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Escorts foray into gaming and animation

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CIOL Bureau
New Update

NEW DELHI: The Rs 32 billion Escorts Group has made a foray into the

high-growth areas of animation and games software development through its Group

company, Escosoft Technologies.

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"While all other sector in the IT industry is witnessing a slowdown, it

is the world of games and animation that is growing unabated," says Head of

the Interactive Division at Escosoft Manvendra Shukul. The animation division

called Escotoonz is currently developing prototypes and is busy putting its team

in place.

The most pressing concern before this division today is to have a team in

place. "We have started an animation school in Delhi in order to develop

our resource pool, says Shukul." A seven-month course is for Rs 65,000,

screening is very stringent allowing only those with the best sketching skills

to be admitted. Trainers from Disney have been hired to hone the technical

skills of the students. The animation division of Escosoft is expected to go

commercial within a month's time.

As far as the games division is concerned, Escosoft has had a head-start by

merging with Microcosm in January 2000, a start-up owned by Shukul. Microcosm

had already been working on a games engine for about a year which is now nearing

completion and is expected to hit the market sometime in the middle of next

year. Escosoft is working in collaboration with various international games

publisher to get its products into the international market.

Since the gaming engine would be its own, Escosoft's cost of development is

expected to be very low as compared to other games developers. With around 600

games engines available in the market the cost of licensing a good gaming engine

could be a high as $ 2,500 per game, which drastically impacts the cost of

development.

Markets as diverse as the UK and US are increasingly looking at India as a

destination for games development. Escosoft is in the process of working out a

business alliance with UK-based Creative Industries. Andrew Senior, the head of

Creative Industries says that "The games industry in UK is bigger than the

entertainment industry." Britain with a population of 57 million sold 36

million games during 1996-99. A billion-pound industry, it is growing at 20

percent-30 percent annually, but it does not have the expertise to develop games

on its own. That is where India has a huge opportunity as Britain looks towards

India as a games development destination. Already a large number of Indian

developers have flocked to the UK specifically to help develop games.

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