Witzeal CEO: Responsible Gaming Is Critical for Industry Growth
Ankur Singh, Founder and CEO of Gurugram-based gaming company Witzeal Technologies, recently argued that responsible gaming is critical for the development of the industry and that the Indian online gaming market must create and maintain a ”safe and welcoming space” for players in order to preserve its solid growth trajectory.
The country’s online gaming market has reached a size of $2.2 billion and is projected to expand further to $5 billion, driven on the one hand by rising smartphone penetration, cheap mobile data plans, and growing disposable incomes, and on the other hand supported by increasing levels of player engagement and diversification of monetization schemes.
This promising growth, however, is accompanied by an alarming spread of online fraud, identity or data theft, and other types of cyber crimes, including online harassment and bullying in multiplayer settings. Risks related to online gaming could also involve individual mental health and financial wellbeing, as cases of addiction and problem gambling have also been reported.
For these reasons, Ankur Singh urges for a system of responsible gaming policies and requirements applicable to operators and players alike, including restricting access of minors to real money games, strong privacy and data protection, play time or money spending limits, among other measures.
“Responsible gaming is critical for sustaining the integrity and actual enjoyment of online gaming. It is the responsibility of both the players and the platform to conduct ethical gaming so that it continues to generate employment and revenues for the country,” Witzeal’s Singh concludes.
Responsible Gaming Is Expected on the Players’ Side
Industry representatives see responsible gaming as the way to build a sustainable business, but studies have established that the majority of players themselves expect responsible gaming policies to be there to guarantee their safety. What’s more, most players behave responsibly even if it is not explicitly required by the gaming platform or the government.
Two thirds of online players around the world say that they would choose to play a socially responsible game over one that has no such aspect. Likewise, the studies reveal, the majority of players in India would also welcome a safer gaming environment, even though this would necessitate the imposition of certain play restrictions.
According to the Gambling Commission of the UK – a national gaming authority with long traditions in overseeing a mature gambling market, social responsibility in gambling has three main aspects: keeping crime out of gambling, conducting gambling in a fair and open way, and protecting children and other vulnerable people from harm and exploitation.
Typical responsible gaming tools include digital ID checks, advisory pop-ups and warnings triggered by player behaviour, deposit and sign-in time limits, as well as providing players with easy access to an array of self-exclusion and time-out options, as well as to various free support and counselling resources.
Collected empirical evidence shows that such responsible gaming mechanisms effectively mitigate negative consequences in cases of loss of control due to player inexperience, “binge gambling”, or other reasons, and help protect vulnerable groups such as problem gamblers and juveniles.