Devs request Indian government to distinguish video games from gambling

A group of 44 India-based game developers and esports companies have sent a letter to the country’s Ministry of Electronics, Information and Technology (MeitY), demanding a distinction between them and ‘real money games’ (RMG). (via GamesIndustry.biz)

Earlier this month, MeitY shared its draft online gaming rules, which would require online games to register with a self-regulatory body to be able to maintain operations in the country, and prevent them from engaging in ‘’betting’’.

However, the group, which was organized by Outlier Games, alleges that the amendments put them and real-money games under the same category, and demands MeitY to create a clear distinction between them.

The business model, consumer engagement behaviour, legal environment and peripheral operations of the two industries are totally different between video games and online games played for stakes,” the group said in the letter. “Thus, it is neither accurate nor fair for the two to be clubbed together under the same regulatory framework as it calls for distinct measures rather than blanket measures to address the unique circumstances of the respective industries.

Gametion, SuperGaming, Ncore, Nodding Head Games, Lila Games and Loco are among the members of the group, which also said that researchers in other countries generally don’t include revenue from real money games and Fantasy Sports when creating reports on online games and estimating their revenue.

And for the concerns over the traditional gaming industry, the groups says an ”India-specific age and content rating mechanism” could be created, just like North America’s Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) in the European Union.

In addition, to address issues such as gaming addiction among children, as well as in-app purchases and harmful content they’re exposed to online, ‘’creating a robust framework’’ could provide a solution, the group added.

According to a recent report from PocketGamer.Biz, India was the fastest growing gaming market in Asia last year, in terms of average revenue per unit, gaming revenue, and the number of gamers. While China still has the biggest market share, India is slowly closing the gap, the report suggests.

Meanwhile, gamers in India are no longer able to access many titles that became hits around the world, like Free Fire and PUBG Mobile (also its Indian version BattleGrounds Mobile India).

Written by Maya Robertson

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