The government of India has officially accepted e-Sports as part of the multisport event category in the country under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. This distinguishes it from the broader term — Gaming. The Centre identifies e-Sports as a competitive sport involving participants contesting in terms of both physical and mental abilities, albeit in a digital environment.
The Indian government has officially recognised e-sports in the country. E-sports will now be a part of the “multisports event” category in India under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and sports.
— ANI (@ANI) December 27, 2022
e-Sports recognition: What this means for the state of Esports and gaming in India
The notification for the same was rolled out on December 23rd, 2022 marked on memo No: S.O.6062(E).
As per the official gazette issued by the GOI, e-Sports will be added to the Department of Sports (Khel Vibhag), which in itself comes under the purview of “Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (Yuvak Karyakram Aur Khel Mantralaya).
Besides this, in the notification release, we can see that “matters relating to online gaming” now fall under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
In recent years, e-Sports has seen a massive surge in popularity and adoption in the country. This is partly thanks to the penetration of affordable internet and more accessible digital education and connectivity. As you know, both our government and private organizations have played a key role in all of this.
For the growth of the industry, the Indian government has set up the e-Sports Federation of India (ESFI) is also allotting a share of its budget to the support and development of esports infrastructure like esports training centres and ensuring funds for esports events.
As mentioned already, we can’t discount the involvement of private bodies in the growth of the esports industry. This could be in the form of organizing, marketing, and sponsoring e-Sports events and tournaments.
So, some of the private stakeholders in the e-Sports industry have come forward with comments on this latest piece of news. Here’s what they have to say:
“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. We welcome this announcement by our government under the leadership of Hon’ble PM Modi ji, which will open new avenues to pour in more investment opportunities in this booming industry. From now onwards, we will have to build the proper infrastructure, training facilities and coaching for our young esports athletes. Only a short time until we see Esports being placed in the same league as cricket, football, basketball, etc. and having similar fan power, scale and craze, ” says Mr Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF).
He finds this a promising development for the e-Sports scene in the coming year. He adds, “With the latest announcement and India recently competing for medals at the inaugural Esports Asian Games, people are shaking off the misconceptions linked with esports as a passion or career option. The year 2023 beholds greater opportunities for esports and we are anticipating more favourable developments, only making it bigger. It surely has been a great year for Indian esports”.
Meanwhile, a prominent figure in the scene, Mr Animesh Agarwal, founder & CEO, 8bit Creatives & an ex-esports athlete, says, “The entire Esports fraternity in India will be rejoicing with this welcome news which has certainly been a result of the gaming community’s collective efforts spanning over the last few years. Esports have already been considered as a medal sport in the Olympics and Asian games and this news will further boost the sport in the country as it was long overdue. The industry inclusive of developers, players and creators as a whole is growing at a fast pace and to come full-circle this recognition will be very thriving for the industry. It presents a clean slate for gamers and proves to neigh-sayers that Esports is, in fact, a serious sport that deserves to be recognised for its skilled and hard-working players who will be competing against some of the world’s best players and put India on the map of professional gaming countries”.