Context: The Indian government has officially recognized E-Sports in the country as part of multi-sports events.
More on Official Recognition to E-Sports
- Background: There had been a growing demand for E-sports to be included in the curriculum of multi-discipline events after it was included in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games as a demonstration sport.
- Official recognition: The President of India amended the rules governing E-sports and asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Sports Ministry to include e-Sports as part of multi-sports events.
- It has been done by the president by exercising powers conferred under “clause (3) of article 77 of the Constitution”.
- Nodal agency: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will be the nodal agency for online gaming-related matters and the sports ministry will have to include it in its curriculum.
- The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of India, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business
What is E-Sports?
- E-Sports (Electronic Sports) is a competitive sport where gamers use their physical and mental abilities to compete in various games in a virtual, electronic environment.
- E.g. BGMI, Valorant, Call of Duty, Tekken 7, and DOTA 2.
Gaming v/s E-Sports
- Gaming refers to playing video games in general.
- This includes playing Candy Crush on mobile phone, God of War on Play Station, or Counter-Strike on PC.
- Online card games like Rummy and Poker are also classified under gaming, not E-Sports.
- E-Sports are online games that are competitively played in the form of tournaments and leagues.
- Some of them are digital or virtual versions of mainstream sports like cricket, football, etc.
- While E-Sports promotes live matches, gaming does not promote live matches.
- As the birthplace of E-Sports, South Korea was the first country to officially recognize E-Sports back in 2000.
- By now, countries such as the China, USA, Finland, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand and Pakistan have officially recognized E-Sports.
- Besides, countries like Italy, Brazil, Nepal, Indonesia, Turkmenistan, Macedonia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Serbia Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Georgia have also recognised esports as regular sport.
- Featuring of E-Sports:
- Esports were featured at the 2018 Asian Games as a demonstration sport, meaning medals won in this sport would not be counted in the official overall medal tally.
- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that its inaugural Olympic Esports Week will take place in Singapore in 2023.
Arguments in Favour of E-Sports
- Contribution to economy: The vast ecosystem of E-Sports holds much growth potential and employment prospects.
- Inclusivity: In contrast to traditional sports, E-Sports have fewer gender restrictions, more accessibility for people with disabilities, etc., thus promoting inclusivity.
- Boost social skills: Most major competitive E-Sports are team-based, which promotes skills such as communication, collaboration, and learning how to work effectively with others.
Arguments Against E-Sports
- Gaming disorder: It is a condition where gamers prioritize e-sports over other activities to the degree where it impacts overall health and well-being.
- Environmental Concerns: US gaming consoles are linked to 34 terawatt hours a year in energy usage, which is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions of roughly five million cars.
- Security concerns: Issues such as cyber-attacks, cheating, and E-sport piracy are plaguing in the industry.
India’s E-Sports Industry
- Growth: According to FICCI-EY Media and Entertainment Report 2022, the number of E-Sports players doubled from 300,000 in 2020 to 600,000 in 2021.
- E- Sports revenue grew by 29% from INR 7.5 billion in 2020 to INR 9.7 billion in 2021.
- The number of esports players are expected to reach one million in 2022, out of which 20% would be women.
- Employment generation: The gaming and E-Sports industry employs just over 40,000 individuals in India, and this is poised to grow.
- The Catalysts:
- The COVID-19 Pandemic: Amid the lockdown, millions diverted their attention to gaming recreationally, with some even turning to professionals.
- Increasing digitization: The advent of 5G, deeper penetration of Internet connectivity etc.