Online gaming is India's fastest-growing digital entertainment
The soon-to-be multi-billion dollar online gaming industry has a lot to offer in terms of the diversity of products, services, technological developments, job opportunities, and more.
The pandemic saw an unprecedented increase in gaming activity, especially on old favourites like ludo, carrom or any other classic board game on their mobile to enjoy playing with friends and family. The soon-to-be multi-billion dollar online gaming industry has a lot to offer in terms of the diversity of products, services, technological developments, job opportunities, and more.
Although it still faces perspective biases in India from key sections of society on issues ranging from addiction to taboo, the behavioural shift of the consumer is here to stay. There are valid concerns surrounding the stigma of gaming being harmful or dangerous owing to investments of time or money, depending on the segment of the users, and the ecosystem will need to work with key government stakeholders to address that.
Needless to say, anything in excess has adverse effects, be it binge eating, shopping or gaming. This brings in the need for higher levels of self-control from a user, which can happen if more power is shifted to the user’s hands. Spain has recently mooted the idea of making it mandatory for all real-money gaming businesses to ensure that players select options on time and money limits at the beginning of every week so that they stick to their limits. Since it is hard to unilaterally shift power back to the players owing to a conflict of business interests, there is a need for regulations and policies to force operators to do so.
These issues don’t necessarily stem only from real money gaming, as there have been numerous reported unfortunate incidents of young children and families being impacted by other forms of online gaming, such as first-person shooter games. India will need to come up with some kind of framework to address various segments of the gaming ecosystem to ensure that these businesses remain a mode of entertainment and not an unaccounted escape from reality. Having said that, there are some self-regulatory bodies that are proactively trying to keep operators in check by adhering to certain standards of integrity, transparency, and responsible play for users. While these are the right steps in the right direction, there needs to be more to follow.