Pixel P&L: The Impact of Mislabeling Online Games in India

Vignesh Raghuram
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Pixel P&amp;L


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Good Morning, it’s Tuesday, June 18. In today’s edition, we examine how India’s definition of “Online Games” is affecting game developers and investors. We also explore how League of Legends’ aging playerbase is affecting the company, India’s newest gaming convention, and more.

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Unmasking 'Online Games': The Case for Clearer Categorization in India

The term "Online Games" often lumps together video games and real money games, creating a misleading and problematic categorization. This broad term masks significant differences between these two sectors, leading to social stigma and regulatory challenges. Video games focus on entertainment and art, while real money games revolve around monetary incentives and are governed by gambling laws.

In India, this conflation unfairly impacts the perception of video games, associating them with the stigma of gambling. The lack of clear differentiation causes confusion and hesitation, deterring potential growth and innovation in the gaming industry.

In Harish’s latest feature, he talks to Indian game developers about the systemic issues caused by this categorization and explores the distinct challenges posed by this broad term and the industry's call for fairer treatment.

Aging Playerbase Poses Challenges for League of Legends

Senior developers at Riot Games acknowledge that the League of Legends playerbase is getting older, with fewer new players joining the ranks. "Candidly, it's not the same situation it was 10 years ago," said Game Director Pu Liu during a Q&A at the Summer Game Fest. Liu noted that while retaining long-term players naturally increases the average age, attracting new players has become more challenging.

League of Legends, once the go-to game for middle and high school students, now faces competition from newer titles like Roblox and Fortnite. Additionally, endemic issues such as "smurf" accounts—experienced players starting over—and the complexity of the game’s evolving systems deter new players. "We're very cognizant of the improvements we need to make moving into the future," Liu added.

League Studio Head Andrei van Roon also highlighted shifts in player preferences over the years. Initially, players focused on casual, experiential gameplay. Over time, a competitive focus emerged, particularly among late high school and college students. Now, many long-term players, juggling jobs and family responsibilities, seek a balance between competitive and casual play.

Van Roon emphasized Riot’s efforts to broaden League's modes to cater to these changing preferences, aiming to retain its aging playerbase while attracting new gamers. As the game evolves, Riot strives to provide diverse experiences, ensuring League remains engaging for both veteran players and newcomers.

Quick Bytes

Riot Confirms More Runeterra Stories Post-Arcane

Although Arcane Season 2 marks the series finale, Riot Games is not ending its tryst with animated series. Co-creator Christian Linke has confirmed more stories from Runeterra are on the way. The highly anticipated second season of Arcane, set to premiere in a few months, will conclude the tale of Jinx and Vi. However, this is just the beginning. Riot Games, in collaboration with animation studio Fortiche, is developing new projects to spotlight other League of Legends characters. Fans can expect updates on these new ventures by the end of the year.

FURIA Partners with Crunchyroll for My Hero Academia Merchandise

Brazilian esports organization FURIA has teamed up with American streaming service Crunchyroll, the licensor of the popular anime series My Hero Academia, to launch a merchandise line. Set for release in the second half of 2024, the collection will include co-designed T-shirts inspired by FURIA and the anime. Crunchyroll, known for its extensive anime library, will collaborate with FURIA to create the apparel, with the first collection debuting later this year. Additionally, FURIA will showcase a My Hero Academia-themed car at the Red Bull Ladeira Abaixo race. This partnership continues Crunchyroll's trend of connecting anime with esports, following previous collaborations with Team BDS and TSM.

India's GamingCon to Debut in Mumbai This November

GamingCon, billed as India's largest gaming festival, is set to debut at the NESCO Center in Mumbai from November 30 to December 1, 2024. The event will feature over 5,000 square meters of gaming experiences and more than 100 gaming, tech, and lifestyle brands. GamingCon will offer attendees hands-on experiences with the latest games and VR technology, conferences with industry experts, and vibrant cosplay events. The festival aims to unite gamers, influencers, tech enthusiasts, developers, and investors, marking a significant milestone in India's burgeoning gaming industry.

Nintendo Direct to Reveal Upcoming Switch Games

Nintendo has announced that its June 2024 Nintendo Direct will take place on Tuesday, June 18 at 07:30 PM IST. With the second half of 2024 currently lacking major releases, fans eagerly await significant announcements. Nintendo has confirmed that the event will not mention the rumored Switch successor console, focusing instead on games for the current Switch. The 40-minute presentation is expected to highlight upcoming titles for late 2024, with potential teasers for 2025.

Did You Know?

Did you know that North Korea has its own video game industry, though it's much smaller and more controlled compared to the rest of the world? One of the most notable games is "Pyongyang Racer," which was released in 2012 and is considered the first North Korean video game targeted at the international audience. The game was developed by the Korea Computer Center and allows players to drive around a virtual Pyongyang, stopping at various tourist spots. The gaming environment in North Korea is heavily influenced by the state's strict regulations, with most games focusing on educational or propaganda themes.

Quote of the Day

There are bad ways to win-- and good ways to lose. What's interesting and troubling is that it's not always clear which is which. A flipped coin doesn't always land heads or tails. Sometimes it may never land at all…”
- Grimsley, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2

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Vignesh has been covering the esports industry for nearly 5 years starting with the early days of the DPC. His industry expertise includes experience in Dota 2, CS:GO and Mobile Esports coverage.