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Indian government officially recognizes esports as ‘multisports event’

The government of India has recognized esports as part of “multisports events.” It will be managed by the Department of Sports under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

The president of India, Droupadi Murmu, amended the laws regarding esports under “conferred by clause three of article 77 of the Constitution.” The decision was based on the argument that it is a competitive sport in which esports players utilize their mental and physical abilities to compete in the professional scene.

It also coincides with an increase in the demand for esports to be incorporated into the curriculum of multi-sport events. The demand rose after esports was included as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

Murmu also announced on December 23 that the IT Ministry will be in charge of online gaming matters. The differentiation was made since the industry has lobbied for esports to be separated from the “gaming” category.

Transforming esports landscape in India

The director of the Esports Federation of India and vice president of the Asian Esports Federation, Lokesh Suji, commented on the historic decision, saying, “Great news for us to begin the New Year.”

“We have been constantly working on establishing the difference between esports and iGaming, and finally, our efforts have been fulfilled,” he said.

Suji also said that the esport community applauded the government’s announcement, providing new possibilities for “more investment opportunities” in this thriving industry.

He explained that the government’s decision and India’s recent participation in the inaugural Esports Asian Games are dispelling myths about esports as a hobby or career option.

The historic choice was made in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the whole gaming industry. Rohit Jagasia, CEO and founder of Revenant Esports, described the moment as “the greatest day in Indian esports history.”

“We can now proudly consider esports as a legitimate sport in India,” he said.

According to Jagasia, the decision will not only transform the nation’s gaming scene in terms of better funding, visibility, and industry education, but it will also set up India as a significant player in the world of esports.

He is adamant that the nation’s esports golden age will surely begin in 2023 and that the entire community should expect great success as the Asian Games and the Olympic Esports Week approach.

According to Animesh Agarwal, CEO and founder of 8bit Creatives, esports has initially been recognized as a competitive sport in the Olympics and Asian Games, and this announcement will give the industry a much-needed boost in the country.

Agarwal also said the decision also provides professionals with a fresh start and demonstrates to skeptics that esports is a legitimate sport worthy of recognition for its talented and dedicated players.

Growing popularity in India

According to the EY FICCI M&E Report 2022, the number of professional esports players has increased from 300,000 in 2020 to 600,000 in 2021. Meanwhile, the national esports revenues skyrocketed by 29 percent from ₹7.5 billion in 2020 to ₹9.7 billion in 2021.

The trend is expected to continue, with one million esports players by 2022, with female players accounting for 20 percent of the total.

COVID has also accelerated the development of the esports industry. During the lockdown, millions of people turned to recreational gaming, with some even becoming professionals.

This trend was initiated by increased digitization and rising Internet connectivity penetration, and it is expected to continue with the emergence of 5G.

In addition, the number of internationally based game developers entering the Indian market has accelerated.

As a result, since the COVID-19 outbreak, 76 new online gaming startups have emerged in India, bringing the total number to well over 400.

The rise of gaming innovation has resulted in an increase in job opportunities, as well as an urgent need to upskill and reskill the existing workforce to be fitted with the skills and technical prowess required for developing and marketing games.