How to enhance gaming
Sudden power upcharge fry your motherboard? Or slow internet prevents you from playing Counter Strike (or whatever other game) with your friends? A Legal copy of Assassins Creed Odyssey (or any other newly released masterpiece) not available in a market near you? Then you are a gamer from a developing country or possibly a desi (a term used to refer to South Asians) gamer.
Let’s be truthful here. Less than a quarter of the population of most developing countries have access to a personal computer or laptop. Though standards have improved significantly in recent years as developed countries, well develop, gaming culture has not developed at all amongst other sections of the population.
Let’s take India for example. Only about 30% of Indian children, most from the middle classes can afford to play computer games. The rest don’t even know that something like gaming exists.
Similarly the software piracy rate, which includes gaming is extremely high. In fact Bangladesh with 92 percent piracy in software, Sri Lanka with 90 percent and Pakistan with 84 percent software piracy makes the South Asian region a place where piracy is prevalent and gaming companies have suffered as a result.
Gaming companies, or Game Development Studios therefore have barely focused on these countries as their sales are low. However they don’t spend resources to know why they are low. Of course the solution would be to produce games cheaply so that they can be sold in these countries and not pirated but this has not taken place yet.
Even games like Far Cry 4 (which featured a North Indian setting) and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (which featured Pakistan) have failed to capitalize on this market. This tells us that Gaming Studios are willing to test new settings in their games, which may appeal to these exotic consumers, yet aren’t willing to do simple research to bring those video games to the public in these countries, even though these games are about them.
Then there are parents in developing countries who have a different outlook and different resources than the western parent. It is necessary to note this is not the parents fault. They grew up when gaming culture was either not considered productive or have struggled with sweaty foreheads and physical hard work throughout life to improve the conditions for their family. They should be admired for that. But the young gamer has a different outlook as he considers the relaxation and entertainment brought by gaming to be a staple of life.
Parents instill within kids the responsibilities of studying hard to become a doctor, teacher, industrialist soldier, businessman or an expert of any other acceptable career but no one tells his son or daughter to be a gamer. In fact whenever the parents talk about gaming it’s a story of addiction, less concentration on education, lack of focus on more important things or even a total time waste.
Anyway. Here are 10 points that will help promote gaming culture in the developing world:
- Hosting gaming competitions across the country in all major cities. Gaming competitions bring gamers from all over the country where they can share their gaming stories and experiences. With added rewards and demo gameplay for games set to hit the markets soon this can turn into a massive event where gaming knowledge is spread. It is pertinent to note that there is a difference between professional and casual gamers. Casual gamers only buy tested games, platinum games or those in their price range while professional gamers try out almost every game and even possibly play competitively. When a gamer appears in this gaming competition he mingles with fellow gamers and establishes contact with experts. When he goes home and tells his friends (who might not be proper gamers) about the latest games and sales for various consoles, he may convince them to try these games. This word of mouth helps spread gaming culture in the developing country.
- Also focus on low end gaming, because even among those that can afford a laptop or pc, cannot afford to buy a high-cost, gaming-friendly laptop or pc. On tight budgets most go for weak machines, which cannot support professional gaming.
- Fight the copyright movement by explaining the losses it causes gaming studios. And try to raise awareness in bringing more legal games to the country. The flaw with this is that the majority of the population does not have enough money to buy “genuine” games and rely on cracked ones due to lower prices (If they are buying at computer shops rather than downloading them off torrents.) Yes, my western friends. There are countries where there are computer shops with hundreds of copied and cracked games functioning soundly and under the nose of regulatory authorities. These games are cheap. However as awareness grows and as national income improves things will improve in favor of the gaming studio.
- Increased focus on mobile gaming. Not everyone in the developing world has a PC or laptop. But in today’s age almost everyone has a cell phone. It is necessary for a video game producer and/or distributer to bring his game to the hardware of people’s choice and affordability. Computer ownership too will increase but mobile ownership is growing even faster. This makes mobile gaming a huge market in developing nations.
- Bringing electricity and internet supply to not just the urban areas of the country but also the rural ones. Most of the population in poorer countries is in its rural areas and standards of living in rural areas are generally not as polished as in other countries. In rural areas a lack of education also convinces parents to have more kids, so there is a vast target of children who are unaware about the prospects of gaming and the hours of entertainment which we take for granted. There are also those in rural areas who may want to try out games but cannot afford to. So it is a huge group of people with needs waiting to be fulfilled.
- Having modern internet cafes with powerful computers that can handle modern gaming. (Many families in that part of the world still don’t own a computer, laptop.) Internet cafes help bridge the divide where poorer users can also use the internet or play games for a small time period.
- Young gamers have a responsibility of “educating” their parents about the benefits of gaming so that they understand that games are not just for entertainment purposes but also a learning tool and as this website proves, earning. The aspect of learning provided from gaming is not well recognized. Every parent wants his child to focus on his studies first which is the correct approach but this could be mixed with some video game fun too. As for as the learning provided by games, examples include Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV and Hearts of Iron which teach the gamer much about history. They also teach us about strategy, tactics and thinking outside the box. Games like F1, FIFA, W2K and Need for Speed teach us about cars, football, wrestling and come with an impressive roster (of cars/wrestlers/soccer players) which allows us to refresh our sports knowledge. Even the most (seemingly) mindless shooters develop intricate story lines and plots some of which have personally helped me think of stories I myself would create if I were to have my gaming company. If parents start seeing the benefits of gaming they will be more sympathetic towards gaming and it’s a win-win situation for both young gamers and their parents. This is especially true when you want those extra fifteen minutes to finish the round you were on, save and exit the game,while your parents call you to dinner.
- Reducing the cost on the part of the developers will be a huge boon to gaming culture in the developing word. It will reduce piracy too which is extremely common in these countries.
- It is proven that online gaming helps build many friendships, many across continents. Therefore gaming studios can introduce a meet up of professional gamers from different countries as a means to promote gaming.
- Resolve the electricity problem. It might seem weird by western friends but in some countries there are times when there is no electricity. This sometimes causes laptops and PC’s to catch fire, or the laptops charger to fry. The electricity problem, if resolved will help low budget gamers who lose the game they were so eager finish due to power problems. This may take time as providing adequate power for millions, possibly billions is an uphill