Achhe din (It’s a great time) for esports! Indian government made an official announcement that esports will become part of ‘multisports events’ under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Esports in India has grown exponentially and it was high time that esports received its well deserved recognition by Government of India. If we go back in the year 2022, we can see that the Asian Games designated esports to be medal sports, and the Indian Dota 2 team went on to win the bronze medal in the Common Wealth Esports Championship 2022.
The government’s endeavour to support the million dollar sector can be seen in the recognition of esports as a ‘multisports events’ that will fall under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as well as the inclusion of a section related to “matters relating to online gaming” under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Earlier the animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics (AVGC) promotion task force was established by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) to make recommendations on how to market and meet the global demand for the AVGC industry and today the draft policy of the same has been submitted. The government is continuously working to streamline the industry as it has huge potential to bring billion dollar business, job creation and investments. With current development, the Indian government has stated its goals and desire to support esports and the country’s digital economy.
Since government declared esports ‘multisports events’ under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, it also portrays that the government is considering esports as a sports. As a further step, we believe that a formal framework and a federation or committee that has been recognised by the government are needed to synchronise the industry and provide more clarity for the enthusiasts especially the new entrants. A solid foundation is necessary for a well-regulated economy, and these advancements make it clear that both the gaming and esports industries have bright futures ahead of them.
Here’s what industry experts had to say:
Esports Federation of India director and Asian Esports Federation (AESF) vice president Lokesh Suji said, “Great news for us to begin the New Year. We have been constantly working on establishing the difference between esports and iGaming, and finally, our efforts have been fulfilled. We welcome this announcement by our government under the leadership of Hon’ble PM Modi ji, which will open new avenues to pour in more investment opportunities in this booming industry. From now onwards, we will have to build the proper infrastructure, training facilities and coaching for our young esports athletes. Only a short time until we see Esports being placed in the same league as cricket, football, basketball, and so on and having similar fan power, scale and craze. With the latest announcement and India recently competing for medals at the inaugural Esports Asian Games, people are shaking off the misconceptions linked with esports as a passion or career option. The year 2023 beholds greater opportunities for esports and we are anticipating more favourable developments, only making it bigger. It surely has been a great year for Indian esports.”
Revenant Esports founder and CEO Rohit Jagasia said, “Today can be said to be the greatest day in Indian Esports history. The collective efforts of the entire gaming fraternity along with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and sports have finally reaped its rewards. We can now proudly consider Esports a legitimate sport in India. This revolutionary decision will not only transform the country’s gaming landscape in terms of improved infrastructure, funding, exposure and providing education about the sector but will also put India on the global Esports map as a force to be reckoned with. The year 2023 is undoubtedly going to be the start of the country’s golden era in Esports and with the Asian Games as well as the Olympic Esports Week also set to take place soon, there is a lot of success expected to be in store for the entire community.”
8bit Creatives founder and CEO and an ex-esports athlete Animesh Agarwal shared, “The entire Esports fraternity in India will be rejoicing with this welcome news which has certainly been a result of the gaming community’s collective efforts spanning over the last few years. Esports have already been considered as a medal sport in the Olympics and Asian games and this news will further boost the sport in the country as it was long overdue. The industry inclusive of developers, players and creators as a whole is growing at a fast pace and to come full-circle this recognition will be very thriving for the industry. It presents a clean slate for gamers and proves to neigh-sayers that esports is, in fact, a serious sport that deserves to be recognised for its skilled and hard-working players who will be competing against some of the world’s best players and put India on the map of professional gaming countries. At 8Bit Creatives and S8UL, this is a defining moment for us. The future of Indian esports holds great things from our side. We are committed to nurturing and supporting more and more esports players in our country, starting from ground zero with a refined vision of putting India on the map globally.”
All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers commented, “We welcome the appointment of MeitY as a nodal ministry for online gaming. A uniform central regulation for online skill gaming has been a long-standing demand of the industry and this step will hopefully lead to a progressive regulatory framework underpinned by consumer welfare. This will help further grow the industry and make online gaming a cornerstone of Digital India. We also welcome the move to have MYAS regulate esports as part of multi sports events. This will finally lead to the recognition of an India Esports Federation, better rules and procedures for selection of India teams for international events like Asian Games and also lead to better opportunities and facilities for our esports players on par with other sportspersons.”
STAN CEO and co-founder Parth Chadha shared, “At a time when gaming and esports are emerging as the fastest growing sectors of our economy, it is heartening to see the Government of India taking note of it and taking steps to uplift these sectors with increased regulatory clarity. We at STAN welcome this move to appoint nodal Ministries for online gaming as well as esports. This move is also in line with the much-needed agenda to recognize esports as an official sport in our country — thereby giving a fantastic boost and a level playing field to today’s esports athletes, gaming creators, and the community at large, and further also making esports a sunrise sector in India in 2023 and beyond.”
Rooter founder and CEO Piyush Kumar mentioned, “The Government of India’s recognition of esports as a part of multi-sports events is an extremely welcome move and comes at an opportune time for the industry which has already seen rapid growth in 2022 on the back of multiple domestic and international tournaments where Indian teams have proven their mettle. We expect to see many more Indian teams continue the momentum and bring global laurels. As esports goes mainstream, effective policy push will also see it grow at the grassroots stages, with many schools and colleges adopting esports at competitive and representative levels. It will also give a fillip to the whole ecosystem of game publishers, streaming platforms, eSports organizers and teams, creating more opportunities for employment growth in the space. We are hoping that with more government support to the space, 2023 will be a truly breakout year for the Indian esports ecosystem.”
NODWIN Gaming co-founder and managing director Akshat Rathee said, “While this is a great first step by the Indian government, it’s important to take cognizance of the nuances that could emerge from this statement. The insertion of “e-Sports as part of multi-sports events” needs to be closely examined so as not to exclude popular esport titles that are not directly linked to a traditional sport. Games like Valorant, Dota 2 and those created by Indian game developers should also have the opportunity to be classified as esports, and their players as athletes.”
Skyesports founder and CEO Shiva Nandy shared, “The inclusion of Esports under the Government of India (Allocation of Business Rules) is a big step to the widespread acceptance of the industry. It is also a very positive sign towards the growth of Indian Esports and for a medal-winning approach. Furthermore, the GOI has displayed understanding about what Esports is by allocating it under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. I’m confident that in the coming years we will be able to create an ecosystem where we can train young talent for esports just like we do for other sports.”
Loco founder Anirudh Pandita shared, “We welcome the Government of India’s decision to recognise esports as a component of multi-sport events and bring online gaming under the remit of MeitY. With this legislation, the government has underlined the importance of building a vibrant gaming ecosystem and we believe that if the industry works in resonance with the government, then India will become a global gaming superpower soon. In the past two years, Loco has been the largest investor in India’s game streaming and esports ecosystem and in 2023, we look forward to continuing our investment in domestic gaming technology and content initiatives.”
Lumikai founding general partner Salone Sehgal shared “ Esports being recognised as an official sport is a milestone event in making the gaming industry mainstream. With 507M gamers, India is emerging as a key gaming market in the world. Esports streaming watch hours already rival that of traditional sport. The further recognition of athletic achievement will result in an expansion of the gaming community, emergence of viable career options, bonafide support to Esports players, higher brand/ media engagement alongside the broader acceptance of gaming as an industry. Lumikai is heartened to see our research and recommendations assist in shaping policy and regulation. We expect the industry to make even greater strides in 2023. “