Stewart Neal – Studio Director, Sumo India Studios sheds light on the state of the gaming industry in India



Calling the video game industry a “boom” in India would be an understatement. While smartphone gaming dominates India, the country has also witnessed growth in the PC and console gaming space. But the consumer side of the gaming industry isn’t the only one growing. We have also seen game development outsourced to India. Sumo Digital, an international game development studio, opened its first India office in Pune in 2007. Sumo India Studios has contributed to AAA hit games like Hitman 2, Forza Horizon 5 (review) and Sackboy: A Big Adventure . The studio recently opened its second India office in Bangalore to diversify its talent and of course, “provide specialist development services on a variety of console titles”.

We had the opportunity to chat with Stewart Neal – Studio Director, Sumo India Studios about the state of game development in India, their expanding studios and more importantly what you need to do if you want to get a job as a game developer in India. .

Q: To start, can you tell us about Sumo Digital, the studio, some of your projects and the games you’ve worked on?

A: Sumo Digital is part of the Sumo Group and employs over 1,000 people in Europe, USA, Canada and India. Sumo Pune and Sumo Bangalore will now collaborate and jointly develop projects together.

Sumo Pune was founded in 2007 and was the second studio opened by Sumo Digital – working on highly acclaimed single and multiplayer games such as Hitman 2, Forza Horizon 5 and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Since then, we have built a high-end console and PC game development business in India and have developed video games with partners such as Apple, Microsoft, Sony, etc.

The reason for starting in 2007 was to take advantage of India’s talent pool. Gaming is a growing industry and given the skills you have in other areas like filmmaking and visual effects, it was a natural move. Sumo Digital has grown to 11 studios and we look forward to continued growth in key areas such as programming, art, design, quality control and production.

Q: Sumo Digital recently expanded to a new studio in Bangalore. Both offices – Pune and Bangalore working independently on projects or is it just a new location for new talent?

A: Sumo’s new studio in Bangalore follows a period of continued global growth for Sumo Digital and marks the developer’s second studio in India with the expansion of Sumo Pune. The new studio will provide even more opportunities to provide specialist development services on a variety of console titles.

It is particularly important to have a studio in Bangalore, the IT capital of India, as there is a lot of IT and development talent that we want to harness for the continued growth of Sumo in this country.

Q: Why choose Bangalore as the new location for the studio?

A: Bangalore has been a well-established city for IT, software and games for many years, and has a multitude of game development, visual effects and animation studios as well as respected institutes developing talent world class. There is a talent pool in Bangalore and we look forward to collaborating with municipal and academic actors in the city.

The city has a commitment to digital development that is so important to Sumo and provides a good quality of life for those who live there. All of this led to Bangalore becoming the top choice for the location of our next Indian studio.

Q: Speaking of talent, can you shed some light on the work the studio is doing in India?

A: Since opening, Sumo Pune has enjoyed tremendous success, growing into a co-development team of 150 people across art, programming, design, quality assurance, and production. As mentioned, we have worked on major titles such as Hitman 2, Crackdown 3, Forza Horizon 4 and recently released Hood: Outlaws & Legends and Forza Horizon 5 in 2021. Additionally, we have contributed to the full development of Sackboy: A Big Adventure which has received several BAFTA awards.

Q: Is Sumo Digital India working on a game developed entirely in India?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to release any information about the projects we are currently working on. It’s highly confidential!

Q: As game development talent grows in India, can you shed some light on the qualifications required for game development in India? Simply put, what does it take to get a job at Sumo Digital?

India’s gaming ecosystem is growing rapidly in terms of players and ability to create games. The country has particularly good skills in the area of ​​game software development, and there is also a growing base of talent who have a deeper understanding of advanced game engines and how to run programs.

Academic qualifications really depend on the role you want to apply for. If you are looking to apply for programming, you should know that C++ and Unreal are a plus.

If you are looking to apply for the design department, there are several institutes where you need to complete your studies and learn game design. For art, knowledge of types of software such as Photoshop, Maya, Max, and Procreate would be beneficial, and a game development school and/or art course will also help your application.

In addition, we also have jobs in management, as well as in HR, marketing and finance departments.

Q: What game development roles are available at Sumo Digital India? What qualifications are required to apply and what roles are available?

A: Sumo Digital India has several game development roles available at the moment including programmers, animators, UI artists, VFX artists, game designers and technical artists. Different roles require different qualifications, experience and skills.

Programmers need at least four years of C/C++ experience, and animators need more than eight years of in-depth knowledge of traditional animation principles. UI artists need a portfolio of diverse UI styles, from casual friendly games to mature titles and other technical skills for different game development roles. For more information, please visit our website!

Q: India is a very big market for mobile games as the barrier to entry is quite low. Can you shed some light on the console and PC gaming market in India? Can you share specific growth figures etc. ?

A: The Indian gaming market is valued at $1.02 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $4.88 billion by 2026, representing a CAGR of 20.83% during the forecast period 2021 -2026. India, one of the largest youth populations in the world, is expected to become one of the top global market destinations in the gaming industry.

Sumo Digital is constantly striving to improve the overall gaming experience, releasing new games for a variety of consoles/platforms and PCs, and making them available to gamers through those devices. The country’s growth is driven by an increase in the young population, an increase in disposable income, the introduction of new game genres, and an increase in the number of console and PC users.

Q: A decade ago, gambling was still considered a taboo pastime by parents. Can you shed some light on how you see this perception changing?

The gaming industry is teeming with talent where individuals from different backgrounds can come together to play and work, with thousands of people joining the national gaming community every year. Things are changing as games have become one of the most exciting career opportunities for adults.

Studies have shown that playing can improve concentration, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, competitiveness, new skill development, exercise, and even mental health and overall development. The perception of parents and our society has changed dramatically, and people are interested in games.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in gaming in 2022 and why?

A: The next generation of consoles was released in the fall of 2020, and since then we have been closely monitoring the direction the market is taking. The Xbox Game Pass service is getting bigger and bigger over the months, and recently there was some news about Sony’s PlayStation VR 2, which is interesting from a developer perspective. We’re also closely monitoring the changing tastes of the public when it comes to gaming, looking at trends like what’s working and what’s not.


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