Game Designing in the Pandemic

Headstart Hyderabad’s Startup Saturday on ‘Video Games & Pandemic: A Match Made in Heaven?’ was filled with exciting conversations ranging from advertisements in games to which console was better- the Xbox One or the PS5? The webinar was divided into 3 segments: the first one having Mr. Rajat Ojha and Mr. Pascal Luban on the panel.Fortnite, Game Design


Both are extremely accomplished game designers and have been in this business for over 30 years. They spoke about how the pandemic’s effect on the video gaming industry hasn’t been severe, other than the entire work-from-home predicament. Mr. Ojha spoke about how the industry adapted rather quickly to the change and didn’t hinder its production. The pandemic has allowed independent developers to have better chances against bigger firms during a holiday release. He also added; The pandemic has also gotten people together making it look like a humanity v/s virus situation. We’re talking to a lot more people which has resulted in a great amount of knowledge sharing. It has created a level playing field for all game developers. 

Mr. Luban added that – the usage of Steam during the pandemic, a video game distribution service, is phenomenally high. People are buying a lot more consoles nowadays. Mr. Ojha explained how the increase in mobile gaming is now shifting to an increase in console gaming. He also discussed how socialisation was taking place over video games nowadays, citing the recent Fortnite X Travis Scott event as an example.

When both of them were asked about the performance of in-game advertisements, they said that the revenue generated from advertisements has been falling consistently. However, advertisements for applications like Houseparty saw revenue growth. In-app purchases also seemed to be doing well. 

Mr. Luban emphasized the fact that video games are insanely complex- the storyline alone takes millions of lines of codes. Let’s not even get started with the design! Video game designers formulate a concept for the gameplay and after a tremendous amount of experimentation, the layout finally comes to life. Understandably, there’s always the fear that in-game advertisements break the flow of the game’s story and also take away from all the hard work put in by the people involved in the game.

Pascal Luban & Rajat Ojha

He addressed this issue by saying he was alright with advertisements “as long as it doesn’t take away from the full experience of the game.” He explained how the story of the game draws in the players and if the storyline was compelling/engaging enough, the advertisements wouldn’t make a difference to the overall reception of the game. 

On a closing note, Mr. Ojha concluded that although things look great right now, with investors looking for games to invest in during the pandemic should not be the only reason for a game developer/designer to join the industry. 

Mr. Luban agreed and said that the industry will now be looking for people in the communications, programming, development, and marketing departments. He ended the first portion of the webinar by saying, “Remember, a good designer generates emotions.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Just because the industry is in a good funding position right now, it doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to join it.
  • Game designing is very lucrative but that’s all it is- it looks easy but it isn’t.
  • Knowledge sharing is at an all-time high, allow yourself time to breathe to avoid burnout.

This was then followed by a session with Mr. Arun Kunchala and Mr. Ratul Chakraborty.

Contributed by:
Sanskriti Bhatnagar
Ecosystem Development Intern
Headstart Network Foundation