The country of India officially recognised esports as a multi-sport event on 23rd December 2022.
The change to India’s Allocation of Business Rules of 1961 saw the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports include esports in the category of ‘multisports events’. This will see the ministry govern the esports industry in India.
In addition, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has inserted a section that relates to ‘matters relating to online gaming’. This further separates esports and online gaming, which has a different definition that includes the likes of fantasy and casinos.
“We have been constantly working on establishing the difference between esports and iGaming, and finally, our efforts have been fulfilled,” commented Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF).
Suji continued: “From now onwards, we will have to build the proper infrastructure, training facilities and coaching for our young esports athletes. It’ll only be 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.
The Indian esports scene has undergone a rollercoaster over the last couple years, ranging from significant investments to ecosystem restrictions. Notably, Battleground Mobile India (BMGI) and Free Fire — two of India’s largest esports titles — were banned in the country. In November, PUBG Mobile developer KRAFTON stated in its Q3 report that it is “continuing its efforts to resume services for Battlegrounds Mobile India and will continue investing in the Indian games market.”
However, the Indian scene has also had periods of development. This includes ESL Gaming’s Snapdragon Pro Series expanding to India, as well as Skyesports and Loco continuing to bolster the scene through tournaments and streaming rights.
Rohit Jagasia, CEO of Revenant Esports, an Indian Esports organisation that secured a notable partnership with PUMA in 2022, described the news as “the greatest day in Indian esports history”.
He continued: “This revolutionary decision will not only transform the country’s gaming landscape in terms of improved infrastructure, funding, exposure and providing education about the sector but will also put India on the global esports map as a force to be reckoned with.”
Finally, Animesh Agarwal, CEO of Mumbai-based 8bit Creatives, added: “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.”