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Digital Gaming Sector Needs Enabling Legal and Policy Framework in India: IAMAI Report

The IAMAI report strongly suggests legal and policy changes that could help unlock the industry’s true potential

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The Indian gaming market stands at $930 million today and the industry is predicted to soon grow bigger than the music, movie and television industries put together, according to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Ikigai Law, titled ‘Unpacking a Billion Dollar Industry: Digital Sports & Games in India’. 

The Internet and Mobile Association of India [IAMAI] is a young and vibrant association with ambitions of representing the entire gamut of digital businesses in India.

According to the report, the industry presents a promising future and can be a key pillar of India’s digital ecosystem. This Report puts in perspective the value of digital games and sports for our society and economy. Hence, the report strongly suggests legal and policy changes that could help unlock the industry’s true potential.

The report finds that there has been a rapid investment in the Indian gaming industry. India’s gaming industry has attracted approximately USD 900 million between 2014 and 2020. Marquee investors such as Sequoia and Softbank are key investors in Indian market, and the government also investing in the sector. The Karnataka government has set up an INR 20 crore fund for animation, visual effects, and gaming.

Significantly, the report finds that there has been a steep rise of Indian game developers. India has 275 game development companies with over 15000 game developers. Around 5468 Indian game publishers are present on the Google Play Store offering 19518 games across categories. India is also a global talent hub for the gaming industry. International studios like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Nvidia, and Zynga already have centers in India. With ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’, promoting Indian game developers will create huge returns and help India position itself as a market leader in gaming.

Digital games and the sports industry has opened numerous job opportunities in India with close to 23,000 gaming-based job openings in India, with annual salary packages ranging from INR 3 lakhs to over INR 40 lakhs. Jobs for game design, technology, marketing, sales, data analysis, among others, have emerged. The industry has also created ancillary jobs for live streamers, coaches, mentors, sport therapists, and marketing agents.

Every industry needs a robust legal and policy framework to grow and digital gaming is no different. The report states that India’s gaming sector faces uncertain laws that are unconducive to innovation. While changes in state gambling laws create uncertainty, the inability of the law to address issues around taxation, intellectual property, and content pushes companies to rehash business models. At the same time, unlike its global counterparts, India is yet to focus on the skillfulness of its labour that can fit into the gaming industry. We are also lagging behind in leveraging the potential of gamification to boost key economic sectors. Therefore, there is a need for an enabling legal and policy framework in India for the sector to flourish.