Cannes: Riding on its extensive cinema industry, which produces one of the largest number of films in India, the government of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is keen to use the latest technological innovations in the industry to create skill development and employment opportunities for its youth.
"We are planning to set up a GAME city which will serve as the hub for Gaming, Animation, Media & Entertainment in the country," Ponnala Lakshmaiah, the state`s minister for information technology and communications, told IANS on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival.
It is with the mission of making Hyderabad the new nerve centre of gaming, video special effects (VFX) and animation that Lakshmaiah has come to the fest. He says his government has created a special policy for promoting the development of these activities in the state.
"The city will be spread over 30 acres and its first phase will have an area of 600,000 sq.ft. where young entrepreneurs and developers can take even a single desk space. The GAME city will be equipped by the latest, state of the art equipment and all the requisite software required for these activities that will allow our youth to launch directly into these activities," the minister said.
"The GAME city will be a greenfield concept with an incubation tower of 11 floors with the first three floors with preview theatres of 250 and 100 seats each. This will allow the young entrepreneurs to take advantage of all the equipment, software and other facilities which otherwise can cost a lot. The government will instal these facilities and lease to the users at extremely reasonable rates so that they can thus literally start to work and deliver from day 1," Lakshmaiah said.
The Andhra Pradesh government will spend about Rs.240 crore ($43 million) on the first phase, which will be completed by the end of 2014.
India currently has only one percent of the gaming and animation markets globally which are valued at $180 billion a year.
"I am certain that the latest infrastructure like the GAME city will help Indians take a larger slice of the global market and eventually our share will reach 15 percent," said K. Basi Reddy, managing director of Digiquest, a Hyderabad-based gaming and animation company.
To create greater awareness about this emerging field, the state government is also rolling out international awards for gaming, animation and VFX. The first awards will be given away in November 2013. "
"These awards will create a lot of awareness and encourage the young entrepreneurs to take to this field, Lakshmaiah said, adding that the government will take the message to each district in the state."
"We will also be providing very high-speed broadband connectivity to people in the remote areas and villages so that they can participate in this industry from their homes. They can contribute in some way by doing parts of the animaton/VFX. We will initially provide this connectivity to 25,000 villages and are rolling out the 4G technology for this to allow the latest technology for our youth. We will also introduce the subject in universities and schools to train the students, the minister added.