India’s government has backed a plan to grow the country’s animation, vfx, gaming, and comics industries exponentially over the next eight years and plans to create nearly 2 million jobs during that time.
What’s the plan? Submitted to the government by India’s Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, Comics, and Extended Reality (AVGC-XR) Promotion Task Force, the plan includes several major suggestions on how the government can help grow those sectors, and where it will need to invest to do so. Suggestions include, but are not limited to:
- Launching a “Create in India” campaign to focus on domestic content creation, including financial support from the government.
- Host gaming industry events in cities across the country focused on co-production and innovation.
- Train 70,000 school teachers in the AVGC sector, with classes for middle and high school students, as well as undergraduate courses in animation, visual effects, graphic design, and digital filmmaking, among other specialities.
- Establish an international AVGC platform to draw in direct foreign investment backed by international co-production treaties.
- Launch an animation-dedicated channel on Doordarshan (India’s public broadcaster).
- Establish national and regional educational centers.
- Update national education policy to include AVGC education in schools across the country.
How many people will work in India’s AVGC sector? The task force is estimating that by 2030, India will have more than 2 million workers in the AVGC sector. That would be an incredible increase over the country’s current count of 185,000 such employees and 30,000 indirect employees. Whether that number is realistic or not is hard to tell this early on, but the government’s immediate willingness to accept the task force’s suggestions bodes well for the future. The task force also indicated it believes India can occupy a much larger portion of the global AVGC marketplace. Today, India accounts for 1% of that market. Task force representatives believe that by 2030 that number could be as high as 6%.
What has been the government’s response? The initial report was submitted by Apoorva Chandra, chairman of the task force, to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Tuesday, December 27. After receiving the report, the government agreed to begin implementing the task force’s recommendations as soon as possible.
Animation in India today: Animation production is on the rise in India. Earlier this month, broadcaster Sony Yay! announced it would be getting into original animation and back in January Qyou Media launched a dedicated adult animation channel. Disney has found success with local animated fare in the country and even opened a new ILM animation/vfx studio in Mumbai.
Gaming in India today: India boasts one of the world’s fastest-growing gaming markets. In a November report published by gaming-focused investor Lumikai, it’s said that the country’s gaming market reached $2.6 billion in revenue in the 2022 financial year and is likely to reach $8.6 billion in 2027. That said, the country still ranks well behind the U.S., much of Europe, South Korea, and Japan when it comes to high-end game development, despite a significant amount of game work being done in India. Most of that work is done for foreign entities like Rockstar and Ubisoft, which have both set up local studios in the country.
What they’re saying: The report encourages cooperation between all of the AVGC sectors, and suggests that original IP in comics, movies, and animation could lead to a pipeline of ideas for video games:
Indian epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata could be used as inspiration to develop online and video games, which could eventually contribute to India’s growth as an AVGC hub. Successful films may be transformed into strategy games through a dedicated mechanism of cooperation between the entertainment and gaming industry. The comic book industry is a well-recognized part of Indian popular culture, having produced many familiar cultural icons like Suppandi, Chacha Chaudhary, Tenali Raman, Detective Moochhwala, Shikkari Shambhu, Mayavi, and Akbar-Birbal.
Is India’s plan realistic? India is a pretty small player in the video game marketplace at the moment, only accounting for 1% of the global market as mentioned by Chandra. It could be seen as overly optimistic to suggest that the country can jump all the way to 6% in just eight years, especially in such a competitive industry. It’s also a tall order to create nearly 2 million jobs in a relatively nascent sector over that timeframe, especially as the educational initiatives of the task force’s plan are only now being implemented. However, the government is clearly backing that plan, and it certainly looks like significant sector growth is on the way.
Pictured at top: Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2, worked on by Rockstar India.