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Esports Gets Official Stamp of Approval from Indian Government

In a historic decision, the central government of India approved the inclusion of esports in the list of sporting events along with other sports. Esports was previously considered a game of chance rather than a game of skill, and therefore it has been facing a social stigma in the country for a long time. Now, the government’s approval is expected to help promote the game in the mainstream and develop a separate structure for Esports in India by regulating the industry and various associations.

The move has been welcomed wholeheartedly by Esports enthusiasts across the nation. The term “Esports” was coined in 2000, but it was not until 2012 that it became popular among the masses. Since then, Esports has seen phenomenal growth in terms of popularity, media coverage, and funding. In 2015, the world saw an unprecedented surge in the Esports industry with participation from global brands and organizations. The esports market was estimated to be valued at $463 million in 2016, and it is expected to go over $1.8 billion by 2025.

Esports has evolved from being a hobby to a full-fledged profession for many talented youngsters across the globe. In a recent survey, it was found that a significant number of teenagers would prefer to pursue a career in Esports rather than any other profession.

Recently, the Indian government formed a Task Force to look into the issue of regulating Esports. After holding several discussions, the Task Force recommended that the government should classify Esports as a sport to ensure that it is given due recognition as a competitive sport.

Official Twitter Announcement From ANI
Official Twitter Announcement From ANI

This was followed by the central cabinet approving the recommendations. Esports will now be considered a multi-sport event along with Cricket, Football, Tennis, Badminton, etc. The Indian Esports community has expressed their happiness over the decision.

The decision has come as a major boost to the Esports Industry in India and is expected to pave the way for more foreign investments in the Esports domain.

Esports in India

The Indian government had already proposed to set up a self-regulatory body to establish rules and regulations and help in setting standards for Esports in India. The proposed body will also be responsible for creating an ecosystem for the development and promotion of Esports across the country. According to industry experts, the primary objectives of the organization should include the following:

  • Promote, develop, monitor, and regulate Esports as a sport and provide a platform for young Indian talents to showcase their skills.
  • Establish a framework for licensing and accreditation of Esports organizations/teams.
  • Create a conducive environment for attracting private investment in Esports.
  • Set up an appropriate mechanism for grievance redressal in case of any violation of law or regulations.

Skill-based games: These are the games where the participants’ skills determine the result. For example, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, FIFA, and Call of Duty are considered skill-based games.

Chance-based games: These are the games where the outcome depends upon pure luck.

Until now, the lack of a clear policy on Esports has led to uncertainty in the industry, thereby affecting the growth of Esports in India. With the approval of the ESports, the government has made a positive step toward establishing a robust Esports ecosystem in the country.

The Indian Esports domain has a lot of potential, and it is expected that the new regulation will significantly spur the growth of Esports in India. The Indian government has recognized and acknowledged the value of Esports, and this will go a long way in ensuring that Esports becomes a mainstream sport in India.

History of global Esports

The first esports competition was hosted by Stanford University in 1972. It was a Spacewar championship where students from universities across the USA competed against each other. The winner received a year’s subscription to Rolling Stone as a prize.

Two years later, in 1974, the Japanese hosted a countrywide video games tournament. From that point, such matches and competitions continued to take place across the western part of the world, and as a result, the popularity of video games started gaining momentum in the West during the 1980s.

Esports in the Asian Region

Video games became popular in Asia in 2000 when South Korea was going through an economic downturn. Many young Korean citizens went jobless, and as a result, they got hooked on video games. The Korean government saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on the situation and decided to encourage the game by opening the Korean e-Sports Association under its Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. Russia and China followed suit in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Today, South Korea and China host the most Esports tournaments, leagues, and championships, dominating the world Esports scene.

The Current State of Esports in India

In India, Esports is still in its nascent stage, and there are not many tournaments and events that are being organized here. A majority of the players in India are concentrated in metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru, and a significant portion of India’s young population is still unaware of the potential of Esports. While China has over 487 million Esports enthusiasts who play competitively and watch professionally organized eSports tournaments, India has only around 600,000 active players.

However, the country has witnessed rapid expansion in the last few years – the user base has doubled from 2020 to 2021, and the sector has increased its revenue by 29% within the same period. In addition, internet speed is also improving in India. With more cities, especially the tier-2 ones, expected to get connected to highspeed 5G internet in the coming days, there will be a surge in the number of gamers. On top of that, India is expecting to reach a whopping 800 million smartphone users in 2022, according to a recent study.

Therefore, the Indian Esports market has the potential to grow exponentially, and the government needs to do its bit to ensure that it does. With the Indian government recognizing Esports as a sport, we expect a gradual growth of the Indian Esports market.

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