market share is extremely promising.”

Moreover, he also remarked on the rapid growth of the Indian market now, with a special mention to PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds Mobile. He stated

“The growth and popularity of PUBG is significant because it’s one of the first mid-core games to attain mass popularity in India.”

A Hub For World-Class Talent

Currently, China has a lead on India in terms of the scale of its operations. However, India is increasingly being looked at as a viable alternative for this process. Lakshya Digital is a prime example of this, with Shukul stating,

Just Cause 3 sold 370,000 copies in its first week and features art created by Lakshya.

“We have developed art for clients like Disney, Microsoft and Sony among others.Some of the most popular and iconic titles that we have worked for are Kingdom Hearts 3 from Square Enix, Déraciné from From Software,Sea of Thieves from Rare Studios, Just Cause III from Avalanche Studios, Dauntless from Phoenix Labs, Middle Earth: Shadow of War from Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, and State of Decay 2 from Undead Labs.”

These are multi-million dollar titles, and the talent to make them came from India. Shukul believes that there is a very strong and urgent need to develop a strong talent pipeline for the Indian game development process market. This is key to the country’s dominance in the long run. Shukul elaborated,

A still from Bloodborne, another game Lakshya has worked on.

“There is certainly a gap currently between industry requirement and available high-quality talent. Many students who are gearing up to be professionals in the gaming industry are lacking in terms of industry exposure, as specialized training in games development space by quality training institutes is still hard to come by.”

Towards this end, Lakshya Digital is also hands-on with upskilling workers through their in-house training academy known as InGame. According to Shukul,

“During our recruitment process, we realized that most candidates possess good knowledge of the software but do not have adequate knowledge of industry-specific workflows for creating artwork for games.”

InGame trains fresh talent in making high-quality professional level game design. This includes training in game art creation by experienced artists and courses in 3D art asset creation.

Shukul said that the government is also focusing on capitalizing on the growth offered by the gaming market. This can be seen by them setting up a gaming council, with game art development being a key focus area. Lakshya Digital have been invited on board as a subject matter expert. Shukul elaborated,

“We are collaborating with the government on the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) to develop a talent pipeline. So as one can see, there is a lot of focus on skilling and developing the ecosystem.”

An Upcoming GPO Explosion?

The position of India in the GPO market has allowed for talent working in companies such as Lakshya to interact with some of the best creative talents in the world. This has also given them a lot of other skills, stated Shukul, going on to say

“[Outsourcing has helped Indians] pick up new skills and work to international standards which have helped in creating a solid base for current and future home-grown game development companies.”

The future seems strong, owing to the “incredible raw talent” in the country. Shukul even went on to state that Indian talent with proper training and exposure is “second to none”, as evidenced by the success of Indian competitors in the global market.

Even though India got off to a “slow start” in the market, Shukul believes that the country has pulled off a “coup of sorts by inching very close to China”. This is due to the same reasons that the BPO market saw a growth in the country. According to Shukul

“The availability of a large trained talent pool that comes at the right price and can deliver high-quality work and a supportive infrastructure induces a number of multinationals and corporates to set up base here.”

The quality of Indian talent has also been recognized by global developers. Prominent game studios such as Ubisoft, Rockstar, Electronic Arts and Zynga have set up development centres in India. On this, Shukul said,

“[These companies] have been tapping into the Indian Talent pool for some years now. An increasing number of Indian development professionals are getting opportunities in major studios across Europe. For example, a former Lakshya employee recently joined a Helsinki based company as Studio Art Director.”

The Future Of Gaming

Gaming is seeing some of the most interesting advancements in recent times. This has presented itself in the form of the rise of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality becoming accessible to the mainstream and finding its way into games. Many, including Shukul, believe that this is the future of gaming.

“Augmented and virtual reality are indeed the future of gaming. Experts predict newer developments…around haptic feedback and cloud-based VR gaming.”

This moves the games closer to the “ultimate dream for any game developer”, stated Shukul. VR and AR hold the key to a new level of “experience, responsiveness and depth.”, he stated, elaborating,

“The ultimate dream for any game developer is to give a unique and realistic experience to every player – to create a game that adapts to the skill level of the player and keeps them engaged without confusing, boring or frustrating them.”

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