Roland Landers on AIGF and future of online gaming in India

by February 17, 2020 0 comments

We recently interacted with Mr Roland Landers, the CEO of All India Gaming Federation. AIGF has been formed to regulate online games which involve real money, like online poker and fantasy games. Mr Roland Landers has been working in the MEdia and Sports Entertainment industry for 23 years, most recently as the Chief Brand Officer and Zee Entertainment. He is also the brains behind Sportshero.

You have been working for more than a decade in media and sports. Why did you decide to make the shift to Online Gaming?

Shifting to the Online gaming sector seemed the right thing to do, as with the evolution of technology, the online skill gaming industry is growing rapidly & is already on the verge of becoming one of the fastest-growing verticals in M&E landscape.

Also, having some of the verticals of this industry directly linked to live sports, made the shift even more interesting.

Speaking of Online Gaming, have you personally tried your hand at Video Games?

Yes, a few times with my son who is an avid eSports player.

AIGF is involved in Online Gaming or more specifically, online games that involve money. Could you explain to our readers what AIGF looks to accomplish, and what you have achieved with the federation? Do you plan to make AIGF a government body?

AIGF oversees online real money skill gaming and our objective of bringing recognition to this Industry. AIGF is a self-regulated Industry body and all its stakeholders adhere to the self-regulation charter that focuses on responsible gaming and player protection. We continue to work with the relevant State and Central Ministries for knowledge sharing on the economic and social benefits of the Industry.

Looking at the games that AIGF is planning to monitor, those games can be categorized as online gambling. Many legislations have been passed in countries like the Netherlands, which categorize loot boxes in video games as online gambling. What is your opinion regarding that, and will AIGF look to regulate that as well? 

AIGF monitors only real money subscription-based online skill games.

How much of an impact do these money based online games currently have on the Indian economy?

The impact of the online real money gaming industry on the economy is significant. Currently, the size of the Industry is approximately Rs 4000/- crore and it has created sizeable direct and indirect jobs.

Will AIGF jump into esports like PUBG etc. in the near future?

Yes, we already have a vertical for digital skill games and have added eSports to our offering owing to the huge interest from our stakeholder groups.

Do you see esports becoming as big in India as they are in the western world? 

Yes, definitely. With digitalization and the availability of affordable data in the Indian market, the opportunity for esports is huge.

Also, accessibility & affordability to play esports is way more than compared to console & PC based sports.

What according to your professional opinion, can be done to promote esports in India and what are the current hurdles?

The esports industry in India faces multiple challenges in terms of not only community building but also the infrastructure. Currently, the industry is at a nascent stage and is on its way to growing massively.

I believe that these games will get recognition when we have individual/team winning performances from Indians on the Asian & Global stage that will attract media attention. Likewise, event IP’s are currently happening at the regional levels but when these go national then the media multiplier will be immense.

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