Government gives official recognition to esports
The Indian government has made an important decision that could significantly impact regional gaming and associated industries. Following the latest legislative action, esports will be included in national multi-sports events. The change was published in The Gazette, the Indian parliament's official record.
With massive internet availability and digital technology improvements, the Indian gaming sector has expanded vastly in the last few years, with a growing foothold in PCs and handheld devices. Hence, this latest move provides a much-needed official acknowledgment.
A budding interest in gaming pushed the youth into esports and associated content creation. Indian gamers and content creators have made significant moves at the regional and international levels. The number of creators making gaming-related content full-time is evidence of the tremendous success of this cottage industry.
Despite the growth, there have been several uncertainties that have riddled the local gaming industry. One of the major sticking points has been the sudden ban of popular games like PUBG, Free Fire, and BGMI, which abruptly halted the careers of many. Moreover, the government provided a blanket reason for "national security concerns" without resolving the dilemma that came with the sudden bans.
Even though BGMI was developed after PUBG's ban with the direct oversight of the Indian government, the game was taken down just as it was beginning to thrive. So far, there is no information on the ban-reversal of any of the titles.
However, with the recent acknowledgment of esports by the government, things might be looking up for regional gamers. Including esports in multi-sports events will likely have a positive impact, as it provides game manufacturers and players with some assurance of a brighter future.
Earlier in the year, the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham included esports as a pilot event. This proves that the industry is growing internationally. The now-delayed Asian Games 2022 will also include competitive gaming. While esports debuted at the 2021 Asian Games, this time, it will be a mainstream event. However, the tournament has been pushed to 2023 due to COVID.
The latest decision will likely change the country's competitive gaming landscape. Its inclusion in the multi-sports category means that all tournaments will be given the same status as other physical events.
India has hosted the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. Esports could be a significant category the next time the country hosts either of these tournaments.
Moreover, this inclusion will undoubtedly help build a competitive gaming ecosystem and churn out regional titles better suited to the players' and audience's mindsets. Unlike the West, India's professional gaming scene for handheld devices has dramatically increased. Much of its growth has resulted from cheaper devices flooding the market and better access to high-speed internet.
While mobile gaming has continued to become a robust market, PC titles like FIFA 23 and Valorant are also gaining popularity. Such games will likely host more servers in India and push regional gamers to turn their hobbies into full-time careers.