“Online Games” - How This Problematic Term Came to Be

The unexpected roots of a broad and problematic definition

Harish Chengaiah
Updated On: 
<div class="paragraphs"><p>“Online Games” - How This Problematic Term Came to Be</p></div>
“Online Games” - How This Problematic Term Came to Be


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Ask any gamer in India or for that matter anyone involved in the games industry—whether game developers, gaming content creators/influencers or esports athletes—what an “Online Game” is and you’ll get a unanimous response “Well it’s a multiplayer game like BGMI or Dota.” You’ll get a similar response anywhere else in the world too.

Within the gaming sphere, there is an understanding that video games can be played both online and offline. Still, it’s the multiplayer games that are referred to as “Online Games” as these games require constant internet access for real-time competitive play.  

However, the Indian law has a different view. When state or central government bodies refer to “Online Games,” they mean any digital game that can be played on an electronic device. This all-encompassing term includes not only video games (you know, the games that are played only for entertainment and leisure), but also real money games like digital rummy, poker, and fantasy sports, which are played with the primary motive of winning monetary rewards.

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