Getting to a New Level in India’s Online Gaming Sector


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Getting to a New Level in India’s Online Gaming Sector Blog Image


  • The Prime Minister of India has set forth a vision to position India as a leading global gaming hub, recognising the potential of the online gaming industry in driving economic growth and innovation.
  • A recent engagement with top gamers highlighted key areas of focus, including regulatory clarity, cultural integration, and diversity in the gaming landscape.
  • Amid these developments, it is necessary to look into the rapid growth of India's gaming industry, existing challenges, and the strategies needed to propel India to the forefront of the global gaming arena.

Growth, Potentials and Strategic Significance of India’s Gaming Industry

  • Exponential Growth and Resilience
    • The online gaming industry in India has experienced exponential growth, marked by a remarkable Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28% between fiscal years 2020 and 2023.
    • This growth trajectory underscores the industry's resilience and adaptability, particularly in the face of evolving technological landscapes and shifting consumer preferences.
    • Such robust expansion positions the gaming sector as a significant contributor to India's digital economy, reflecting its potential to drive innovation, create employment opportunities, and attract investments, both domestic and foreign.
  • Promising Projections
    • Projections for the future paint an even more promising picture, with estimates suggesting that the industry's revenue could reach ₹33,243 crore by fiscal year 2028, maintaining a sustained CAGR of 15%.
    • This forecast underscores the continued momentum and upward trajectory of the online gaming market in India, highlighting its role as a key growth engine within the broader digital ecosystem.
  • Untapped Potential
    • One notable aspect of India's gaming industry is its relatively small share of the global online gaming revenue, standing at just 1.1%.
    • This statistic underscores the immense untapped potential that exists within the Indian gaming market.
    • Despite the industry's rapid growth and significant contributions to the domestic economy, there remains ample room for expansion and further penetration into global markets.
  • Global Comparison and Benchmark
    • The global gaming industry surpassed $300 billion in revenue in 2021, surpassing the combined markets for the movie and music industries.
    • This statistic serves as a compelling benchmark for the potential scale of India's gaming market.
  • Alignment with Digital India Vision
    • Moreover, the online gaming industry's alignment with India's broader Digital India vision and initiatives underscores its strategic importance within the country's economic development agenda.
    • Leveraging India's technological prowess and digital infrastructure, the gaming sector has emerged as a natural fit for driving growth and innovation in the digital era. 

Scrutiny of Policy Framework and Regulatory Clarity

  • Establishment of Regulatory Frameworks
    • The establishment of regulatory frameworks, such as the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, Comic, and Extended Reality taskforce, and the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules of 2021, has provided a semblance of clarity for online gaming startups.
    • These initiatives represent a proactive approach by the government to address the evolving landscape of digital entertainment and ensure a conducive environment for industry growth.
    • By delineating guidelines and ethical standards, these regulations aim to foster responsible conduct among industry stakeholders while safeguarding the interests of consumers.
  • Challenges in Effective Implementation
    • However, challenges persist in the effective implementation of these regulations,highlighting the complexities inherent in governing a dynamic and rapidly evolving industry.
    • Despite the existence of regulatory frameworks, enforcement mechanisms and oversight mechanisms need strengthening to ensure compliance and accountability.
    • The effectiveness of these regulations depends on robust enforcement mechanisms that can keep pace with technological advancements and emerging trends within the gaming sector.
  • Role of Self-Regulation
    • Moreover, the issue of self-regulation has garnered attention as a complementary approach to formal regulatory frameworks.
    • NITI Aayog's discussion paper with draft guiding principles for the online fantasy gaming sector proposed a self-regulatory model of governance with a self-regulatory organization at its helm.
    • This model recognises the importance of industry-led initiatives in nurturing responsible gaming practices and maintaining consumer trust.
    • By empowering industry stakeholders to develop and enforce standards of conduct, self-regulation can supplement formal regulatory frameworks and promote greater transparency and accountability within the industry.
  • Impact of Taxation Revisions
    • Furthermore, recent revisions in taxation have added another layer of complexity to the regulatory landscape.
    • The decision to enforce a tax rate of 28% on the total face value of bets, regardless of whether the activity is classified as a game of skill or chance, has raised concernsamong industry players.
    • This tax revision, implemented during the Goods and Services Tax Council meeting in July 2023, represents a significant shift in taxation policy for online gaming firms.
    • While intended to bolster tax revenue for the government, it poses challenges for startups and threatens their long-term viability and competitiveness.

Policy Suggestions for India’s Pathways to Global Prominence in Gaming Industry

  • Enabling Environment for Skill Gaming
    • A critical step towards global prominence involves creating an enabling environment for skill-based gaming.
    • By distinguishing between games of skill and games of chance, policymakers can create a regulatory framework that incentivises innovation and competition while ensuring consumer protection.
    • Clear guidelines and standards for skill-based gaming can enhance investor confidence and attract top talent, positioning India as a preferred destination for gaming development and entrepreneurship.
  • Enhance Regulatory Clarity and Stability
    • Regulatory clarity and stability are essential for developing industry growth and attracting investments.
    • India must continue to refine its regulatory frameworks to provide certainty and predictability for industry stakeholders.
    • This includes strengthening enforcement mechanisms, promoting self-regulation, and addressing taxation concerns to create a conducive business environment.
    • By establishing clear and consistent rules of engagement, India can mitigate risks and instil confidence in both domestic and international investors.
  • Cultural Integration and Narrative Development
    • India's rich cultural heritage offers a unique advantage in shaping the gaming landscape and appealing to diverse audiences worldwide.
    • By capitalising on themes inspired by Indian mythology, folklore, and history, game developers can create immersive and culturally relevant gaming experiences.
    • These narratives not only cater to domestic audiences but also resonate with global gamers, fostering cross-cultural appreciation and engagement.
    • By leveraging its cultural assets, India can differentiate itself in the global gaming market and carve out a niche for its unique storytelling traditions.
  • Investment in Talent Development and Infrastructure
    • Investment in talent development and infrastructure is crucial for nurturing India's gaming ecosystem and fostering innovation.
    • Initiatives such as skill development programs, academic partnerships, and industry collaborations can equip aspiring game developers with the necessary skills and resources to succeed in the competitive global market.
    • Additionally, investments in digital infrastructure, such as high-speed internet connectivity and cloud gaming platforms, can facilitate seamless gameplay experiences and enable India to compete on a global scale.


  • India's gaming industry stands at a transformative juncture, with immense potential for growth and global prominence.
  • By addressing regulatory challenges, leveraging cultural heritage, and fostering diversity, India can establish itself as a leader in the global gaming arena.
  • With concerted efforts and strategic initiatives, India is poised to realise its vision of becoming a prominent global gaming hub, driving economic growth and innovation in the digital age.

Q) What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on the gaming industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the gaming industry, leading to increased engagement and revenue. With people spending more time indoors, there has been a surge in gaming activity, resulting in higher player numbers, longer play sessions, and a boost in digital sales. Additionally, the pandemic has accelerated trends like remote work and digital distribution, shaping the industry's future landscape.

Q) What are some emerging trends in the gaming industry to watch out for in the coming years?

Several emerging trends are shaping the future of the gaming industry. These include the continued rise of mobile gaming, the growing influence of esports and streaming platforms, the development of virtual and augmented reality experiences, the expansion of cloud gaming services, and the increasing focus on inclusive and diverse game development. Additionally, advancements in technology, such as 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence, are poised to further transform the gaming landscape.

Source:The Hindu