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Back... 1st: India, gaming and outsourcing: an uncomfortable truth.

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by , 02-24-2012 at 12:09 AM (1165 Views)
Hi all.

I had written one blog post in India, but then it was on an apple computer and apparently safari does not remember posts if sending fails...Stupid apple, I hope Steve Jobs reincarnated as one!

My plan to write certainly did fail hard, as 4 of my 6 weeks in India were spent without electricity or running water on a beach with a bunch of hippies. Therefore I plan to make a series of smaller posts describing various things of interest. Today is the first post. Surprisingly, it is about the games industry.

First the setting: me, my gf, her son, a full power 50yr old Italian, a Canarian, 3 Indian friends from... Bangalore all sitting in a small bar smoking charas over drinks and delicious but risky food. We were on a beach right next to this one, just to give you an idea:

After some time an other indian man joins us at the table. Now this is quite a nice beach; huts made from palm leaves, lots of yoga peoples and musicians on the beach etc. Then someone asks what his job is. Turns out he is a lead programmer/developer in a game-designing company. Now I found it quite funny to be talking to a programmer on a quite idyllic beach. Bu t I proceeded to ask him exactly what he does, how, for who...everything.

What I learned was quite the surprise. This man had worked on many of the most important games of the last years. His company has made MOST of COD Modern Combat....While we are led to believe that these blockbuster games are made in Dice Canada, or Tetryarch etc....we are totally being deceived!

Major production studios are outsourcing most of the developement of their games to indian software companies. And when I say most I really do mean most. I discussed this in detail with him. It varies how much they do, but it goes from doing only the most labour intensive work like building all the levels, artwork, objects etc. But it usually also includes gameplay design.

This was a shocker to me. All these big companies really don't let this show. The truth is I suspect, that most of all the big games are produced in India period. The Indian programmer told me at least 5 times in the talk that really all they still do abroad (=not in India) is build the engine.

For those interested: the indian developer I speak of said that they are starting to do games fully in India more and more. He said they had just finished a game about Doctor Who. I think it might be this one: http://ps3.ign.com/articles/121/1217016p1.html Doctor who: the eternety clock, 'by' the bbc.

For his role as lead programmer/dev, he made about 1000 euro, 1 337.3 U.S. dollars a month. I don't think we can compete with that...


I thought this might be a nice start to explain some things about this insane country. It certainly tought me something unexpected. See you next post x

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  1. Coridon's Avatar
    First, off, that's the only picture you're posting?!? C'mon, man!

    Second, that's not surprising at all about games being made in India. If you can get a highly educated workforce to do the same job for 1/6 the price, it's going to happen. Also imagine what the competition for those jobs must be! Think of all the people over there with engineering degrees working in customer service call centers; if you're not willing to be the lead programmer for 1000 Euros a month, there's someone else all too eager to jump in and fill your spot.
  2. BigGaayAl's Avatar
    You are right about that competition. Of the people I met that had studied... over 50% were schooled as programmers. It is the main thing you study there. And as you say there is so much competition! It is truely ruthless. For every good job, for every square foot where you can make a small street shop, there are so many people just waiting for a chance to take your place. This is why when Indians stand in line, they stand like sardines are packed in a can, which is very unnerving for a westerner with a different idea of personal space. Btw his 100 euros was the pay he has now. He started with maybe a fourth of that pay when he was new to the company and not in a senior position. He is well paid though, for Indian prices.

    I will add more pics as I make other posts, but I didn't dare upload more from @work . Also I'm lazy as heaven.
  3. DDS's Avatar
    Nice blog post.. Had no idea of the scope of programming outsourcing for games.
    My daughters best friend went to India as an exhange student. Heard lots of stories.. but the most memorable were video's like this of Indian traffic..

  4. E-Male's Avatar
    This is the sort of stuff I teach at uOttawa and critical media theory addresses -- the political economy of media systems.

    See Digital Play (MOUP) by Kline Witheford and De Peuter on the gaming industry and sweatshop labour.


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