India's War on Gaming: What's The Endgame?

Parents have expressed their concerns about gaming for a while now. Adding voice to their concern, the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi posted a tweet stating the drawbacks of gaming.

However, India has never recognized esports officially, and the country is still struggling to showcase itself within the global gaming community in this regard as well.

Read More: LGBTQ+ In The Gaming Industry: All-Inclusive or Self Catering?

India And Its Esports Scene

Here's a rough translation of the tweet:

The concept for most online/digital games in the market today isn't Indian. Even you know that the concept behind most of these games either promotes violence or it becomes a cause for mental stress.

While the cause for the concern is understandable, this is a very hypocritical stance taken by the Prime Minister himself. For context, the Indian Government showed no support whatsoever to Raji: An Ancient Epic.

For the uninitiated, Raji: An Ancient Epic is a game that's developed by a company based out of India. Moreover, the game was based in India itself. The visuals, soundtrack, and story were heavily inspired by Indian folklore as well.

India's Contribution And The Lack Of Recognition

It's a surprise that the government expects Indian concepts in gaming whereas Indian studios don't get recognition from the government in the first place, and many felt that Raji did deserve recognition on a national level at least.

It was nominated as the "Best Debut Game" at The Game Awards 2020, making it the first game developed by an Indian studio to be nominated at the awards. Not only that, the game won several other awards globally. Despite all of these feats, the game received little to no recognition whatsoever within the country itself.

Furthermore, back in 2019, three Indian teams had qualified for a PUBG Mobile tournament that was being conducted in Berlin, Germany. These three teams, however, were denied a visa. Although they did participate from the Nodwin Gaming HQ at Delhi, they still had to compensate for the ping while connecting to the EU servers - but that's a different discussion altogether.

Back in 2020, India banned PUBG Mobile along with Mobile Legends, two very popular games in the Indian market. While they were banned for alleged security reasons, Mobile Legends is back on most Indian devices. However, the government still continues its crusade on PUBG Mobile.

Esports does have a lot of promise, and for a country like India, the scope is higher, thanks to the consumer base. However, the lack of infrastructure and the lack of the governments' participation in this regard is what is holding the country back.

Truth be told, there are a lot of other problems that the country is facing at this point in time. From the grossly mismanaged COVID-19 situation to the innumerable number of scams seen in the country, video games should be the last thing that the Indian Government should be concerned about right now.

Games And Its Effect On Young Adults

This has been a raging concern for a while now. Many parents have expressed their concerns about the impacts that "violent" video games have had on children. This is something that former U.S. President Donald Trump had also expressed in one of his speeches - gaming and controversy appear locked together forever.

While addressing a congregation from the White House in 2018, Donald Trump took a firm stand against video games, blaming them for high school shootings.

We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately
- Former U.S. President Donald Trump

Several studies conducted by psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that video games don't have any damaging effect on children. And even if they did, the numbers of such cases were low and there were several other factors associated with it as well.

Truth be told, as an Indian myself, I'm disappointed to see such a statement from Shri Narendra Modi - disappointed but not surprised. The government has, time and again, tried to capitalize on the conservative mentality of the Indian crowd for their own benefit. This statement is more of an attempt to do the same.

He also tweeted the above which reads as follows:

The global community wants to understand the Indian culture and heritage better. Our Toys and Gaming Industry can play a vital role in this.

So it's time we ditched all our fancy, high-end consoles and PCs for board games like Ludo because that "apparently" will help the global community understand us better. But wait, isn't ludo available on Google Play Store and the App Store as well? Uh-oh!

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