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Top Gaming CEOs Call Out Google’s ‘Extortionist’ 30% Tax on Gaming Apps at Consilience 2023

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Top gaming CEOs expressed their concerns over the ‘extortionist’ 30% tax imposed by Google on gaming apps at a panel discussion held at Consilience 2023, organized by the Law and Technology Society (L-Tech) at National Law School of India University (NLSIU) in partnership with All India Game Developers’ Forum (AIGDF).

Manish Agarwal, Co-Founder of IndiGG, stated that the 30% tax on gaming apps is unfair. “The 30% jagirdari tax is an extortion and I believe in India we should not allow anybody to do this, especially when you’re not an Indian company,” he said. He pointed out that, in a country like India, the focus needs to be to increase its propensity to pay and reduce friction in spending among consumers. Adding an extra 30% tax on top of the goods and services tax (GST) is a significant expense for consumers, which he believes is unproductive from a gamer’s perspective.

Anuj Tandon, Gaming Chief Executive Officer for JetSynthesys, expressed a similar sentiment. “When app stores and play stores were launched, the 30% fee was revolutionary compared to the 70% charged by OEMs or Telcos for game developers. At that time, it was a very good idea, but as the industry and business models have evolved, there needs to be a relook at the rates,” he added.

Sai Srinivas, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Mobile Premier League (MPL), highlighted that the 30% commission may be viable in advanced markets like the United States, but for India, it is crucial to ensure that Indian game developers receive more revenue to invest in game development and build more games. “Let’s evaluate the unit economics; if a developer charges 100 rupees, 30 rupees go to the play store or app store and 70 rupees goes to the developer,” he explained. “From that 70 rupees, they have to pay for hosting, user acquisition and other expenses. My view is that we should provide Indian game developers with more revenue to invest in game development and build more games.”

Sean Hyunil Sohn, Chief Executive Officer for Krafton Incorporated India, called for proper intervention by the government and encouraged the development of competition from third-party stores, supported by consumers.

Consilience 2023 marked the first conference of its kind to be held in the wake of the notification of the new online gaming rules by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The conference shed light on the legal and regulatory requirements that must be met, growth strategies to be adopted and policy needs for the industry to reach its full potential.

The conference explored topics such as online gaming regulations, taxation of gaming and new business opportunities that gaming companies can leverage. Speakers included Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder of Nodwin Gaming, Anupriya Sinha Das, Head of Corporate Development at Nazara, Rachit Rastogi, Chief Operating Officer for Good Game Exchange (GGX), Joyjyoti Misra, Group General Counsel for Gameskraft, Ritika Chatterjee, General Counsel for Mayhem Studios and Arun Prabhu, Partner at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. The panels were expertly moderated by professors of NLSIU like Dr Betsy Rajasingh (Associate Prof, NUJS), who has expertise in intellectual property and technology law, Professor Sanyukta Chowdhury, who specializes in tax, Professor Rahul Singh, Associate Professor of Law at NLSIU, whose expertise lies in corporate affairs and competition law, and Dr TS Somashekar, Professor of Economics, NLSIU.

“Consilience has always been a syncretic conference bringing together different perspectives on law and technology,” said Shikhar Sharma, Convenor of the Law and Technology Society 2022/23. “This year, we are proud to host it with AIGDF and bring in the perspective of business into the intersection of Law and Technology.”

Asia

NODWIN Gaming appoints former TEC Co-Founder Ishaan Arya as Vice President of Sales & Partnerships

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NODWIN Gaming, the leading South Asian gaming and Esports company, has appointed Esports veteran Ishaan Arya, as Vice President of Sales and Partnerships to bolster its leadership team.

With over a decade of experience, the former co-founder of The Esports Club has played a pivotal role in spearheading some of the country’s largest gaming and Esports events, including The Arena, India’s premier consumer gaming event. His guidance not only propelled The Esports Club to unprecedented heights but also facilitated its expansion beyond India into the markets of the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

In his new role at NODWIN Gaming, Ishaan will focus on enhancing the value of the company’s existing IPs, such as BGMS, DreamHack India, NODWIN India Premiership, Valorant Challengers South Asia, and Comic Con India, ensuring their sustained growth and global audience engagement. He will be working on new brand partnerships, initiatives and innovating IPs as NODWIN Gaming pushes the boundaries in the gaming, esports, and lifestyle segments.

Sharing his thoughts, Ishaan Arya, Vice-President of Sales and Partnerships at NODWIN Gaming, stated, “I am excited to join NODWIN Gaming to contribute to their massive roster of global gaming, esports, and lifestyle events. As one of the top new-age sports media organizations in the world, NODWIN Gaming’s visionary approach and global roadmap have always been top-notch. Alongside a fantastic team, I am eager to utilize my expertise in large-scale gaming events and publisher partnerships to elevate the company to new heights.”

