By Rupin Chopra and Reetika Wadhwa
The gaming sector has been gaining rapid popularity in this cyber age. Video games and games on hand held devices are emerging as a source of playing games like never before. This has resulted in expansion of the horizons of gaming industry, whereby start-ups and budding entrepreneurs are developing new games to attract gamers around the world.
Role of advertisements
There is hardly any industry which has been left untouched by the impact of Advertisements. Advertisement is considered as one of the most trusted tool or form of communication for informing consumers and public in general about different types of products and services being offered. In the modern era, internet and social media platforms have emerged as a new tool for advertisement of one’s products or services in order to maximize the revenue generation potential. Similarly, the gaming sector has also been using various social media platforms as a medium of promotion.
Requirements of social media platforms for advertising
The social media caters users from varied backgrounds which use their services to showcase the quality of the products or services for sale. Before such advertisements are broadcasted it is essential that the same are acceptable as per the provisions of the applicable law.
Law in India
The advertisements in India are regulated by Government as well as authorities such as Advertising Standards Council of India (hereinafter referred to as “ASCI”) thereby preventing any prohibited content from being displayed in any advertisement.
- The Code for Self-Regulation formulated by ASCI requires the advertisements to adhere to fair and just legal practices and ensure compliance to norms, including but not limited to, being based on honest representations, not being be offensive to public, not encourage any harmful/ hazardous substances, must encourage fair competition, etc.
- Specific to the gaming industry, online skill games with stakes are often confused with gambling activities operation of which is not legal in India. The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 read with Section 79(2) the Information Technology Act, 2000 requires ‘intermediaries’ like internet service providers, network service providers, search engines, telecom operators etc. not to host or transmit any content which inter alia relates to or encourages gambling (Rules 3(2)(b), Rule 3(4)). Therefore, it is of extreme importance to clarify that the online games being offered for real time money do not fall within the purview of gambling.
- Gaming falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the respective State law. Many States in India do not allow the offering of game of skills with stakes such as the States of Assam, Odisha, Telangana, etc. Therefore, it is essential that neither the skill games for money (including the online games) are offered in the States prohibiting them nor are the advertisements indicating their availability to the users resident thereof, be made.
It cannot be denied that owing to wide accessibility and internet penetration, social media platforms serve as a better and more effective way of engaging users and creating a larger customer base for the gaming business. As playing games on the online mode are preferred these days, opting for advertisement strategy on social media platform can be beneficial to business houses operating in the gaming industry, provided appropriate and permissible advertisements are broadcasted.