We often wonder and hold lengthy discussions about where the IT Industry in Pakistan is headed. Software is supposedly our future, but how good are we at mastering the software side of the Industry?
People talk of developing applications. Pepper.pk proved that we are not untalented in this field. The official Cricket World Cup 2011 Game, Cricket Power, and the Cricket Companion application on the Ovi App Store of Nokia proved that the world knows and recognizes our worth as excellent software engineers and, more importantly, as game developers. But what then is actually keeping the Pakistani nation from creating more games, besides just applications, and promoting the gaming industry in particular, in Pakistan?
According to Wikipedia reports “the video game industry is a juggernaut of development which, though maturing is still very volatile, with third-party video game developers quickly cropping up. Nevertheless, many casual games and indie games have been developed and become popular and successful.”
On an international level, there are video games of all sorts made for a huge variety of audience. They can be based on books, movies, real-life events, or even on nothing in particular. For this very reason, we have games that range from Disney’s cartoon-based games, to games based on movies like the ‘Hobbit’ or ‘Avatar’ to games like ‘Brothers in Arms’ or ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ that have been based on real-life incidents. “Likewise,” explained Social Media Consultant, Ata Ullah Kirmani, while speaking at Network!! Pakistan’s First International Social Media Summit, “they can be fun or educational depending on the game’s content and target audience.”
Not only has the Gaming Industry provided a lucrative business for many, it is also one of the most popular genres of computer-related activities around us today. With presumably 300 million people who play games on Zynga alone, it is easy to imagine the extremely large number of people that play some video game or the other in their daily lives. According to Ata Ullah Kirmani, “Pakistan alone has a 20-million and growing, Internet-using population and they like and enjoy playing games both online and offline.” And it is for this reason that he feels that games could also be used as a medium to bring about social changes in the society.
However, few games are actually developed by the local industry to help or promote Pakistanis in particular. For that, our gaming industry needs to develop and mature so that we can actually propagate it as a medium here. Gaming can also be used on various fronts, for instance when rallying people to a cause. Elaborating on this point, Ata Ullah Kirmani explained how during the tsunami floods, the Haiti earthquake or other such disasters, the international gaming community got people to donate to their cause via video games.
“While Zynga actually raised a million dollars in 36 hours to help out tsunami victims, we never even thought of using the gaming industry when we were collecting funds either for our earthquake or flood victims.” Considering how we have over 20 million people playing games, it is time that Pakistanis began to utilize the gaming medium more seriously to connect with our growing gamers’ population.
This post was originally published on the CIO Pakistan website here.
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