In an open letter to the finance minister, the online community of players voiced their concerns about the recent decision to impose 28% GST on online games. Voicing their opinion, the player’s community commended PM Modi’s vision of promoting gaming and showcasing India's skills on the global stage. However, with the GST Council’s decision on taxation, the letter discusses the biggest risk that will force players to play on off-shore platforms leaving them vulnerable to abuse, especially against minors.
Aligning themselves with the IT rules and guidelines, the e-gamers shared their inclination and preference towards playing on Indian platforms as they provide safeguards against any kind of mistreatment and ensure underage gaming is not promoted as only 18+ are allowed to play. Many believe that the gaming companies may be unable to absorb the tax burden, which may also induce many unassuming and innocent players to seek offshore platforms to continue playing further raising the safety concerns.
Additionally, the letter discusses that the community pursue online gaming as a source of livelihood and for many this is the only source of income as well. Levying such high taxes will not only burden them but will also be a loss of their only source of earning and an added pressure of finding alternate profession.
To put it in simple words the entry cost for the e-players is 28 rupees per 100, compared to the previous rate of 1.8, rendering online gaming financially burdensome and entirely unattractive as a source of entertainment or livelihood. With 421 million active online gaming users in the country, it is only fair that their opinions are heard and taken into consideration.
Furthermore, e-gamers argue that it is crucial to recognize that online gaming encompasses various activities, each with varying degrees of competitiveness and skill levels. Categorizing all forms of online gaming under a single tax bracket fails to acknowledge the distinct differences in skill, expertise, and the diverse nature of these gaming activities.
The letter concludes humbly with a request to reconsider the recent announcement and adopt a more balanced decision, creating a harmonized and balanced framework where user interest remains paramount.