Nazara Technologies CEO talks about skills that developers should learn in the gaming industry

The CEO of Nazara Technologies- Manish Agarwal talks about the evolution of the gaming development industry, skills developers should hone, recruitment trends, new-edge technologies like metaverse, AI, AR/VR, Blockchain transforming the gaming industry and more.

As the gaming industry is progressing with a lot of opportunities for tech professionals, the demand for skilled developers can also witness an uptick. Observing these trends, we reached out to Manish Agarwal, the CEO of Nazara Technologies- homegrown diversified gaming and sports media platform with a presence in India and across emerging and developed global markets such as Africa and North America, with offerings across the interactive gaming, eSports and gamified early learning ecosystems.

Read to know about the evolution of the gaming development industry, skills one needs to hone as developers, the recruitment perspective, the new-edge technologies like metaverse, AI, AR/VR, Blockchain transforming the gaming industry and more.

What is the future of the gaming industry? How has it fared in the past 5 years? What does the road ahead look like?

According to a 2021 report published by Sequoia and BCG, the Indian gaming industry is generating $1.5 billion in revenue and is expected to triple to over $5 billion by 2025 on the back of the “mobile first” phenomenon. The industry witnessed growth of almost 40% in 2019–20, more than that of OTT, television and social media platforms. Between 2014–2020, the total FDI was $575 million but from 2021 to present day, the total FDI has shot up to $1.7 billion. The Indian market is also expected to scale faster and become a meaningful contributor globally with a significant spike in the no. of online gamers from 360 million in 2020 to 510 million in 2022.

As digital interactions increase by 15x by 2025 and the metaverse starts penetrating our daily lives, the future of the gaming industry would revolve around Web3 and blockchain technology. We are already seeing many blockchain games and Play-and-Earn formats on the rise in India.

What are the skills for developers in the game development space?
Knowledge of coding to create game mechanics and immersive environments; creativity; design and animation, are all necessary components to build the architecture that allows players to navigate through the gaming universe. Developers also need to have strong problem-solving skills to fix bugs in the game’s programming and to facilitate smooth gameplay.

How big is the gaming industry from the recruitment perspective? What new job roles are coming up in the market?
Growth in the consumer base obviously opens up career pathways for the young demographic of our country. Various jobs along the lines of game developers, game testers, game casters, designers have sprung up. The gaming industry has the potential to become at least ten times bigger than the media and entertainment sector (films and OTT) as it stands today.

10 lakh direct, indirect and induced jobs have been created by the gaming ecosystem. Apart from developers and designers; over 5 lakh individuals have been on board as content creators on YouTube and other streaming platforms. Over a thousand jobs have been created by esport tournament organisers. The domestic gaming industry is predicted to create 2 lakh new jobs by FY2026.

How new-edge technologies like metaverse, AI, AR/VR, Blockchain are transforming the gaming industry?
Metaverse and blockchain technology are going to be massive disrupters for the gaming industry. The metaverse will create a highly scalable virtual space and its own economy thus taking the concept of ‘social gaming’ to new heights. Metaverse will allow for ownerships of virtual assets where players can buy, sell and even lease in-game assets. Blockchain technology will ensure that transactions made in the metaverse world are transparent, safe and secure.

Both of these together will drive new ways of playing, and interacting; new business and revenue models while also allowing brands to communicate better with their users. We are seeing the rise of Play-and-Earn games that have seen rapid adoption. It will truly be the start of building safe, personalised and immersive experiences via gaming wherein the gamers get ownership and a sense of transparency.

What are the challenges faced by a game development company?
There is a shortage of skilled labour for the industry and a very limited pool of senior gaming talent. Our present curriculum in schools and colleges also does not support skills related to gaming.

Costs shoot up for game development companies as they have to either get talent from other countries or have to bear the additional training costs for those developers who are joining from other industries.

Nazara was making headlines due to its strong growth matrix. What is your roadmap for the coming years?
For the next few quarters — we expect esports to continue to build on the momentum from Nodwin’s recent partnership with Star Sports and with the opening of offline events and growth of D2C biz with M&A of Wings and Planet SuperHero. Meanwhile, the launch of new sports in the US will be a key driver of growth in SportsKeeda.

We expect skill-based real money gaming to emerge as a growth driver on its own steam. M&A will drive the scale of freemium as well as skill-based real money gaming. We also see an opportunity to consolidate development studios including studios that are focused on virtual reality which is the next sector that will really grow.

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