Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2022 today and after all these years of hard work, the animation, visual effects, comics and gaming (AVGC) sector finally received the recognition it deserved.
The gaming sector which has voluminously swelled in the past few years is cheering and welcoming FM’s revelation of Budget 2022. The gaming sector believes that it will impact not just the growth of the sector but also has the potential to contribute a larger chunk of the country’s GDP from the M&E sector.
Nazara Technologies CEO Manish Agarwal shared some of the salient points for the development of the gaming industry mentioned in the Union Budget 2022 they are as follows:
- AVGC task force to be set up to carve the way ahead for the Gaming Industry
Welcome move by the government to promote AVGC (animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics) by setting up a task force to seek recommendations to create the way forward. As we know, India presently commands around 10 per cent of the global AVGC market and has the potential to reach 20-25 per cent by 2027. This task force will facilitate employment for the youth, build domestic capacity to serve the Indian markets and also meet global demand.
- 5G auctions to happen in 2022 leading to innovations in the Gaming sector
A very encouraging timeline for the gaming sector set by FM on the 5G spectrum auctions in 2022 to enable the launch of services within FY 22-23. Advent of 5G in India will drive the momentum in the gaming industry even further and enhance gaming experiences due to factors like higher data speeds, lower latency, and technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
- Facilitating partnership with states in SEZs to ensure greater alignment with key industries – Gaming focused SEZs to encourage infrastructure and talent pool development
Replacing the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act with new legislation that would enable states to become partners in becoming development hubs is a crucial and well-timed move. For the gaming industry, such partnership with states on SEZs would help strengthen the supply base of animation and production studios and encourage development of the existing animation and gaming capacity. It will also lend focus on evolving a concept of infrastructure sharing as well as making available a talent pool in India, for our country to grow as a hub for the global gaming ecosystem.
- Cryptocurrency incorporation in the tax net
By bringing crypto and NFTs under the tax net by proposing to tax virtual assets at 30 per cent, the government has indirectly accorded recognition to these digital assets which is a positive step. We are hopeful that provided with an implementation of the necessary regulatory measures cryptocurrency may be soon legalized in India.
- Launching Digital Rupee – Spur in Micro-transactions
The introduction of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) using blockchain technology will spur micro-transactions and could be the solution for the low in-app purchases that the Indian gaming market currently witnesses.
The announcements on virtual assets and CBDC signal the progressive mindset of the government and are a huge confidence booster for welcoming innovations in the disruptive space of the metaverse and Web3.0.”
Gaming industry aficionados share the joy on how AVGC task force, 5G auction, cryptocurrency incorporation, digital rupee launch and so on will impact the growth of the gaming sector.
KPMG India partner and head, media and entertainment, Girish Menon shared, “The Budget 2022, from an M&E perspective, provides an emphasis on further strengthening India’s digital infrastructure through clarity on 5G auctions, and start-up ecosystem; proposes the formation of AVGC task force to address domestic and global demands and, commits to 200 TV channels to foster digital education, especially amongst the rural areas, and envisages to foster growth of micro transactions through the proposed Indian digital currency.”
JetSynthesys vice chairman and managing director Rajan Navani said, “I strongly welcome the formation of an AVGC task force for promotion, something that we as an industry have been pushing for a long time. It is high time that animation, visual effects and gaming are recognised as an industry because of the sheer potential that they carry. Skyrocketing further owing to the pandemic, these industries have the power to create large employment as well as give Indian gaming companies an opportunity to become globally competitive and play an increasingly larger role at a global level. Building a task force that will address the needs of this industry across various ministries would be a very proactive approach towards strengthening this industry, in my opinion. The aim to rollout 5G services in FY 2022-23 along with affordable broadband services and efficient connectivity to allow equal access to e-services in remote and urban areas has also been long due.
The focus of FM on new emerging technologies particularly like blockchain and AI, a word which was repeated several times during the speech is again a very positive move to show that digitalisation is truly the future, and a strong focus area for the government. Digitalisation was applied across agriculture, healthcare, skills, education and appeared in various shapes and forms throughout the budget speech. Additionally, the national tele-mental health programme is a great initiative by the government as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health of people to an unfathomable extent. Various channels and platforms like ThinkRight.me by JetSynthesys and others in the space can together help tackle India’s mental health issues. In all, we’re truly excited about the future of digital India and what this means to JetSynthesys which is here to play a key role in the daily digital lives of a billion Indians. As a country, we hope to move forward with jet speed and transform our country into an atma nirbhar, technologically and digitally forward nation.”
