Online gaming industry in India heading towards a big success. Amazon is also targeting home entertainment segment and in order to do so it has bought videogame studio Double Helix Games. This shows the seriousness of technology companies to explore the online gaming industry of India.
However, along with the commercial challenges, techno legal regulatory compliances would also be required to be fulfilled by various online gaming entrepreneurs in India. There are many legal risks for online gaming website developers and designers in India. Similarly, online poker websites in India are violating Indian laws and they may be prosecuted in the near future. This is more so regarding the legal issues of e-commerce in India that are grossly ignored by various stakeholders in India.
Indian laws have prescribed stringent punishment for mobile application developers, websites developers, mobile payment service providers, etc. As per the Information Technology Act, 2000 the Indian and foreign online gaming companies and gaming providers in India are Internet intermediaries and they are required to comply with cyber law due diligence requirements (PDF) as well.
Even technology companies have started taking note of these laws. Google’s online defamation case is still pending before the Supreme Court of India. Similarly, Apple removed Blockchain application from its app store due to legal concerns pertaining to Bitcoins across the world.
Cubeia has recently decided that it would support Bitcoins for its business to business poker network. This would raise many techno legal issues as use of Bitcoins and Bitcoins exchanges in India is full of legal risks. The taxation liability of online games in India is also maturing.
Besides techno legal issues, online gaming providers would also be required to introduce the element of “localisation” to make their online games successful. Text translation, dialogue dubbing and character outfits are among the most common tweaks in the “localisation” work by firms wanting to capitalise on Asia’s booming online gaming market. However, the term localisation is not confined to mere commercial aspects but it covers legal issues as well. This means that local laws are also required to be complied with by Indian and foreign online gaming service providers.
Thus, online gaming market in India is booming but regulatory compliances cannot be ignored by online games providers. This is more so if these games providers are contemplating seeking foreign investments in Indian ventures as cyber law due diligence for foreign investors would be the norm in India in near future.