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2023: A Year of Growth and Transformation in Indian Online Gaming Gaming
Gutshot Editorial
Posted on 31 Dec, 2023
By Gutshot Editorial
On 31 Dec, 2023
By Gutshot Editorial
On 31 Dec, 2023

2023: A Year of Growth and Transformation In Indian Online Gaming

The Indian gaming and interactive media landscape experienced a remarkable year in 2023, marked by significant growth, evolving trends, and major milestones across various segments.

Here’s a glimpse into the key highlights:

Highlights – Esports

From BattleGround Mobile India’s (BGMI) successful return in the Indian market, Krafton hosting competitive events, Indian Esport Squad representing India at the Asian Games 2023 to Indian representative Team GodLike bagging the runner up position in Call of Duty Mobile World Championship 2023. Here are the major happenings throughout the year 2023

The Government of India recognised esports with mainline sports

Bihar hosted 1st ever esports LAN tournament – Bihar State Esports Open Tournament. Going a step further the government during the tournament announced that Esports will soon become part of the education curriculum

Meghalaya Tourism partnered with Mutation Esports to host a gaming festival

– Odyssey 2023. This is also where India’s first Call of Duty Mobile and national level Modern Warfare II (PC) tournaments

The UP Government signed an MOU with Garena to host international tournaments.

MP Government established an esports academy, along with organising a State Junior Esports Championship

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BGMI Comeback

BGMI, the most played game with over 15 Crore downloads, was back and it has been the highlight of the year in the gaming industry

Krafton had to introduce some restrictions, which included the time limit for the users of 6 hours/day and an age limit of 18+

  • FreeFire was set to relaunch in India following BGMI relaunch. FreeFire was banned due to security reasons. The tentative relaunch date was in November, the gamers are eagerly waiting for the game to make a The official relaunch date is yet to be announced.

There were many partnerships that happened in the esports domain

Many Gaming companies and tournament organisers namely Krafton, Nodwin Gaming and Jio Games partners with many brands such as IQOO, Lenovo and RedBull.

Philip India partnered with BGMI to launched its own esports team – OneBlade

  • Asian Games 2023 esports – In total 16 esports athletes represented India at Asian Games 2023.There were a total of 7 games namely Arena of Valor Asian Games Version, Dota 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, FIFA Online 4, League of Legends, Peace Elite Asian Games Version and Street Fighter V: Champion Edition.

India was represented in 4 out of 7 games including DOTA 2, FIFA Online 4, League of Legends, and Street Fighter V: Champion Edition.

BGMI, Esports And Krafton’s Competitive Events

BGMI has played a major role in helping the esports industry grow in India The esports organisations along with others have started hosting several esports tournaments to help aspiring gamers. Krafton has itself hosted a slew of competitive tournaments, including the Battlegrounds Mobile India Series 2023 and Battlegrounds Mobile India Pro Series 2023.

The best performance by an Indian team ever – Team Godlike Esports

finished runners up in Call of Duty Mobile World Championship 2023. 16

international teams participated in this tournament with Team GodLike winning prize money of ₹1.4 Crore.

  • Indian Content Creation got global recognition with Indian organisation picking up ‘Global Impact on Mobile Gaming’ at the MOBIES Awards and ‘Content Creator of the Year’ award at the Global Esports Awards 2023
  • India is home to 568 Mn gamers in FY23. The country’s gaming market hit

$3.1 Bn in FY23 and is projected to reach $7.5 Bn by FY28, growing at a

CAGR of 20% from a report by Lumikai in collaboration with Google

  • Esports players in India went from 10 lakh in 2022 to 25 lakh in 2023

Number of esports teams grew from 1.1 lakh to 1.25 lakh this year 2023 Highlights – Web3

Google Play Store to allow NFTS, Tokenized Digital Assets in Android Apps

Google allowed the app developers to integrate NFTS into their games on Google Play Store,the policy states that the app developers should maintain the transparency with the users about the presence of tokenized crypto assets in their apps. emphasising on the transparency aligns with the clearer guidelines and disclosures regarding NFTs.

