The Delhi High Court has received a request to monitor and censor all video games, just as they have become popular. Delhi-based non-government organization Distress Management Collective (DMC) has filed public interest litigation (PIL) asking the government of India to “consider national policy that protects the children of our country from online games addiction and further for constituting a regulatory authority to monitor and rate the content of both offline and online games” as per a report on tech and policy authority, Medianama. Kurien Joseph, a former Supreme Court judge, and KJ Alphons Kananthanam are the DMC’s leaders.
This NGO Wants Video Game Censorship and Regulation in India
According to legal documents obtained from Clonotech, DMC cites reports that video games are confused with social networking phenomenons like Blue Whale. Furthermore, the PIL cites outdated studies that claim video games promote violent real-life behavior and suggest that India take a leaf out of Bangladesh’s book and consider a ban on Free Fire and PUBG (also known as BGMI) in India.
These aspects of DMC’s PIL may seem unsound, but it reveals two crucial elements that the gaming industry shies away from predatory micro-transactions and gaming addiction. It calls for a regulatory body consisting of experts who can “point out where money is extracted for gaming” and “suggest changes for developers of violent video games.” The PIL also asks for the mandate to give age ratings to each game, as in the UK and other European Countries.
It will be interesting for us to see if they take this seriously. DMC is aware that the video gaming industry is a sunspot and doesn’t call for a ban. It has a loose definition of gaming that doesn’t include adding or excluding gaming activities. There are no platforms such as consoles or PC mentioned. However, the focus of this report will likely be on mobile games on Android or iOS.
Despite this, both the Google Play Store and the App Store already have robust rating systems. Both iOS and Android devices come with parental controls. These controls have not helped to curb addiction. Furthermore, platform owners do little to warn guardians and parents of predatory developer practices regarding monetization.
This is the wrong time for India’s games industry. India’s first gaming company was just listed on the stock exchange. We also witnessed the opening of Niantic, a Pokemon Go developer, in India. Krafton is now shopping in India. There is plenty of money. The industry may claim that there are no changes to in-app purchases that are mercenary or that encourage addiction, but the truth is that this is not true. These are not the most difficult hurdles.
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This is a welcome development considering that most of the industry is still unsure what video games are. It has adopted real money games, also known as gambling, which is more exploitative than traditional video games. They even try to shut down people who call them out.
“The term gaming, per-se, has become very wide,” said Supreme Court of India advocate Aditya Ajgaonkar in a recent industry panel.
There are exciting distinctions to be made when you consider the argument that many gambling companies make about their games not being gambling records-qualifying.
Ajgaonkar stated, “The great thing is that as people who are intrinsically connected in the industry we will always believe in gaming need to have an element skill in it.”
The regulation of video games in India is a complex topic. The government would have to create a new body that will regulate the industry.
Ajgaonkar stated that the government would act according to its perceptions of good and evil. The industry has a lot of flexibility if gaming is allowed to be played under good conditions. If it creates more inconvenience than value, it could be subject to more strict restrictions.”