A few weeks back, the Government of India released a notification about online gaming, stating that real-money games will now be clubbed with video games and that both will be regulated by the MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology). In response, many Indian gaming firms have reportedly sent a letter to the ministry, seeking clarification on certain matters.
In the letter, representatives of the video gaming industry have asked the government to differentiate casual "online games" from "real money games." Multiple sources suggest that the letter has signatures from more than 40 representatives of firms like Gametion, SuperGaming, Loco, Rooter, and more.
The companies raised multiple concerns besides the demand to separate casual games from the ones played for stakes.
Representatives from Indian video games industry ask MeitY for clarity around online gaming's definition
When the GOI (Government of India) allocated the authoritative power necessary for regulating online games to MeitY, it did not clarify the definition of the same in the press release. So, casual games like Candy Crush and Ludo King were clubbed with fantasy sport apps like Teen Patti and other gambling games.
Therefore, gaming companies in India are now seeking clarity around the definition of online games. Other concerns that representatives raised via the letter involve the implementation of KYC norms and child safety.
Previously, the Union Government's Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, had made a bold statement about the future of online games in the country when he claimed, "Shillong will have India's first Centre of Excellence in online gaming" by March 2023.
Central Government allocates esports to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports
Besides allocating online video games to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Central Government also made the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports the nodal ministry for esports. It implies that esports is now recognized by the Indian government as a multi-sports event and will be regulated by the Department of Sports of the YAS Ministry.
Many hailed the decision, including PUBG India CEO and head of Krafton's Indian division Sean Hyunil Sohn. He even tagged the decision as "pathbreaking" and wrote in a LinkedIn post:
"This official acknowledgment will go a long way in boosting job creation, creating new business opportunities, and opening new avenues for the youth to realize their potential."
"We look forward to seeing eSports further integrated in competitive gaming and we as KRAFTON are confident to play our part in furthering the vision of a thriving gaming ecosystem in India."
Interestingly, the decision has not brought any visibly significant changes such as the ban-reversal of video games like PUBG Mobile, BGMI (Battlegrounds Mobile India), Garena Free Fire, and more.