Also, the developers are prohibited from promoting any potential earnings derived from playing or trading activities associated with these NFTS. The full implementation of these policies are expected to be seen by the year end

Funding into Web3 startups down 82% year-over-year

Funding into Web3 Startups went down the hill by 82% year over year, from $9.1 Billion to $1.7 Billion in 2023. $1.7 Billion in 2023 marked the lowest amount of Web3 startup funding since 2020. The number of total deals between VCs and Web3 startups also saw a drastic

downfall in 2023 i.e by 33%. Ironically the business information platform acknowledges that the interest in Web3 startup has cooled of late. The recent trend in Web3 funding, the reports indicate that the $2.4 Billion invested in all crypto firms in 2023 marked a 80% downfall from $13 Billion in 2022.

  • The Indian web3 industry is expected to grow by $1.1 Billion by 2032.
  • Global industry size is expected to grow from $3.3 Billion to $82.72 Billion by 2023.
  • The number of Web3 startups in india are 450+
  • Kratos Studios sets sights internationally, strategic expansion to Brazil With an aim to attract game developers and the global gaming community on the platform.

Kratos Studios allocated  ₹50 Crore and launched Kratos Games Network

  • Play-to-Earn (P2E) and Blockchain Gaming Hype: Play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity and Sandbox gained popularity, attracting investments and raising hopes for a decentralised gaming future.
  • NFT Integration in Games: Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) emerged as a new monetization avenue for games, with in-game items and characters being bought and sold on blockchain platforms.
  • Challenges and Regulatory Concerns: The nascent Web 3 gaming space faced challenges like security vulnerabilities, scams, and regulatory concerns around cryptocurrencies.

ALSO READ: All Time Money List 2023: Who Is Ruling The Chart?

Highlights – RMG

Know all about the 28% GST on Online Gaming

  • The $3 Billion Indian online gaming market caught the eye of the world, But the 28% GST on Real Money Gaming shook the Indian Online Gaming
  • Growing Online Gaming Industry before GST – Before the GST, India Online Gaming

Industry was Booming. The number of Online Gamers grew by 12% from 450 million in FY21 to 507 million in FY22.

  • Game of Skill VS Game of Chance –

In the early stages Online Games of Skill attracted 18% GST on the platform fee, whereas Game Of Chance was taxed at 28%. But now both attract 28% GST.

  • The Online Gaming GST Burden –

Players will have to pay both income tax and GST.

  • Tax Controversies –

The industry had debated that the taxation should be on the platform fee, which is globally accepted.

  • 28% GST impacts on Online Gaming Industry –

The implementation had an immediate impact on the Online Gaming Industry. Businesses struggle with the increased tax burden, leading to workforce reduction and operational challenges.

  • Ongoing tax Investigations –

The Directorate General of GST Intelligence established a dedicated team to monitor

the GST compliance of foreign online gaming firms.

  • Finding a Middle Ground –

Stakeholders in the gaming industry stressed the importance of finding a middle ground with the government and proposed an alternative.

  • During 2023 IPL Fantasy Sports made ₹2,800 Crore in gross gaming revenue


The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) was elected as the

nodal ministry for online real-money gaming. They soon released draft rules for RMG under the It Act. 2000 in January 2023 and were notified in April 2023.

The rules are yet to be implemented as self-regulatory organisations (SROs) which will oversee everything are yet to be approved.


The budget announcement at the beginning of the year was one of the highly anticipated events for the gaming industry. The government decided to remove the threshold of INR 10,000 to nil. As per income tax laws, TDS is applicable on winnings from online gaming and are also to be reported while filing income tax returns.

So according to the rules before if the winnings from online gaming exceeded INR 10,000 then TDS on winnings is deducted at 30 percent.But under the new announcement post budget even winnings below INR 10,000 will be deducted at 30 percent TDS.

 40K Crore GST Evasion

In September 2023, Dream Sports the parent company of Dream 11, lodged a petition in the Bombay High Court in response to a show cause notice from tax authorities. This petition aims to contest the show cause notice issued by authorities, which accuses them of evading GST and failing to pay the 28% GST on the nominal value of bets.

The report noted citing sources that the tax allegations against Dream11 are staggering, totaling a massive ₹40,000 Crore. This would constitute the

largest-ever claim in the history of indirect taxation in India. The next updates in this saga are not yet known.

