The Rise, Impact, and Challenges of Online Gaming in India


The entertainment landscape has undergone a profound transformation over the past few decades, thanks to the digital revolution that has given birth to a vibrant online gaming industry in India. While the initial traces of online gaming appeared in the mid-2000s through PC and console platforms, the sector witnessed an unprecedented surge post the Covid-19 lockdown. This surge can be attributed to a confluence of factors including the proliferation of smartphones, improved internet connectivity, rising disposable incomes, a burgeoning youth demographic, and the widespread adoption of convenient online payment methods.

Key highlights

1) Online gaming gained traction in the mid-2000s and surged due to Covid-19 lockdown.

2) Indian Gaming Industry’s value to grow from ₹22,972.936 crore (2022) to ₹41,023.1 crore (2025).

3) Gamers to increase from 42 crore (2022) to 50 crore (2025).

4) India ranks among top 10 gaming nations globally with 71% urban population participating.

5) The average Indian gamer spends around 40 mins daily and 8.5 hours weekly on mobile games

6) Around 3.5% of Indian adolescents face Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) surpasses global average by 0.5%.

7) 40% of parents admit children’s addiction to gaming, videos, and social media.

The Current Landscape of Indian online Gaming Industry

India’s online gaming industry has experienced a metamorphosis, evolving into an economic powerhouse with increasingly noteworthy influence. The industry’s value is set to soar from ₹22,972.936 crore in 2022 to ₹41,023.1 crore by 2025, revealing an impressive compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28-30 percent. Additionally, the projected increase in gamers from 42 crore in 2022 to 50 crore by 2025 demonstrates the widespread appeal of digital gaming. India’s inclusion among the top 10 global gaming nations is underscored by a staggering 71 percent of its urban population engaging in casual or professional gaming activities.

Unicorns and Global Recognition

The Indian gaming ecosystem has birthed unicorns – companies valued at over a billion dollars – that not only validate the industry’s viability but also attract international recognition. DreamSports, Games 24×7, and MPL stand as exemplary unicorns, making their presence felt on the global stage and becoming household names among Indian gamers. Furthermore, India’s position as the eighth-most active nation on Twitter in terms of gaming-related conversations attests to the nation’s significant engagement with the virtual gaming realm.

Positive Growth and Negative Fallouts

While the exponential growth of India’s online gaming industry holds promise for economic advancement and technological innovation, it is not devoid of challenges. Foremost among these challenges is the specter of gaming addiction. The immersive nature of online games has given rise to instances of excessive indulgence and consequential lifestyle shifts among players. Alarmingly, the State of India Gaming Report 2022 highlights that the average Indian gamer dedicates approximately 40 minutes each day to casual games, with a weekly average of 8.5 hours spent on mobile games.

Gaming Disorder and its Ripple Effects

The World Health Organization’s official classification of “gaming disorder” as a behavioral addiction accentuates the gravity of the issue. According to the WHO, individuals afflicted by gaming disorder struggle to disengage from gaming even when it adversely impacts essential aspects of their lives. The manifestation of “Passivity Phenomena,” where external stimuli dictate players’ behavior, often resulting in aggression upon interruption, paints a somber picture of the behavioral consequences tied to excessive gaming.

Prevalence of Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) in India

A deeper exploration into the issue reveals unsettling statistics regarding the prevalence of Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) in India. A study published in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health in 2020 reveals that around 3.5 percent of Indian adolescents grapple with IGD, surpassing the global average by 0.5 percent. Gender disparities further emerge, with 8 percent of boys and 3 percent of girls in India exhibiting symptoms of IGD.

Parental Apprehensions and the Imperative for De-addiction

Parents’ concerns have illuminated the disconcerting trend of gaming addiction among children. A study conducted by LocalCircles in December 2022 brought to light that nearly 40 percent of parents acknowledged their children’s susceptibility to addiction to videos, gaming, and social media. This stark revelation underscores the urgency of establishing de-addiction infrastructure and implementing public education initiatives to counteract the detrimental effects of excessive gaming.

A Shared Responsibility: Government and Gaming Enterprises

As the Indian government grapples with the complex task of curbing gaming addiction, a collaborative approach that capitalizes on the resources and influence of gaming companies is imperative. Drawing parallels to the successful paradigm of plastic waste management, wherein both plastic producers and the government share accountability, emphasizes the viability of analogous collaboration to combat gaming addiction. It is incumbent upon both the government and gaming entities to jointly establish de-addiction infrastructure, underscoring their collective responsibility.

Better Regulation and Government Initiatives:

Government intervention and regulatory measures assume pivotal roles in governing the burgeoning gaming industry. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s amendments to IT Rules 2021 reflect the government’s commitment to streamline and regulate the online gaming sphere. Several state governments, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, have proactively addressed betting and wagering, accentuating the need for comprehensive regulatory frameworks.

Assessing Impact and Unanswered Queries

While commendable strides have been made by the government and stakeholders in addressing gaming addiction, the efficacy of existing de-addiction centers and awareness campaigns remains uncertain. An assessment of the government’s initiatives, along with an evaluation of the capacity of these programs to confront the escalating challenge, becomes imperative to accurately gauge their impact.

Raising Awareness and Propagating Solutions

Navigating the intricate terrain of gaming addiction necessitates a multifaceted approach. Fostering awareness about addiction and child exploitation arising from online gaming constitutes an initial and pivotal step. Tailored professional counseling aimed at aiding addicted youth in extricating themselves from compulsive gaming habits is indispensable. This concerted endeavor mandates the involvement of the government, NGOs, counselors, parents, teachers, and gaming companies, forming a synergistic alliance.

Conclusion: Navigating the Path Forward

As India’s online gaming sector forges ahead with vigor, it presents both opportunities and challenges. Striking the right equilibrium between growth and accountability necessitates collective and concerted efforts from all stakeholders. By fostering a culture of responsible gaming, disseminating awareness, and instituting effective de-addiction initiatives, India can harness the potential of its youth for innovation and constructive contributions to society, while safeguarding their holistic well-being.

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