An Escape From Reality during the Pandemic

Headstart Hyderabad’s Startup Saturday for June 2020 on ‘Video Games & Pandemic: A Match Made in Heaven?’ was filled with exciting conversations ranging from target audiences for games to how mobile gaming was the future. The webinar was divided into 3 segments: While the first segment had Mr. Pascal Luban and Mr. Rajat Ojha (you can read about that here), the second one had Mr. Arun Kunchala and Mr. Ratul Chakraborty.


Both have tremendous experience in producing mobile games- working for industry leaders like EA and Zynga respectively. Mr. Chakraborty started the session with a thought-provoking statement, “We exist to provide an escape from reality.” 

Pandemic, Gaming, Controller

The first issue they tackled was the advertisements which run rampant and  Mr. Chakraborty predicting that advertisement initiatives will probably stop because there isn’t enough funding to keep them going. Mr. Kunchala differed to that people have become a lot more accepting of advertisements,- especially hardcore gamers (people who spend over 15 hours of gaming a week).

Mr. Chakraborty spoke about how mobile games were a democratic way to play games. Coming back to the advertisement argument, he added “not everyone has the privilege to pay for stuff”- asserting that advertisements were cool and here to stay. They also talked in detail about alternate methods of monetisation for the popular game genres like action, casual, and board games. 

Gaming is a social phenomenon, it’s a cutthroat market- one which is thriving on crossover audiences at the moment. The high production value and a stable maturing phase have established today’s market. Entry into this market right now is very difficult- something none of our speakers recommends. Success here depends on growth- which is looked at in terms of what people are playing- and adoption by the masses. 

HSHyd SS Video Games Zoom

They then discussed the hiccups they faced while transitioning to a WFH environment. Although they encountered a 5-7% productivity loss, adaptation has been great. They also brought up the extra load on their VPN servers and mentioned conducting surveys for a perspective on their employees’ hardware and software requirements. 

Even though video games are generally associated with younger people- older gamers make up for a significant amount of the industry’s consumers. Experts have said that video games give seniors a much needed mental workout. Some seniors have gone as far as to create their tournaments and gaming leagues. 

During the Q&A session, the speakers also addressed the generation gap between players nowadays, Mr. Chakraborty going so far as to say, “don’t underestimate the power of the post-retirement generation”, citing the fact that board games are currently leading the mobile game charts. They finally concluded their session by explaining how games that bring with them a sense of nostalgia often grow to be the biggest in the market.

Key Takeaways:

  • With little to no money left for advertising, due to low revenue and reception of all the currently run advertisement campaigns, the possibility of no in-game advertisements is very real at this point.
  • Service providers like Jio give high-speed data at cheaper rates, giving larger crowds access to the internet.
  • During stressful times, like the ongoing pandemic, trust between the colleagues and supervisors is extremely important.
  • We underestimate the adaptability of older people.

This was then followed by the third session with Ms. Eve Chang, Mr. Kashyap Reddy, and Mr. Imran Khan.

Contributed by:
Sanskriti Bhatnagar
Ecosystem Development Intern
Headstart Network Foundation