The video game industry of Pakistan has gained international recognition by developing award-winning products.
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Pakistan’s Video Game Industry Struggles
The Video Game industry of Pakistan has not found it easy to generate more revenue or create jobs for young game developers in the absence of support from the Government of Pakistan and also the lack of international payment gateways like PayPal, and Stripe as admitted by leading industry players this week.
The gaming studios in Pakistan contributed $171.3 million to the national economy last year, reflecting its important share in the over $300 billion global market.
Pakistan’s video game industry employs nearly 8,500 people who help local companies create games for national and international markets.
These people also create products for different platforms, including cellphones, desktops, Mac devices, and consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.
Video Game Companies Calls for Investment in Talent and Skills
Speaking to the News, Chairman of the Pakistan IT Industry Association, Muhammad Zohaib Khan, said that Pakistan’s gaming industry could employ 3,000 more developers annually to achieve a 30 percent year-on-year growth in the industry’s foreign remittances, assuming that investments are made in human resources and skill development initiatives.
“We need to invest in the game development and animation skills of our youth to get a fair share in the global gaming industry,” he told the media.
Our designers and professionals will have to be trained to compete at the international level by developing quality products.
Fawad Asghar, the chief technology officer of weRplay, an award-winning game development company which is based in Islamabad, agreed with his statement.
“Pakistan does not even have one percent [share of the global gaming industry],” he said while mentioning the lack of training opportunities in game development at Pakistani universities along with the absence of government support for the development of the video game industry.
Asghar’s company was launched in 2010 and his company has employed nearly 250 people. His company has created about 40 games in all these years, including “Lost Twins 2” which won international awards on the basis of its demo released on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Nintendo, etc.
His organization plans to release the game on all platforms within the next few months.
“We hope it will be a big win for us,” he said, saying that developers in his company took up about four years to develop the game. “It will be, I guess, the biggest game so far for weRplay.”
Challenges of Monetizing A Video Game in Pakistan
Responding to a question about the company’s revenue stream and target audience, Asghar said about 90 percent of the income was made through downloads and ads, and much of it came from the United States and not much revenue came from Pakistan.
Another game produced by the company, “Run Sheeda Run” had more than one million downloads in Pakistan, though he said it was really difficult to make revenue here, due to a lack of resources.
Explaining the reasons behind the low revenue of video games in Pakistan, co-founder of tecHouse Games in Lahore Sanwal Nawaz said the cost per ad impression rate in the country for 1,000 was just Rs30 to Rs40 ($0.1 to $0.13) while it was $15 to $20 in the US and European markets, which can make a huge difference.
“We don’t have a good economy,” he told the local News.
Therefore, those who play games in Pakistan don’t go for in-app purchases which keeps our revenue very less as compared to first-world countries.
Nawaz pointed out that the developers in Pakistan did not have enough money to market and promote their games online to capture a greater market in Western countries since they would have to pay a minimum of $300 per day for the purpose after the game was launched.