India’s premier public technical and research universities will offer video game development courses starting with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay or IIT Bombay for short.
The announcement was made by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar. He stated that the Information and Broadcasting ministry in collaboration with IIT Bombay will form a Centre of Excellence in gaming and related areas like visual effects and animation. Courses will begin from this year itself he said.
Interestingly, Ubisoft’s India operations had partnered with IIT Bombay in the past. Ubisoft India boss Jean-Philippe Pieuchot claimed that it was to develop tools for internal use. We reached out to Ubisoft for comment regarding its potential involvement in this and will update the story if we hear from the company.
This aside, Javadekar had some choice words for the current state of video games.
According to MensXP, the Union Minister mentioned that many mobile games are “violent, explicit and addictive,” and the government plans to promote Indian cultural ethos in games.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is passionate about preserving and perpetuating Indian values, heritage and cultural ethos and is putting in the immense effort so that the children and youth of our country are made aware of our rich culture and tradition,” the minister said.
“We can also introduce those values via modern technology and put it to optimum use,” he said.
“PUBG was just one example of it, but criticising those games is not the solution. The solution is to create our own games and apps in line with #MakeInIndia for the world so that these are adopted the world over for their basic values that are an integral part of our Indian ethos,” Javadekar said.
Several IGN India readers were alarmed by Javadekar’s comments, writing in to ask if the government had plans to ban video games. Considering that PUBG Mobile continues to be banned and that India has had over 400 Internet shutdowns in the last four years as well as new OTT regulations that appear to restrict artistic freedoms, it would be unfair to blame the layperson for thinking that this may be on the cards.
That said, it would seem borderline ridiculous to ban video games at a time when the government seems to be cognisant of their importance. After all, it’s not everyday that IITs, seen by many in India as the ultimate bastion for education to host video game development.
Hopefully this is a step in the right direction that involves the government helping the games industry grow. It’s a necessity at a time when the industry itself remains silent on the occasion when its voice needs to be heard.