Lakshya Digital CEO and Media & Entertainment Skills Council (MESC) governing council member Manvendra Shukul shared, “AVGC, gaming in particular, is an industry segment with phenomenal potential for creating jobs as well as revenue for the exchequer. Given the right ecosystem, India can easily be a global leader in this space. Creation of the AVGC Task Force is amongst the first steps that needs to be taken to capitalize on India’s inherent strength in this space. Selection of the right people from each of the segments of the AVGC will be key to the success of this much needed initiative.”
Gamitronics CEO Rajat Ojha shared, “It’s a great move by the government of India. Whatever was being done at the state level has got national recognition now and this validates the industry finally. It’s going to help strategic policies come into effect to support the industry, create jobs and provide infrastructure to make it all happen. Digital India is all poised to grab the central attention globally with its foray in metaverse, leadership in blockchain and VFX and with added government support, the industry is just going to board a rocketship.”
POKKT co-founder and COO Vaibhav Odhekar shared, “The Indian gaming industry is growing at an exponential scale and giving the long-due recognition to the AVGC sector is a welcoming move. We believe this proposed move of creating a new task force will entice young professionals, creating job opportunities and drive economic growth. The initiatives proposed are steps in the right direction, however we will wait for concrete steps to be taken by the government.”
now.gg VP global marketing head Juhi Hajela shared, “The government announcement of forming a task force to cultivate the AVGC industry is a welcome change. The potential and opportunities that it offers to the Indian youth are immense and it’s encouraging that the Indian finance ministry has taken note. With the right regulations and initiatives, the Indian gaming ecosystem is hovered to become the biggest in the world. As a global organisation, we look at this announcement with great optimism and hope to contribute to its development.”
Gamezop co-founder Gaurav Agarwal shared, “Budget 2022 seems to announce India’s growing focus for export income, with a projection to reduce fiscal deficit to 4.5 per cent of GDP from the current rate of 6.9 per cent. It is heartening to see that the Special Economic Zone Act will be replaced with suitable legislation. This is a welcome move after the government had put an end to the 15-year tax holiday last year. The government has the opportunity to bring pro-business legislation in line with global trade norms to bolster exports through the new SEZ norms. For individuals, the option to file revised ITR up to two years from the end of the assessment year, as well as regulatory clarity on cryptocurrencies are good moves.Finally, Gamezop recognises the government’s initiative to set up a task force for the promotion of Animations, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics. We shall closely follow further developments in the space.”
Next Wave Multimedia co-founder and CEO P.R. Rajendran shared, “Gaming as an industry has been gaining traction in the country, especially with the digital push over the last few years. AVGC primarily being creative content creation, is human capital intensive and cannot be automated, and are excellent for job creation. The announcement of an AVGC promotion task force is a welcome move for the industry as it will provide means to the new talent in the industry with direction and opportunities and in turn, cater to skilled manpower needs in the gaming space.”
The All-India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers said, “I am pleased that the government has announced a progressive budget; stating the gaming industry as a sector that generates various job opportunities for the youth while boosting the economy of the country. The ideas proposed for the sector are very encouraging. We are thrilled and look forward to the AVGC task force that will give a major boost to the game development sector by building scale and adding to the overall online skill gaming industry’s momentum. AIGF and the skill games council of domain experts will be happy to assist, if need be, in playing a consultative role for the same. Likewise, the tax extension to four years will benefit the entire start-up ecosystem in online gaming which is in the excess of 300 companies. Furthermore, the FM’s announcement of the digital rupee launch will increase purchases of virtual goods in games through microtransactions. Finally, 5G auctions when implemented will enhance the gamer experience dramatically as well as facilitate the adoption of new technologies in gaming. Overall, the budget has opened more avenues for the gaming industry.”
Mobile Premier League (MPL) co-founder and CEO Sai Srinivas shared, “It is very encouraging to see that the Union Budget has taken into consideration some of the long-pending suggestions for the animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics (AVGC) sector, while noting the strong potential this industry holds for employment-generation as well as taking ‘Made in India’ game titles global.
