IndiaTech has written to the Ministry of Electronics and IT suggesting the framing of a ‘Code for Responsible Online Gaming’. Previously, the industry body representing India’s consumer internet startups, unicorns, and investors wrote two letters to the ministry. It has been suggested that the code for online gaming should include policies that put age restrictions or genre-based classifications, AI-based algorithms to monitor and regulate money spent and wins.
Apart from that, they also suggested that the guidelines should include cultural sensitivities and a no bots policy, to be fair to players. The industry body recommended standards similar to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a self-regulatory body set up in 1994 that assigns age and content ratings to video games in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
IndiaTech has always maintained an argument that banning is not the solution. The government and the industry should have meaningful dialogues along with noted expertise in various fields like mental health and law. Instead of outright bans, according to IndiaTech, governments need to work towards developing a framework and ensure compliance to the Code For Responsible Online Gaming.
According to Economic Times, Rameesh Kailasam, president and CEO of IndiaTech said, “People from the civil society feel that online gaming may be addictive and lead to behavioural issues besides causing financial stress. Before the governments and lawmakers jump into any form of conclusion, we wanted to present guiding principles and means to regulate the industry and for government and industry to jointly work towards a Code for Responsible Online Gaming. The rating would help users make informed choices, according to the letter, making a case for standardised code and how online games are “non-addictive.”
IndiaTech has also submitted recommendations to the government that the code should involve the creation of a safe user environment that abides by privacy norms, protects against cyberbullying, online predators, malware, and provides protection from cyber frauds. They recommended that online skill-based casual games and sports formats should be recognized as a category that is predominantly skill-based and is non-addictive.
The online gaming sector has grown exponentially amid the pandemic. The online gaming market in India grew from $543 Million in 2016 to $1.027 Billion in 2020. India also moved to the top global spot in mobile game downloads in the first nine months of 2020 with 7.3 Billion downloads. It is expected to surge upto $5 billion by 2025, according to the report released in November.