Esports players seek clear definition of online games during consultations – Business Standard

Esports | IT ministry | online gaming
Sourabh Lele  |  New Delhi

The players, who participated in consultations with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), on the recently released policy have demanded a more clear definition of online games to differentiate them from tournaments or championships.
Rajeev Chandrashekhar, the minister of state for electronics and information technology, on January 11 held consultations with children, parents, teachers, athletes, gamers, and safety and trust organisations on the proposed rules on at the Electronics Niketan, MeitY’s office here.
The ministry earlier this month released draft amendments to the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, in relation to . The draft rules propose a self-regulatory body to certify what is permitted as an ‘online game’ in India. They also prescribe a registration mark on all online games registered by the SRO (self-regulatory body).
The gaming platforms are also required to observe due diligence under the rules, “including reasonable efforts to cause its users not to host, display, upload, publish, transmit or share an online game not in conformity with Indian law, including any law on gambling or betting”.
The rules define an online game as any game that is offered on the Internet and is accessible by a user through a computer resource if he makes a deposit with the expectation of earning winnings.
"Multiple Esports tournaments organised at college or ground level at times require a registration fee for the athletes and teams to compete in it whereupon the winners are presented with prizes which may be in cash and/or kind. This rule can create confusion among the public regarding such Esports tournaments or championships. Hence clarity is needed in the definition of ‘online gaming’, he was also of the same opinion that instead of ‘online gaming’ it should be ‘igaming’ to establish a clear difference between Esports (which is sport played electronically) and igaming," Dhruv Salvadi, a gaming player, suggested during the consultation.
MeitY is the nodal ministry for online gaming, while the Department of Sports under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is responsible for governing e-sports as part of multi-sports events, as per a gazette notification released last month.
Dr Tejpavan Gandhok, associate director of Centre for Sports Law & Governance, Jindal Global University, said, “We suggest using different terminology and/or clarifying the current draft’s definition of ‘online games’ – to better cater for four distinct segments of games: Real money; Casual; Esports; and learning. Also, the best practice safeguards to be adopted by the proposed guidelines should be appropriately tailored for these four distinct segments.”
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First Published: Sun, January 15 2023. 14:39 IST


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