We welcome the FM’s announcement to set up an AVGC Promotion Task Force to provide a much-needed boost to the sector. This announcement highlights the need to build capacity to serve both domestic and global markets, and is a strong indicator of the impetus that the government is willing to provide for its growth. It is also heartening to see the government’s commitment to work with the industry, allowing for a balanced approach that accommodates the needs of all stakeholders and strengthens the ecosystem holistically. A progressive tax regime, predictable regulatory framework and supportive funding policies will allow the industry to compete on the world stage and fulfil the prime minister’s vision for the Indian digital gaming sector to be a global powerhouse. Moreover, it will also help develop a workforce of young and employable AVGC professionals to usher in the next tech revolution from within India.The Budget rightly mentions that promoting the digital economy and sunrise sectors will be a priority in the next 25 years (75 to 100 years of India’s Independence)—the Amrit Kaal of India. With a renewed focus on the AVGC sector, blended financing for deep tech and IT, hardware and electronics manufacturing combined with deployment of 5G and affordable internet in underserved areas, it is clear that the government is committed to take the Indian startup ecosystem to the next level. We are hopeful that with the positive support of the government, the coming years will see online gaming, VFX and esports startups leading the charge in the global economy. By developing deep tech intellectual property and exporting services, they can help cement India’s position as a world leader in the sector.”
SuperGaming co-founder and CEO Roby John shared, “It’s a welcome move from the government and a stamp of legitimacy for the games industry. Video games, unlike software, are the intersection of disciplines — art, design, tech, and commerce, and should be treated differently. The AVGC promotion task force is a step in the right direction, but it will be interesting to see how this is executed in order to do justice to the medium of video games.”
WinZO co-founder Paavan Nanda commented, “We welcome the finance minister’s announcement during Budget 2022 to set up an AVGX task force with the objective of building domestic capacity to serve our markets and global demand. Gaming is a soon-to-be trillion-dollar industry, and it is heartening to see that the Government of India has acknowledged the exponential potential that this sector holds. As a giant step towards contributing to the same, WinZO launched the country’s first-ever national-level scholarship program called B.O.S.S (Battle of Super Scholars) and unveiled a $26M Game Developer’s fund with an aim to provide a platform to the best minds to disrupt this emerging global gaming industry. WinZO, as a leading game tech company, will be willing to work with public stakeholders to attract the best talent to this growing industry.”
World Esports Cup director Vishwalok Nath shared, “We welcome the steps by the finance minister of India as part of Budget 2022-2023 including the creation of the AVGC task force. We hope that this task force can help promote the creation of a robust infrastructure for game development with gradual benefits to the esports community. We are also looking forward to the 5G spectrum auction this year. 5G can further promote the latest innovations and mass adoption of technologies like cloud gaming in the country. There is a huge scope of employment for the youth in the gaming industry, esports/video games is a versatile industry and there is a huge scope for professional gamers as well as other jobs like casters, commentators, and other support staff appointed by the esports tournaments like producers, editors, analysts, product managers, game testers, referees, production crew members, event managers, social media managers, so on.”
Esports Federation of India director director and Asian Esports Federation vice president Lokesh Suji shared, “It is encouraging to finally see the seriousness from our Government towards this sector which has been long neglected. This will definitely help in setting up the policies which would encourage and build our capacities and capabilities to export to the rest of the world; leading to more domestic video game development studios and more investments in the AVGC sector. Spectrum auctions for 5G is a welcome move for the gaming industry as well, 5G can disrupt the industry by enhancing the live streaming of games and cloud gaming as well.The task force should consist largely of people who have been part of the “Video Game” industry and are playing an active role in shaping up the Indian video game industry.”
Qlan co-Founder and CEO Sagar Nair shared, “It is this continued acceptance that will lead to the progress of the Indian gaming and esports industry. First was esports’ entry in the Asian Games as an official event followed by a government dedicated task force to work with the AVGC sector. I have no doubt that these initiatives as part of the national budget policy highlight the true potential of the Indian gaming and esports segment not only in India but also on the global circuit.The statement clearly indicates the backing of homegrown game developers, tournament organisers, and esports companies and recommendations from the appointed task force will help build domestic capacity for serving out markets and the global demand as well.”
