“e-Sports as part of multi-sports events.” That’s how the Indian esports community got its year-ending present from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. As per The Gazette of India notification from the Cabinet Secretariat, esports is now to be considered as part of multi-sports events. This directive is to ‘come into force at once’.
“Under the heading “Ministry Of Youth Affairs And Sports (Yuvak Karyakram Aur Khel Mantralaya)”, under the sub-heading “B. Department Of Sports (Khelvibhag)”, after entry 2, the following entry shall be inserted, namely, 2A. e-Sports as part of multi-sports events,” stated the official notification from the government.
The esports community in the country has longed for this for a long time and the fact that this directive came just before the year ended does add to the enthusiasm.
Lokesh Suji, the Director of Esports Federation of India and the Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), who has been a flagbearer for the Indian esports fraternity commented on this. “Great news for us to begin the New Year. We have been constantly working on establishing the difference between esports and iGaming (online gaming), and finally, our efforts have been fulfilled. From now onwards, we will have to build the proper infrastructure, training facilities and coaching for our young esports athletes,” added Suji.
“Today can be said to be the greatest day in Indian Esports history. The collective efforts of the entire gaming fraternity along with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and sports have finally reaped its rewards. We can now proudly consider Esports a legitimate sport in India. 2023 is undoubtedly going to be the start of the country’s golden era in Esports,” said Rohit Jagasia, Founder and CEO, Revenant Esports.
Founder and CEO of 8bit Creatives and former esports athlete Animesh Agarwal too stated Esports fraternity in India will be rejoicing with this welcome news. “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,” added Agarwal.
“The Government of India’s recognition of eSports as a part of multi-sports events is an extremely welcome move and comes at an opportune time for the industry which has already seen rapid growth in 2022 on the back of multiple domestic and international tournaments where Indian teams have proven their mettle,” said Piyush Kumar, CEO, Rooter. He added that as esports goes mainstream, an effective policy push will help esports grow at the grassroots stages.
The insertion of ‘e-Sports as part of multi-sports events’ needs to be closely examined so as not to exclude popular esports titles that are not directly linked to a traditional sport. Games like Valorant, Dota 2 and those created by Indian game developers should also have the opportunity to be classified as esports, and their players as athletes,” said Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder and Managing Director, NODWIN Gaming.
We got in touch with Anirudh Pandita, Founder of Loco and he strongly believes that this decision by the union government will lead to India becoming a gaming superpower. “We welcome the Government of India’s decision to recognise esports as a component of multi-sport events and bring online gaming under the remit of MeitY. With this legislation, the government has underlined the importance of building a vibrant gaming ecosystem and we believe that if the industry works in resonance with the government, then India will become a global gaming superpower soon,” added Pandita.
With a thriving and growing esports community, India is in a pivotal position at the moment. The future of any industry is always uncertain at any given point in time but one does have to admit that things are looking bright for the Indian esports segment. 2023, without a doubt, looks promising for esports in the country with the way paved by the government for better structuring, funding, and development.
Additionally, the distinction has finally been made between esports and online gaming with the latter assigned to the Ministry Of Electronics And Information Technology (Electroniki Aur Soochana Praudyogiki Mantralaya).