Ahead of the Union Budget for the financial year (FY) 2022-23 which is scheduled to be presented on 1 February by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the leaders from the gaming industry are seeking bold measures (by the government) that will expand the industry, amid the sharp growth that the sector witnessed in last year.
Industry leaders are keeping a close eye and almost everyone in the sector is curious about the outcome of the Union Budget by Prime Minister Narendra Modi led central government. New positive gaming regulations, less pressure on the community, expansion of the e-sports ecosystem are one of the things that industry leaders are looking forward to.
“We hope the 2022 budget will take steps to not only empower the gaming industry but also offer an incentive for the e-sports ecosystem in the country. This would help bolster technological integration and investment in the infrastructure to create new possibilities for youngsters in the esports and video game sectors. The government should also encourage and back homegrown game developers, tournament organizers, and esports companies with steps like relief on the taxation to promote industry growth,” said Director of World Esports Cup, Vishwalok Nath.
The Director of Esports Federation of India and Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), Lokesh Suji said that the year 2021, has been the inflexion point for video games in India. As such, 2022 will usher higher inclination by brands into the gaming industry to target the young age group of gamers.
“We are hoping the budget will be in favour of the video games industry, tax benefits should be given to the gaming cafes where aspiring gamers kick start their career. Mostly the types of equipment that are used by our esports athletes are imported or otherwise have high duties, so a tax redemption will be a good step to take gaming to the next level. The prize pool winnings of our esports athlete should be exempted from Income tax just like any other sportsperson,” said Suji.
The Co-founder and CEO of Trinity Gaming, Abhishek Aggarwal said that as the gaming industry has been flourishing, we are hoping the Government this time would take notice to offer some more support and protect the interests of this sunrise industry.
“We depend a lot on direct investments and these investors play a crucial role. We hope they can suggest minimum taxation costs for this segment to attract more investors. It would be a favourable step to support the gaming community as well, as they seek various brand collaborations. Secondly, if 5G services could be made more accessible and pocket-friendly, that would be greatly appreciated,” said Aggarwal.
The Founder and CEO of Dangal Games, Varun Mahna added that the e-sports industry has been growing at a greater pace with fantasy gaming taking the center stage. Acting as a catalyst for economic growth, these platforms over the years have gained high popularity amongst the tech-savvy youth.
“This would encourage more employment opportunities in the coming months, thereby driving better monetisation for the creators, operators as well as end-users. We expect the Union budget to pay heed to this booming sector and extend support to fuel the new-age startups and entrepreneurs venturing into the space. Clear and considerate favourable policies would benefit the sector and stimulate interest from investors across national as well as global organisations,” said Mahna.
Rajan Navani, VC & MD, JetSynthesys and President of Indian Digital Gaming Society (IDGS) said, “With the Union Budget coming up, we hope to see a stronger government focus on the gaming and digital transformation industry in the context of Atmanirbhar Bharat. India has the power to become a global gaming and e-sports hub creating huge employment opportunities. We expect the budget to further incentivize investments in digital technology particularly in the startup and scale-up ecosystem of India, which has been one of the brightest sectors of last year. This would give the already growing space a much-needed turbo charge.”
We would further like to see the government come up with ways on how more domestic capital can be invested in new age sectors, therefore finding a way to normalise long-term capital gains tax for private equity of 20 per cent and match it to the long-term capital gain for public markets which is currently at 10 per cent,” added Navani.