Games24x7 chief financial officer Rahul Tewari said, “The finance minister deserves full credit for announcing a progressive and reform-oriented budget. The gaming industry welcomes the decision to set up a task force for AVGC. AVGC task force can provide the long-term policy impetus and bring together the various stakeholders to turbocharge the vibrant ecosystem in gaming and animation. India has a deep and very high quality talent pool of developers and creative artists who will transform India into a global player in the interactive entertainment space in the coming years. We hope this paves way for regularity clarity for gaming, a sector that has contributed immensely to India’s start-up success in the last few years. In that context, the decision to set up a special committee to reduce regulations for start-ups, and the extension of tax benefits are laudable announcements. It shows the government’s acknowledgement of the start up’s contribution to economic growth. Finally, the commitment to roll out a 5G network in the next fiscal year is a very promising announcement for the tech start up space in general and gaming in particular. “
Witzeal Technologies CEO and founder Ankur Singh said, “Gaming as a segment is poised to gain with the current initiatives of the government and as an organisation, we stand with the Government’s dream of Amrut Kaal.The initiatives proposed to be undertaken by the Government to propel the growth of the economy in this budget are very encouraging. We are particularly thrilled with the fact that the Government has recognized the AVGC as a promising sector providing immense opportunity for the employment of youth. We see that the Government has also identified AI (Artificial Intelligence) as an area which would offer employment to youth, this would be a definitive component of the gaming industry. Moreover, the move to set up a task force to build internal capabilities to cater to domestic and international demands will help provide the much-needed push to gaming companies and developers.FM emphasis on the importance of mobile connectivity and broadband especially in rural India, will further boost the Gaming sector and will help the reachability to mass consumers. While an announcement on implementing Bharatnet optical fibre cable contracts through PPP has been made, this will make the digital payment gateway system more robust and resulting in indirect benefit to the e-commerce and other online platforms. Initiatives for 5G and other technologies coupled with benefits for start-ups as well as broadening/encouraging of digital economy would definitely help realise growth of the company in the Amrit Kaal.”
PlayerzPot CEO Sunil Yadav mentioned, “AVGC task force has come at the right time, for those pursuing a career in gaming as the sector is booming right now and needs more talented youngsters to grow. With the government introducing digital rupee and a visible trend in crypto adoption, NFT’s will grow significantly. 5G services auction within FY 22-23 across the country will play an important role in the growth by further penetrating in the markets and also enhancing the gaming experience. As the minister mentioned in her budget presentation, the gaming sector has the potential to become the torchbearer of ‘Create in India’ & ‘Brand India’, on the same lines we were hoping for transparent and progressive regulation that will help differentiate games of skill from those of chance, because this is a key area of concern for the industry as a whole.”
Zupee founder and CEO Dilsher Singh Malhi shared, “For gaming companies, many of which are homegrown startups, the extension of the existing tax benefits from three to four years will further accelerate growth in the sunrise sector. The industry, which is already expected to have 657 million users by 2025, should now look to break the billion-user barrier by 2030. We are happy to learn that the Government of India and the ministry of finance understand the tremendous employment and revenue generation potential that the AVGC sector has. The creation of the AVGC promotion task force is a welcome move. The initiative with industry participation will help in establishing uniform, progressive policies that will promote growth and investments in the sector, which in turn, will lead to job creation, revenue generation, and engagement opportunities. This will be a crucial step towards bridging the digital divide and unlocking a fully connected and empowered digital India. We believe that this initiative will pave the way for the Indian gaming industry to establish itself on a global stage.”
Dangal Games founder and CEO Varun Mahna shared, “We feel that in the latest budget, the startup ecosystem has been given a great boost along with acknowledging the employment potential that creative domains such as animation, visual effects, gaming, and comic (AVGC) sector hold for the youth. We are eagerly awaiting now for the recommendations that the AVGC promotion task force will be setting-up .We have always been great supporters for India’s Atma Nirbhar vision, and are committed towards enhancing our technological capabilities for serving the domestic and international demands.”
Rooter founder and CEO Piyush Kumar shared, “India’s leading Game Streaming and Esports Platform “A large part of creator economy in India is driven around AVGC category. Gaming particularly is stated to be torchbearer of opportunity creation sector with hundreds of platforms and millions of jobs being created around it. We, at Rooter, are excited to be in the middle of this affirmation from Honorable Minister of Finance and would love to work closely with them to build this sector. This sector will also drive a lot of investment in India from global players and we want to help stakeholders build strong thesis and pitch around it.”
Trinity Gaming co founder and CEO Abhishek Aggarwal shared, “It is absolutely encouraging to see the government taking notice and making announcements for the rapidly growing AVGC sector. It will not only help us grow at a faster pace but will also bring validation and credibility for this sector. AVGC is already providing employment to many in the country, and with this promotion task force coming into the picture, it will help the stakeholders like us immensely.”