28% GST aftermath

The 28% GST announcement by the government left many wondering how the sector would be impacted. Mobile Premier League (MPL) was the first to announce the impact as the company let go 350 employees. The company attributed the massive rise in tax burden due to GST to the layoffs.

Soon after MPL, online poker gaming platform Spartan Poker reportedly fired 125 employees. and Hike Rush Gaming Universe also gave pink slips to 55 employees. Real money gaming app Fantok and crypto gaming app One World Nation (OWN) halted their service temporarily while another gaming startup Quizy permanently shut its operations.

Highlights – Gaming

  • Yudiz Solution announces IPO -They became the second gaming company in the country and the first in the combined space of blockchain, AI and gaming to publicly enlist. Their IPO listed at 12% premium on opening day
  • In late October Nazara Technologies announced plans to launch 20 games, on mobile, web3, VR and PC over the next 18 months by investing ₹1 Crore per game as part of its “Nazara Publishing” vertical.

They will partner with both Indian and Global Developers to localise and bring their games to the Indian gaming base. Nazara is also keen to launch High Quality made in India games through their gaming vertical

  • Nazara Technologies announced a game publishing division for game developers, Nazara publishing looks to capitalise on India’s rising potential as a gaming hub. They plan to publish games made by Indian developers globally as well as to partner with global developers to localise and bring these games to India.

Nazara Technologies will also support the developers with game design, localization, data analytics capabilities, beta testing and quality assurance, enhanced monetisation and strong distribution through smart user acquisition spends and platform partnerships

  • Krafton launches Krafton India Gaming Incubator to boost local startups offering ₹24 Crore
  • Unity, a popular platform for Indie game studios to develop 2D and 3D

The company recently faced a backlash from game developers after they announced that they will charge game developers for every installation. The game developers requested the gamers to refrain from installing the games. After a very brutal backlash Unity rolled back parts of the new policy, the news came after the small and independent developers decided to boycott the company.

  • VI offers free games with Gameloft to give subscribers free access to the video game publisher’s originals as well as other popular titles.

AVGC Sector

During the financial budget of 2023 it was made clear to promote the AVCG Sector, by supporting made in India games and to showcase the Indian Mythology Through gaming and animation

  • China’s gaming industry is facing a loss of $80 Billion.

The rules were majorly about limited spending and rewards in online gaming. These rules included a ban on daily login rewards, incentives for the first time and consecutive spending and lucky draws.

The ban caused panic among the investors as it has wiped off nearly $80 Billion in market value. The investors are trying to figure out the impact on earnings and more restrictions that may come the following year.

After having a huge impact on the economy, the China Government decided to approve 105 domestic games.

  • Gurugram-based Casual gaming Studio FunStop Games bags $1.5 Million

in funding round from InfoEdge Ventures.

  • Riot Games to double down on India to engage with the gaming community through hosting its first ever International Valorant esports competition in India. They recently celebrated the one – year anniversary of Harbor, Valorant’s first Indian agent in the game and are looking to host more tournaments in the country. They are also planning to enter a market that predominantly plays on the mobile phone and will soon be launching Valorat
  • Nikhil Kamath, founder of Zerodha who was part of Forbes Billionaires list 2023 gave the Indian gaming ecosystem a huge boost when he invested ₹100 Crore in Nazara Technologies. The company’s shares went over 12% to hit a 52 – week high post the investment.

Looking Ahead:

2023 laid the foundation for continued growth and transformation in the Indian gaming ecosystem. With rising internet penetration, increasing disposable incomes, and a supportive government, the future of gaming, esports, RMG, and Web 3 in India looks bright. However, addressing regulatory issues, promoting responsible gaming practices, and fostering a vibrant domestic game development scene will be crucial for the sector to reach its full potential.

This report is just a glimpse into the many exciting developments that 2023 brought to the Indian gaming and interactive media landscape. As the industry continues to evolve, many tier 2,3 and 4 cities in India stand poised to play a significant role in shaping its future.

For more news and updates, keep reading Gutshot Magazine. Follow us on our social handles FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Telegram.

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