“At NODWIN, we pride ourselves in encouraging our leaders to take ownership in various aspects of the business. As a founder himself, Ishaan not only brings a wealth of knowledge and experience but will also drive innovation and growth across key verticals of our gaming and entertainment segments,” said Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder and Managing Director of NODWIN Gaming.

Since its inception, NODWIN Gaming has cemented its position as a frontrunner in the global gaming and Esports industry. The company has been making significant strides in venturing beyond Esports, recently acquiring Comic Con India, alongside obtaining a 51% stake in the Singapore-based media company Branded.

With experience working with Comic Con India as well as industry giants like NVIDIA, Intel, LG, Lenovo, Dell, JBL & Amazon, in the past, Ishaan will be a key addition to NODWIN Gaming as they drive innovation and progress in the gaming and Esports sector.

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Asia

NOVOMATIC Showcases Exceptional Highlights at G2E Asia in Macao

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This year’s G2E Macao was a great success for NOVOMATIC. The gaming technology leader set new standards in the industry, with innovative products, state-of-the-art technologies and impressive new gaming solutions that were exceptionally well received by visitors and technology enthusiasts alike.

NOVOMATIC showcased its internationally acclaimed DIAMOND X cabinets and introduced new gaming content. The sophisticated J-curved DIAMOND X 1.55J featured the XTENSION LINK Volume 2, a high-performing Linked Progressive title with five new games, including internationally popular titles such as Golden Book of Ra and Golden Charming Lady in their exclusive XL versions. CASH FLOOD Link, another fan favourite, was also presented in the DIAMOND X 1.55J cabinet. This new Linked Progressive includes the titles Secrets of Wealth, Magic Cleopatra, and Roll on Fire – a trio that ensures three times the excitement on the gaming floors.

The multi-screen DIAMOND X 2.32/3.32 also attracted lots of attention, featuring the latest Linked Progressive Superia GOLDEN LINK Volume 2. This Jackpot offers a captivating gaming experience and golden winning chances with five new games, including Mermaid Beauty, Shanghai Club, Queen of the Night Magic, Empress Sissi, and all time NOVOMATIC favourites such as Golden Book of Ra and Golden Charming Lady.

A standout feature of NOVOMATIC’s presentation at G2E Macao was the brand new ETG solution, NOVO UNITY PRO. This advanced system enhances the casino floor with unparalleled functionality and flexibility to meet the demands of the future, enabling the integration of electronic live games such as SicBo and Baccarat as well as Roulette, Poker, Black Jack and slot games across numerous player stations. The innovative Simultaneous Betting functionality promises a new level of game engagement for players and offers the option to play up to three electronic live games at the same time.

The NOVOVISION casino management system revolutionises casino operations with an extensive range of features that go far beyond traditional accounting, jackpots, player tracking, cashless and TITO transactions. NOVOVISION also introduces biometric technologies for player recognition as well as access and payment solutions, setting new standards for the management of gaming operations.

Thomas Schmalzer, VP of Global Sales and VP of Product Management at NOVOMATIC AG, said: “As one of the most important trade shows for the Asian market, the G2E in Macao was an exceptional opportunity for NOVOMATIC to connect with our customers and expand our market presence. We are very pleased with our continuous growth in Asia and are proud to have presented a powerful portfolio of products and solutions at the trade show. We are looking forward to further strengthening our position as an industry leader using a specific product strategy and content tailored for the local markets.”

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Asia

PAGCOR CHIEF: BANNING IGLs COULD CAUSE BIGGER PROBLEMS

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation today said outlawing Internet Gaming Licensees or IGLs, previously called POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) could cause bigger problems since it would drive legitimate operators underground.

“If this happens, it would become harder for us to monitor them, and the number of illegal operators would grow and pose a bigger headache to our law enforcement authorities,” according to PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco.

“On top of these, the government will lose potential revenues of more than Php20 billion annually, without any guarantee that illegal activities will stop,” he said.

Mr. Tengco said it is very likely that when legitimate operators are banned, they will simply hide and vanish, bringing with them their gaming equipment like computers and machines and simply continue to operate without government monitoring and supervision.

“We have no guarantee that, once we ban the legitimate operators, they will simply close shop and return to their countries of origin where they are likely to face prosecution and jail, or worse,” he said.

“So they will just go underground here in the Philippines and continue operating,” the PAGCOR chief said. “Worse, they could join those who are engaged in illegal activities like scamming, hacking and other cybercrimes, which would cause bigger problems to us.”

“Once they are underground, we lose control over them,” Mr. Tengco said.

Despite this, the PAGCOR chief said the agency will respect whatever decision Congress will make on the issue.

“It is the prerogative of our lawmakers to outlaw IGLs, if they believe it will solve our problems.

“However, for us, the real problem are the criminal syndicates masquerading as POGOs. It is only through intensified law enforcement and the cooperation of all sectors that we would be able to address the problem of criminality,” Mr. Tengco said.

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