New Online Gaming Rules Released by MeitY
New Online Gaming Rules Released by MeitY, Introduction On September 2, 2021, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in India released new rules aimed at regulating online gaming in the country. The rules have been met with mixed reactions from stakeholders in the gaming industry, with some applauding the move as a step towards making the industry more accountable, and others criticizing the rules for being too restrictive. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the new online gaming rules and what they mean for gamers and game developers in India.
Scope of the Rules
The new rules, known as the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, apply to all online gaming platforms operating in India. This includes games that can be played on mobile phones, personal computers, gaming consoles, or any other device connected to the internet.
Key Provisions of the Rules
The new online gaming rules impose several requirements on gaming platforms operating in India. These include:
- Age Verification: Online gaming platforms must verify the age of users before allowing them to access games that are rated for ages 18 and above.
- Grievance Redressal Mechanism: Gaming platforms must establish a grievance redressal mechanism to address complaints from users. The mechanism must be available 24/7 and provide a response within 15 days.
- Content Regulation: Gaming platforms must ensure that the games hosted on their platforms do not promote or incite violence, gambling, or other illegal activities. The platforms must also disable access to any games that are deemed harmful or offensive.
- User Data Protection: Gaming platforms must protect the personal data of users and comply with the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.
- Compliance Officer: Gaming platforms must appoint a compliance officer to ensure compliance with the new rules. The officer must be a resident of India and must be available for contact 24/7.
Impact on Gamers and Game Developers
The new online gaming rules have both positive and negative implications for gamers and game developers in India. On the one hand, the rules are aimed at making online gaming safer and more accountable. The age verification requirement, for example, can help prevent underage users from accessing games that are not appropriate for them. The grievance redressal mechanism can also help users address any issues or complaints they may have with gaming platforms.
On the other hand, the rules may also have a negative impact on the gaming industry in India. The content regulation requirement, for example, may limit the creative freedom of game developers and prevent them from creating games that are edgy or controversial. The compliance officer requirement may also be burdensome for smaller gaming companies that may not have the resources to hire a full-time compliance officer.
The new online gaming rules released by MeitY are a significant development for the gaming industry in India. While they aim to make online gaming safer and more accountable, they also impose several requirements that may be seen as overly restrictive by some stakeholders. It remains to be seen how the gaming industry in India will adapt to these new rules, and whether they will have the desired impact of making online gaming safer and more responsible.