Karnataka leads the Digital Sector with Animation and Gaming Studios, Government Programs

The State government supports a Center of Excellence and a Finishing School in Bengaluru, dedicated specifically on AVGC and other emerging technologies. While Bengaluru as a tech hub would rate well anywhere in the world, there’s still much to be done on  a national scale in terms of accessible programs, government support, business and legal incentives.

Excellence Centre Boosts Local Startup Climate

Earlier this year, when the Karnataka government announced it would open a Centre of Excellence for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (CoE for AVGC), a number of tech businesses in Bengaluru and throughout the State welcomed the move. Local authorities aim to strengthen the position of Karnataka as a high-tech digital hub of relevance for India and the entire Asia-Pacific region.

The AVGC CoE, housed in Mahadevapura and entirely state funded, is the nation’s first and Asia’s biggest such facility. It is equipped with cutting edge tech solutions like full facial and body performance capturing systems and scanners, AR and VR labs, render farms and much more. There is also a “Finishing School” on the premises, offering courses dealing with emerging technologies like photogrammetry, gamification, VR and digital compression.

Karnataka has been at the vanguard of Indian technological development for decades. Even recent attempts to restrict paid online gaming – met with criticism by tech businesses and later struck down by the High Court – left out casual games and online jackpot lotteries. Karnataka was also the first Indian state to have a formal AVGC policy, openly supporting digital startups and related engineering enterprises.

An update of the state AVGC policy is also expected within a year, according to government officials. It envisions land concessions for “Digital Media Entertainment Areas” and other dedicated AVGC services.

Currently, Karnataka contributes as much as 20% to the national AVGC output. The gaming and entertainment industry counts over 300 animation and gaming studios in the State, providing over 15,000 highly qualified and well-paid jobs. Online gaming and related tech services in particular have turned into a much sought-after occupation in the past few years, industry experts point out.

Still Much to Be Done across the Union

Federal Ministers – for Commerce and Industry or Information and Broadcasting – also tend to emphasize the importance of Bharat’s AVGC sector. A high added-value growth driver for the economy, it provides desi gaming startups with global markets and attracts consistent investor interest.

In practice, State and Central authorities are yet to replicate any of the meaningful initiatives implemented in Karnataka. India has roughly the half of gaming tech startups that China has, even as the Government in Beijing has been putting increasing pressure on the tech industry since 2020. Most importantly, desi firms lack proper funding and favorable treatment even as they have clearly shown so much economic and social potential.

Digitization efforts to move the legal government lottery online need to be made, all the while a clear nationwide framework legislation for online gaming needs to take shape. Innovations are to be considered in terms of value and future potential and not based on moralistic or narrow political agenda.

Desi tech startups and creative enterprises have become a global force, with the AVGC sector alone accounting for around 10% of the world’s market. Given the necessary support, these companies can and will do much more for the national economy and societal well-being.

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