comScore

Quantum Brief

EGF's Sameer Barde: Regulatory certainty will ensure long-term investments in gaming and esports

E- Gaming Federation launched a campaign, ‘Asli Gamer’ starring Naezy and Shubman Gill, to encourage gamers to play responsibly.

By  Tasmayee Laha RoyJan 10, 2023 4:12 PM
EGF's Sameer Barde: Regulatory certainty will ensure long-term investments in gaming and esports
Sameer Barde, CEO at EGF says “Regulation is a great first step to add credibility to the esports industry and standing at this juncture alongside regulation what is also very important is player education. Asli Gamer is the first nudge from the federation for players to understand the importance of responsible gaming behaviors.” (Stills from the campaign)

In a bid to drive healthy gaming behavior E- Gaming Federation (EGF) has brought together cricket and hip hop in their new campaign to promote responsible gaming. This is not only one of the first few campaigns from an industry body in the space but also one that uses influencer marketing to drive a message. With the campaign Asli Gamer, starring rapper and hip-hop artist Naezy along with Indian cricketer Shubman Gill, EGF is going all out to reach out to its primary TG of millennials and Gen Z. The campaign comes with all elements of an influencer led camping, complete with a hook step, involvement of over a thousand content creators and of course a rap anthem.

The intention of the federation is to simply reach out to their TG in the language they understand.

The campaign has gone live just days after the Indian government officially recognized esports as part of multi-sports events that would be governed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

FICCI-EY Media and Entertainment Report 2022 says the number of eSports players doubled from three lakh in 2020 to six lakh in 2021 and the revenue from the industry too showed an encouraging growth of 29%, growing from Rs7.5 billion in 2020 to Rs 9.7 billion in 2021.

In a chat with Storyboard18, Sameer Barde, CEO at EGF says “Regulation is a great first step to add credibility to the esports industry and standing at this juncture alongside regulation what is also very important is player education. Asli Gamer is the first nudge from the federation for players to understand the importance of responsible gaming behaviors.”

He also talks about marketing the campaign, the growth potential of the industry and the impact of having regulations.

Edited excerpts.

What is the relevance of the Asli Gamer campaign?

At the end of the day it has to be the player who needs to be educated so that they can themselves ensure that they're playing responsibly. Players need to understand the importance of not going overboard. If they play responsibly, it bodes well for everyone. It bodes well for the players themselves, for the industry and obviously for the government. And that was enough motivation for us to do something around education.

You have brought on board an interesting pair of ambassadors. Why Naezy and Shubman Gill? How do you think they’ll help in amplifying your narrative?

When we looked at the typical player profiles, we looked at what they liked and what they identify the most with. Sports and music were two of the most preferred areas of interest of our TG. Having identified their interests, we thought of ways to come up with something that is not boring yet conveys the message we are trying to push. Both Naezy and Shubman Gill have an immense fan following, people identify with them and most importantly they speak a language which the generation really understands. So we got Naezy to compose a rap and then have Gill and him perform it.

We wanted to convey a few things through the campaign- whether the investment in question is time or money, ensure that you are playing within your limits, play for entertainment and not for anything else, and if they're losing don’t chase the losses.

We didn’t want to sound patronizing and say ‘play responsibly’. We chose to use a lingo that is more casual and easy to associate with. Naezy helped us do that. In the rap he says things like ‘Limit me macha’ which drives our message but in a fun way.

Interested users can take a self-assessment test and see if they are playing responsibly and they get a badge after that. We are encouraging them to be the ‘asli gamer’ (real gamer).

How are you promoting the campaign? Will there be other influencers involved?

We have planned a very creator led campaign. We didn’t want this to be an advertising-like initiative. We wanted to promote a behavior change which we felt content creators can promote best.

We are activating the whole gaming community where we’d be working with more than a thousand streamers. iStreamo is helping us with that. Alongside that we’d also be using other mainstream creators who would be promoting a hook step.

We are doing a little bit of promotion to establish the song so that it is available on platforms like Spotify and YouTube but since we are not treating this like an advertising campaign we are keeping everything else organic.

Moving on to the changing tides. We now have the government involved in the gaming and esports space. Esports is not just being acknowledged as sports but is also getting the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to govern it? What is your reaction?

It is a great first step. It is great to finally see something in black and white on paper. We hope the plan of having a full-fledged Gaming Commission is also implemented soon.

We are working on our inputs and hopefully in the next week or so we should be able to go back to the government with our feedback on the draft policy.

Once the regulation is in place, what according to you will be the direct impact of it on the industry?

I think eventually once the dust settles down we will have a proper gaming commission in place. That apart, one of the biggest impacts will be that we will have a clear regulatory runway and that bodes really well for the industry and for all its stakeholders. If you look at the AVGC reportone of the key things that we discussed in the report is how to get India to make what is called a Triple A Game. That was like one of the key objectives and for something like that there is a huge investment requirement. At least $20million to $35 million is what you need to get a decent title up and then you need more to be able to sustain it and upgrade it constantly.

Without clarity from the governance side of things investors were very cagey because they didn't know what will happen tomorrow. So one of the biggest things that any sort of good regulation brings in is regulatory certainty that automatically ensures long term investment. This will then impact the overall size of the industry, employment potential, tax generation and a lot more.

First Published on Jan 10, 2023 4:12 PM