Indian Government is looking to set time limit to use fantasy apps

govt planning to set time limit to use of fantasy apps

Govt Eyes Time, Spend Curbs to Tackle Gaming Addiction

The Indian government is considering implementing time and spending limits on online and real money games to address the growing issue of gaming addiction among children and young adults. This move aligns with measures taken by countries like China and has gained consensus during recent internal meetings of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. These discussions revolved around various aspects of the Information Technology Rules of 2021.

Rationale Behind Time and Spend Limits

Imposing time limits is seen as a more effective approach than merely certifying games as permissible or non-permissible through self-regulatory organizations (SROs). An IT ministry official highlighted concerns about potential industry influence on SROs, which could undermine policy decisions, especially concerning the welfare of young children.

India’s Booming Gaming Market

India boasts the largest gaming market globally, with close to 570 million active gamers. A significant portion, approximately 140 million gamers, engage in transactions involving real money. This data is backed by a joint report released in March by gaming firm Winzo and the non-profit Interactive Entertainment and Innovation Council (IEIC). Moreover, in 2023, Indian users downloaded over 9.5 billion gaming apps on their mobile devices, illustrating the massive scale of the market.

Proposed Mechanisms for Regulation

If the proposed rules are implemented, gaming companies will need to establish mechanisms to ensure compliance with the new time and expenditure limits. For instance, the daily spending limit for a player could be determined based on their previous expenditures and age. An official noted that implementing these mechanisms should be straightforward and that the government is willing to collaborate with the industry to find the most effective solutions.

Challenges in Forming an Effective SRO

In April 2023, the IT ministry amended the Information Technology Rules of 2021, giving the gaming industry 90 days to form an SRO. However, senior IT ministry officials warned that any SRO influenced by gaming companies or industry bodies would not be accepted. Despite receiving three proposals for SROs, none were approved as they were deemed “industry-backed.”

The three proposals included one from the Esports Players Welfare Association (EPWA), a non-profit organization, another supported by the Esports Gaming Federation (EGF) and the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), and a third backed by the All India Gaming Federation.

Addressing Gaming Addiction: A Growing Concern

Gaming addiction is a growing concern worldwide, and India is no exception. The addictive nature of many online and real money games has led to significant negative impacts on the mental and physical health of young gamers. These impacts include reduced academic performance, physical inactivity, and increased stress and anxiety levels.

By imposing time and spending limits, the government aims to mitigate these adverse effects and promote healthier gaming habits. This approach not only addresses the addiction issue but also ensures a safer and more regulated gaming environment for young players.

The Way Forward

The success of these regulations will depend on the effective implementation and cooperation between the government and the gaming industry. Clear guidelines and robust monitoring systems will be crucial in ensuring that gaming companies adhere to the new rules. Additionally, public awareness campaigns can educate parents and young gamers about the importance of healthy gaming practices.

Global Perspectives on Gaming Regulation

Countries like China have already implemented strict regulations on gaming to curb addiction. Chinese authorities have imposed stringent limits on the amount of time and money young players can spend on online games. These measures have shown positive results in reducing gaming addiction rates among minors.

India can draw lessons from these international practices and tailor its regulations to suit the unique challenges faced by its gaming community. By adopting a balanced approach, the government can protect young gamers while fostering a thriving gaming industry.

Industry Response and Adaptation

The gaming industry must adapt to these new regulations by developing innovative solutions that comply with the imposed limits. This includes creating features that allow parents to set gaming limits for their children, implementing age verification systems, and designing games that encourage responsible gaming.

Gaming companies should also focus on providing a diverse range of content that promotes educational and developmental benefits. By aligning their offerings with the new regulations, companies can contribute to a safer and more sustainable gaming environment.

Author: d11fans

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