The next few years will be seminal for the Indian gaming industry

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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The next few years will be seminal for the Indian gaming industry

In the past few years, the Indian online skill-gaming industry has grown at a tremendous rate, including during the Covid-19 lockdown. In spite of its stellar performance, the industry was subjected to sporadic bans. We have on several occasions given our suggestions on streamlining the industry and introducing a regulatory framework that ensures operational clarity. It is in this light that the events of the past few days, especially the announcement of the AVGC Promotion Task Force in the 2022 Union Budget, have been seminal for Indian online skill gaming.

The 2022 Union Budget has provided strong tailwinds that our expectations will be met through conscious government action, while taking on board all stakeholders, including the gaming industry. We had since long advocated for greater regulation to enable steady job creation as well as support for taking Made in India game titles to the global stage, and the Task Force is an endorsement of our forward-looking suggestions for AVGC. We wholeheartedly commend the government for creating the AVGC Promotion Task Force for capacity development and employment generation. The announcement of the Task Force, to build domestic capacity for serving domestic and global markets also reflects the government’s commitment to work with the industry, and accommodate needs of all stakeholders.

The Indian mobile gaming sector in particular competes with the top 5 countries globally, and will be worth USD 40 Billion in the next 2 years.

We take confidence from the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s recognition earlier this week of Indian mobile gaming’s stature at the global stage. We are grateful for his encouragement to Indian game developers. We hope this will also dissuade sweeping statements made against the alleged ill-effects of gaming. As a largely self-regulated industry, we had adopted several best practices to ensure user safety and fair play. We are glad that our efforts have resulted in clear support from the top leadership. In spite of the depth of talent in the country, we have struggled to make our mark in competitive gaming. We hope that now more players will be encouraged to take up gaming, albeit responsibly, including as a professional sport.

In terms of next steps, it will be prudent that the Task Force is set up without delay, comprising of AVGC experts and private sector representatives and industry organizations. We recommend the Task Force to create a clear mandate, and work at record speed to achieve India’s first AVGC Policy.

In his speech, the Hon’ble PM expressed his desire to see India as a hub of global game developers, with innovation rooted in local talent; this will be a guiding mark for the Task Force, and it will be rewarding for us to contribute our energies to this end. We expect the Task Force will include in its mandate creation of Centres of Excellence and localized Development Labs to make state-of-art animation, design and development facilities available to local talent, and provide opportunities for upskilling promising individuals. In sum, a comprehensive national AVGC Policy should put forward measures to increase demand for Made in India game titles, create a healthy availability of Indian developers, animators and designer, provides an ecosystem that upskills talented individuals, institutionalize access to financial capital as well as infrastructure, and incentivizes global players to set up hubs in India.  On our part, at MPL we already work with numerous game developers and have on-boarded over 70 games on our platforms, with a majority of them being Made in India. The net earnings from such publications stands at INR 137 Crores for Indian game developers. Going forward, we aim to double down on developing even more game titles by tapping on Indian talent to ‘Create in India’, as currently, all popular games are by Chinese or western studios.

Apart from the Task Force, we hope the union government will also look at clarifying issues related to taxation, regulation of game of skills in line with the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s precedent, as well as guidance on safety measures such as age rating, which along with the AVGC Policy, will go a long way in supporting a structured growth of the industry.

The next few years will be seminal for the Indian gaming industry, and we, along with the government and other industry members, hope to usher in the Amrit Kaal of Indian gaming.

[author title=”Sai Srinivas, Co-Founder and CEO, Mobile Premier League” image=”http://”][/author]

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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