I am from Pune. Praising someone doesn’t come naturally to me. By the way, the first and the second line had no connection. I did not use “And hence…” or “So”. So don’t jump to conclusion about Punekars based on my second line.

“Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity” said Samuel Johnson. So I praise sparingly 🙂

The reason I am writing this blog is my recent banter with a friend who quote a possible Government decision on direct fertilizer subsidy a “game changer” (the Government would deposit fertilizer subsidy amount in the bank accounts of farmers directly). We got into not-so-healthy debate on use of word “game changer”. Here is my point.

We use the word “Game Changer” too loosely and the word has lost the importance or significance. This has been the case since many years; however, of late the deterioration in value has really accelerated. Here are few headlines I compiled:



Crackdown on black money: Is Govt’s bold decision a real game-changer?

Anti-corruption game-changer


GST, currency change to be game changers for economy: Jaitley

GST – A game changer for Indian economy

GST won’t be a game-changer, only a name changer

Creation of New Districts in Manipur State:

Creation of new districts could be game-changer in Manipur polls

Cash Transfers/Direct Benefit Transfers:

Cash transfers, a potential game-changer

Liberalization of FDI:

Liberalization of FDI – A game changer for the Indian Economy

Aviation Policy:

‘Game changer aviation policy’: Airlines, flyers to get fare deal now


Aadhaar-based payments will be a game changer in digital banking

Jan Dhan Yojana:

Jan Dhan Yojana is a game changer, says YES Bank’s Radha Singh

Make In India:

Make in India theme is a game-changer for economy: Baba Kalyani

Surgical Strikes Against Pakistan:

Surgical Strikes – Game changer

National Health Insurance Scheme:

PM National Health Insurance scheme will be a game changer

How many more Game Changers? Is Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a game changer. Is India’s win in World Cup Cricket a game changer? Is India’s first individual Gold/Silver/Bronze Medal a game changer? An Indian composer winning 2 Academy Awards (Oscars) – is that a game changer?

Is Game Changer the only word we have to describe significant things?

How about “path breaking” (movie) or “trend setter” (person) or a “milestone” (event/achievement) or a “landmark” (decision). Or other such adjectives?

I looked up the Oxford Dictionary for meaning of Game Changer:


I think every decision or event has (or supposed to have) some influence and causes some change. Merely because of that it should not be called a game changer. The key point is “significant shift in current way of doing or thinking”.

Let me try to explain how I see it.

Invention of electricity, as a form of energy, was a game changer. Invention of a more power efficient variant of a light bulb (which saves say 30% power) is not a game changer. It is a significant improvement, or a milestone. But it is not a game changer.

Wait. Even the improved light bulb can be a game changer – for an ailing company that manufactures some outdated bulbs and that comes up with this R&D breakthrough which changes fortune of that company.

So it is contextual. Baba Kalyani saying that “Make in India is a game changer” should be taken in context. For his business the initiative opened up lucrative opportunities and hence it could be a game changer for him. But not for a tea stall owner in some remote Indian village.

However, the analysts and observers are too eager to term everything as a “game changer”. I wonder if they ever keep track of what happened to previous game changers. In short Game Changer is equivalent of “Breaking News” for media journalists.

And the obsession is not just India-specific phenomenon. Check this:

Why President Trump Could Be a Game-Changer for Stocks

So what’s your favorite Game Changer?

My favorites is the following:

Successful implementation of schemes to be a game changer: Arun Jaitley

What a revelation! So mere announcements won’t change the game. Implementation will. That’s something new and not very convenient…