Pune: The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), a not-for-profit apex body for India’s online gaming industry, has released a report titled “Online Gaming is a Life Skill.”

The report sought to understand which skills were considered ‘life skills’ by gamers, how gamers acquired such skills, whether the workplace effectively taught them such skills, and which of these skills could be learnt through gaming.

“Varied skills like critical thinking, creative thinking, decision making and problem-solving are essential for one’s growth in life. Through this research, we sought to understand whether consumers genuinely realise the value of mobile gaming. This study has helped us conclude that gaming is a way to collaborate, engage, and is becoming a sector where people want to build their careers.”

Roland Landers
CEO, All India Gaming Federation

The report found that 86 per cent gamers in Pune played online games on mobile phones. Also, 56 per cent in the city agreed that engaging in online games has helped them develop strong analytical abilities by regularly trying to assess the best way to win a game.

Overall, the report revealed that 76 per cent of gamers believed that by regularly assessing the best way to win a game, they could develop strong analytical skills.

More than half of them (57 per cent) felt that an individual could hone practical life skills through online games the same way they would through a whole day at the workplace — 57 per cent men and 56 per cent women agreed with this sentiment.

The report also unpacked the essential life skills that online gamers said were key to gaming. Reflexes (65 per cent), and strategy and logic (68 per cent) were considered the top two skills, followed closely by determination (53 per cent) and understanding risk/return (52 per cent); 46 per cent stated memory was crucial. 53 per cent of the respondents in Pune also agreed that one could learn such practical, life skills through online games as they could through a whole day in the office.

Interestingly, gamers exhibited a more favourable attitude towards their online gaming teammates in comparison to their real-life work relationships. 56 per cemt gamers said they were more likely to be honest with their gaming teammates than with their work colleagues (51 per cent).

The difference was more pronounced among Gen Z (5 per cent) versus those above the age of 45 (2 per cent). This corresponds to a study conducted by Norton. The Norton study stated that 81 per cent of respondents said that online multiplayer games had improved their teamwork skills, while 71 per cent felt that gaming had helped improve their cognitive abilities.

“As this form of edutainment evolves, gaming becomes a source of exercise for memory, analytical ability, concentration and other complex cognitive skills. In fact, gaming is used by many in the education field when planning lessons as their break-away sessions in the blended learning format, including assessments. As it continues to gain prominence, fine-tuning cognitive and analytical skills to sharper response time, and heightened spatial ability, it has been noticed that gamers get better prepared to handle problem-solving as they make those split-second decisions.”

Fatema Agarkar
Founder, Agarkar Centre of Excellence (ACE)

About one in every four gamers thought that online gaming is a viable profession and this reflects the shift in the industry currently. Lockdowns and social distancing during the past year saw an increasing number of people turn their passion for gaming into a full-time career.

Today, a professional gamer who has signed up with an esports company can earn anywhere around INR 5,000-45,000 per month. The 2019 India series of a popular mobile game saw the regional finalist team win INR 4,50,000.

The report found that 51 per cent of women believed that physical and mental skills like ‘memory’ and ‘reflexes’ were essential for online gamers (compared to 33 per cent men). More than two-thirds of men (67 per cent) believed that cognitive skills such as strategy, logic, understanding of risk and returns, and determination were prerequisites for online gamers (compared to 49 per cent of women).

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