Online Games To Attract More Money and Eyeballs

Online gaming industry in India holds the promise of employment and business opportunities in e-sports amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.


Image source: TechGig

Ram Rakshith V

Bengaluru: Largely driven by smartphones, affordable data, and increasing disposable income, the online gaming industry in the country is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% to $2.8 billion by 2022, up from $1.1 billion in 2019, according to a Deloitte India report released early this year. The industry has been growing exponentially amidst the pandemic and holds the promise of employment and business opportunities in e- sports.

“Karnataka has the potential and infrastructure to capitalise on the growth in mobile games. Ten thousand people have been getting training and employment in this system every year. E-sports in the country could generate Rs 40,000 crore in the next four to five years,” according to Mr Biren Ghose, Chairman of National Animation Games and Visual Effects Committee. He said that there were 400 start-ups in the country including 71 in Karnataka, valued at $ 885 million in the online gaming space.

The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) conducted an outreach programme recently in the State. The campaign, “Games for Future”, has explained why the online skill gaming industry needs to be nurtured and how different States will benefit socially and economically from this programme. As a part of the campaign, the AIGF had the opportunity to meet relevant stakeholders and presented a representation to the government to discuss the way forward.

One of the suggestions given to the government is to expand the existing Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Policy by including online skill-based games. “We have suggested to the State government to ensure there is a registration process for all the operators and their apps with the nodal government body concerned. The AIGF, its advisory board, and the stakeholders can help in this process by identifying operators and their apps. We have also suggested that a process be created to ensure the operators and their platforms function legally in an environment that will automatically ban the illegal gaming sites in the State,” Mr Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation, has said.

According to a report by KPMG on the rise of e-sports in the country, the online viewership touched 17 million in 2020. The report estimates the viewership count to cross 130 million by 2025. The prize pool of e-sports has grown by 25 to 30 percent in the last two years. In 2019, 285 players from across the country earned around Rs 1.49 crores. The report has also highlighted that there are more than 365 million people in the country involved in the online gaming market. As of 2020, India ranks 16 in the world in e-sports.  

The Centre and the AIGF are working on a policy to enhance skill development by distinguishing skill-based games from gambling and by leveraging gamification in different sectors. The State government is proposing to bring in a law to regulate online gambling as there is no mechanism currently to monitor whether any online game is a game of chance or it involves skill.

The AIGF is trying to provide employment opportunities for game publishers; professional gamers; tournament and event organisers; e-sports start-up investors; and software and hardware developers. Many indigenous games are also being developed under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme of the Union Government.

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