Budget 2022: Set up a fund for online gaming developers – MPL’s Sai Srinivas Kiran

Published on:

Despite regulatory ambiguity, the online gaming ecosystem is buzzing with investments, onboarding millions of gamers since the onset of the pandemic. Globally, the industry is expected to reach $218.7 billion in 2024, passing the coveted $200-billion threshold in 2023, according to Google.

Sai Srinavas, CEO and co-founder of Mobile Premier League, India’s second gaming unicorn has urged the government to set up a fund to help the community grow in the upcoming Budget. The unicorn co-founder said that the industry will benefit from a fund that can provide capital to talented developers and designers, putting India on the path to becoming the hub for game development globally according to a report on Business Today. Access to infrastructure will be crucial in this regard, he said.

This can be achieved by establishing specialised centres and universities for talented designers, visual artists, and developers who may have the capabilities but not the resources to build world-class games. We hope that this year will bring more clarity from a regulatory standpoint. Online skill gaming suffers from a lack of differentiation from prohibited categories and games of chance. A uniform policy will be welcome and provide much-needed stability to the sunrise sector,” he added. MPL expects to increase headcount to 2,500 by mid-2023 from the current 1000 headcount.

The online gaming industry, specifically real-money games have been under tighter scrutiny over the past couple of years from respective state governments with bans in place. MPL is one of the petitioners challenging the Karnataka online gaming ban law.

With an absence of regulatory clarity, the industry has sought a code of conduct for the platforms to help them grow. All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and its Skill Games Compliance partner Arthur D. Little (ADL) have launched an independent compliance audit and named MPL as the first company to be certified as AIGF charter compliant by this audit.

In addition, the higher tax rates have also been a cause of concern for the industry. Clarity is expected this year with the GST Council forming a Group of Ministers last year to examine the tax issues in the sector.