A little over 3 months ago, during the announcement of the Union Budget for the year 2022-23, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his desire to make India a hub for game developers and gaming services after pointing out its vast potential. As we delve further into the rapidly evolving immersive content industry, the Indian Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming & Comics (AVCG) sector is making great progress, already contributing significantly to India’s multi-trillion dollar economy. It was upon this recognition of the sector’s growth and potential, that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the appointment of a national AVGC Task Force to put forth a coherent policy for building domestic capacity, intellectual capital and employment for the sector. This would play a consequential role in helping realise PM Modi’s vision of India procuring the title of ‘global hub’ for the AVGC sector.
In order to gauge the impetus of this sector’s growth, the onus to first understand all the trajectories that AVGC represents takes precedence. While the etymology of the word surrounds everything to do with Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics, the overarching term is an umbrella for all the sub-sectors that are contributing to India’s digital economy. This includes Animation Studios, VFX Studios, Game Development Studios, Platforms, Hardware Manufacturers, Software developers, Virtual Production Studios, and many more entities. The sector saw immense growth with technological adoption as is, but it witnessed steep uptake with the onset of the pandemic.
The global AVGC industry amounts to $800 billion, and the Indian AVGC sector is brimming with potential to bag up to 5 per cent of the global share ($40 billion), given that it has an annual growth rate of over 25-30 per cent. Not only does the sector contribute significantly to the economy, it also creates an abundance of employment opportunities for several skilled sectors, with over 160,000 jobs that it could provide yearly. Because of the wide range of sub-sectors that amass under AVGC’s wide umbrella, there is a need for a broad vision to help further incubate this industry. The proposed action plan that will soon be drawn up by the task force, ought to have a broad enough vision that it facilitates and caters to the needs of every player under AVGC’s wing, from platforms and developers to distributors and hardware/software.
There is thus a requirement for not only financing and resource allocation for the sector, but also education and talent development. In the same vein, curriculum planning that extends towards AVGC related courses, would go a long way in upskilling the youth, gearing them on to veer this industry in the right direction. To further proliferate this trend, India could also take a few pages out of the books of other countries with thriving AVGC industries. Gaming, VFX, and animation markets in the likes of the US or South Korea, for instance, have been heavily incubated, and are thus at the crest of the wave on a global scale today. While India’s technology and design sectors are flourishing, the country can still apply and absorb globally recognised best practices in the fields of data science, design, animation, etc.
While rapid digitisation was more or less a panacea to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the metaverse is guaranteed to take social connections, virtual collaborations, and digital mobility to the next level. The workforce worldwide, including in India, has long begun leveraging the benefits of the metaverse. If it gets the correct atmosphere to grow in–especially one that covers all the bases under it, the Indian AVGC sector has the capacity to become the zenith of Digital India and the hallmark of the ‘Brand India’ dream that PM Modi envisages.
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