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‘India’s AVGC-XR sector to become $26-bn industry by 2030’

India’s Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming & Comics and Extended Reality (AVGC-XR) sector sector is all set for a quantum leap in the next five to six years, say industry players and policymakers.

Extended reality encompasses augmented, virtual and mixed reality.

The industry, which currently employs 2.6 lakh people across the country is expected to create 23 lakh direct jobs by 2032. Also, the revenues are expected to cross $26 billion by 2030, up from $3 billion currently, according to them.

“Most of these direct job positions coming up will be for content developers, animators, pre and post-production artists, pre-visualisation artists, compositors, etc. The industry is witnessing a high pace of growth with some segments within AVGC-XR already growing at 30 or 35% annually,’‘ observed Ashish Kulkarni, Chairman of FICCI AVGC Forum, founder of Punnaryug Artvision, an art village in Pune.

Commenting on India’s natural strengths in AVGC, he said each Indian state had its own rich and diverse art forms, folk styles, tribal arts and thousands of artists who practised these, yet most of them failed to pursue because it “did not make financial sense.”

‘‘Our country is inherently strong in visual arts, it’s just that we took some time to realise the scope it had for value creation and employment generation,’‘ said Kulkarni, who is known as the father of the Indian animation industry.

The country now has a solid ecosystem with more than 4 ,000 studios. Over 100 of them develop high quality AVGC-XR content for full-length feature films by Hollywood and Bollywood production houses and pre-and post-production studios from North America and Europe.

Earlier, only Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi had studios. Now, Mumbai has the highest number of studios at 600-700, followed by 500 in Bengaluru, 300-400 each in Hyderabad and Pune, 300 in Chennai, 150 each in Noida and Gurgaon, 100 each in Kolkata and Indore, and the rest in Bhopal, Ahmedabad, and Kochi. More studios are coming up even in small towns.

“As we navigate the ever-evolving dynamics of animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics, all stakeholders in this space are certain of the sector’s limitless possibilities,” said Biren Ghose, country head, Technicolor India and President, ABAI, the apex body for AVGC in Bengaluru.

AVGC is not a city-centric story anymore today, the space has been fast catching up everywhere across the country, and all energies from all stakeholders, private players, educational institutions, schools, state governments, and trade bodies are now being gathered towards the quantum growth of this industry, said Ghose, a veteran in the sector. Commenting on the growth of e-sports, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of Axilor Ventures and co-founder of Infosys, said the segment had emerged as a bridge between the digital and physical realms, emphasising the social dimensions of gaming and the potential for new opportunities and employment.

AVGC under NEP

NEP brought in a level-playing field as creative arts, performing arts, design and sports are now part of the school curriculum Class 6 onwards.

In addition, the AVGC-XR division of FICCI, and other industry apex bodies like ABAI and SAIK are working constantly with the Centre and State governments to firm up AVGC-XR policies for each State. A few States including Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana already have policies and are in rapid pace of growth. Some 5,000 CBSE and state board schools – mostly in Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka – introduced AVGC-XR learning from Class VI and this programme will be extended to all other states in the next three years, according to Mr. Kulkarni.

“Animation, which used to be considered a kids’ genre, is now seeing a breakthrough and will emerge as a family entertainment for all ages,” Mr. Ghose anticipated.

Investment in India’s AVGC-XR sector has been robust, with financial backing coming from a diverse set of stakeholders including venture capitalists, angel investors, and government bodies. It is a promising sector. With a burgeoning young population proficient in digital technologies, the country is a fertile ground for rapid adoption of AVGC-XR products and services, observed Priyank Kharge, IT and BT minister in Karnataka, which is currently the lead player in the country’s AVGC-XR sector.

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