New IT rules turning point for online gaming industry. Discuss
What is an online game?
The Indian government defines an online game as “a game that is offered on the Internet and is accessible by a user through a computer resource or an intermediary.”
Online games that are involved in wagering and betting will fall foul of the new rules
Permissible online games are those games, real money or otherwise, that do not involve wagering, user harm in its content and do not create any addictive consequences for children.
What is an SRO?
Self-Regulatory Organisations(SRO) will determine whether an online game is permissible or not, based on whether it involves wagering or betting.
Three SROs will be initially notified, but the government can add more later.
The new rules also dictate that SROs include an educationist, an expert in the field of psychology or mental health, and an individual who is or has been a member or officer of an organisation dealing with the protection of child rights.
What are the new rules?
The new rules can be summarised into the following points:
The government will set up several SROs with representatives from various sectors. These SROs will decide if a game is allowed or not.
Gaming firms or platforms must not offer, publish, or share online games that have harmful or banned content. They must verify the identity of online gamers.
Online games that involve any kind of gambling (including ads) will be prohibited.
SROs will also make sure games follow guidelines to prevent addiction and mental harm through parental controls, frequent warning messages, and age-rating systems.
The gamers will have the option to opt-out after reaching their own limits for time or money spent.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting issued a fresh advisory warning media entities, platforms and online intermediaries against airing advertisements of betting and gambling platforms.
The advisory has been issued to all media formats, including newspapers, television channels, and online news publishers, and showed specific examples where such advertisements have appeared in the media in recent times
Ministry also objected to the promotion by a specific betting platform that encouraged the audience to watch a sports league on its website in prima facie violation of the Copyright Act.
Video games where money is not involved need not approach an SRB