Pixel P&L: Unpacking India's Regulations on "Online Games"

Vignesh Raghuram
Updated On: 
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Pixel P&amp;L</p></div>
Pixel P&amp;L


AFK Gaming

Good Morning! It’s Monday, June 10. Today, we unveil our new series about India’s video gaming industry from a regulatory standpoint. We also dive into the drama at The Esports Awards, which is getting criticized for teaming up with The Esports World Cup. Dive in for these stories and more.

First time reading? Sign up here.

India’s Confounding Definition of “Online Games”

Ask any gamer in India to define an “online game,” and you’ll likely hear, “It’s a multiplayer game like BGMI or Dota.” This is a universal truth among gamers globally. But the Indian legal framework? It tells a completely different story.

Indian government bodies have an entirely distinct interpretation. To them, “online games” encompass any digital game played on an electronic device, indiscriminately lumping traditional video games with real money games like fantasy sports. Indeed, under this legal framework, your favorite multiplayer battles share the same classification as games played for financial stakes.

The origins of this discrepancy are as fascinating as they are complex, rooted deeply in India's historical and cultural tapestry, reaching as far back as the ancient epic, the Mahabharata.

In today’s digital age, the term “online games” has evolved, blurring the boundaries between casual gaming and serious gambling. Intrigued? Harish’s article kicks off a series that dives deep into the past, present, and future of India’s games industry from a regulatory standpoint.

Esports Awards Face Backlash Over Saudi Partnership

The Esports Awards is under fire for their decision to partner with the Esports World Cup, an agreement that will see the awards ceremony held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the next three years.

The announcement caught many by surprise, leading to swift criticism from the esports community. Notable figures, including long-time host Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez, have publicly withdrawn their support. "These events, funded by the Saudi Arabian government, do not align with my personal and professional values," Goldenboy stated on X, confirming he would no longer participate.

Former panelist, PGL CEO Silviu Stroie also announced his withdrawal from the event stating, “After today's announcement I've mailed them to get removed from anything related to it. Panels, mailing lists, anything. I cannot be associated with such a mockery.” Many in the industry are alarmed by what they see as "sportswashing"—using sports to improve a country's image despite controversial practices. Despite organizers' claims that the event will not be funded by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund but rather through host nation funding and sponsorships, skepticism remains.

Critics also point to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, particularly its stance on LGBTQ+ rights and women's rights, as key reasons for their opposition. 

Quick Bytes

Mobile Legends MSC 2024 Introduces Wild Card Stage in Riyadh

The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Mid Season Cup (MSC) 2024 has revealed details of its inaugural Wild Card stage. Hosted in Riyadh from June 28 to 30 as part of the Esports World Cup, the Wild Card stage will feature eight teams competing for a spot in the MSC 2024 Group Stage. The rebranded MSC 2024, with the theme #SeeTheWorld, aims to expand its global presence. The tournament, now featuring 16 international teams, offers a $3 million prize pool.

Riot Games Expands VALORANT to Consoles with Limited Beta

Riot Games announced today that its popular tactical shooter, VALORANT, will be available on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 consoles. Starting June 14, 2024, a limited beta will launch in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Europe, and Japan, with a global rollout expected soon after. The announcement was made by VALORANT’s Executive Producer Andy Ho and Production Director Arnar Gylfason at the 2024 Summer Game Fest. Custom-built for consoles, VALORANT will maintain its competitive integrity by excluding cross-play with PC players. Details on beta access and regional eligibility can be found at Beta.PlayVALORANT.com.

Crunchyroll Adds Haikyu!! Season 1 in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu Dubs

Season 1 of the popular sports anime Haikyu!! is now available with Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu dubs on Crunchyroll. This marks a significant expansion in Crunchyroll's efforts to cater to Indian audiences, providing localized content for the growing anime fanbase in the region. The series, which follows the story of a high school volleyball team, has garnered a massive global following. By offering Haikyu!! in three major Indian languages, Crunchyroll aims to enhance accessibility and enjoyment for its diverse viewers.

Microsoft Unveils New Xbox Series Models for Holiday Season

Microsoft has announced three new models of its Xbox Series consoles set to launch this holiday season, including an all-digital Series X. Revealed by Xbox President Sarah Bond at the Xbox Games Showcase, the digital-only white Xbox Series X, priced at $449.99/€499.99, omits the disc drive of the standard model.

Additionally, a special edition black Series X with 2TB of storage will retail for $349.99/€349.99, and a white 1TB Series S, previously available only in black, will be priced at $599.99/€649.99. These models will debut in select markets by year-end, with further details on availability and pricing forthcoming.

Did You Know?

The legendary game GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64, which revolutionized the first-person shooter genre, was developed by a small and inexperienced team. Remarkably, the team consisted of just nine developers, eight of whom had no prior experience in video game development

This unlikely group of creators from Rare, a British game development company, embarked on an ambitious project that would ultimately leave a lasting impact on the gaming industry. Released in 1997, GoldenEye 007 introduced several innovative features, including realistic gunplay, varied mission objectives, and a multiplayer mode that became a staple at countless social gatherings. Despite the team's lack of experience, their fresh perspective and willingness to experiment led to groundbreaking design choices that set the game apart from its contemporaries.

The development process wasn't without its challenges. The team worked in a relatively relaxed and collaborative environment, often relying on intuition and creativity rather than conventional game development practices. This unconventional approach paid off, resulting in a game that was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful.

Quote of the Day

Everything has a beginning and an end. Life is just a cycle of starts and stops. There are ends we don't desire, but they're inevitable, we have to face them. It's what being human is all about.”
- Jet Black, Cowboy Bebop

Published On: 
author profile picture
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.