December marked the end of what has been a year of mixed emotions for the Indian esports sector. From limitations caused by the pandemic to uncertainties with the PUBG Mobile ban, companies in India are now gearing towards expanding their portfolios and being less dependent on publishers.
These are the biggest esports business stories in India for the month of December, in collaboration with AFK Gaming.
Team Vitality establishes Indian presence with four signings
French esports organisation, Team Vitality formalised their presence in India with the signing of four content creators from the country. The organisation also announced Mumbai as its base of operations and revealed Randall Fernandez, formerly of Sony Playstation, as the General Manager of the India Division.
You can read more about Team Vitality and their plans in India here.
Activision Blizzard and Pocket Aces’ Loco partner to host India’s biggest Call of Duty Mobile Tournament
Indian live streaming and esports platform, Pocket Aces’ Loco announced a partnership with Activision Blizzard to host the nation’s biggest Call of Duty: Mobile event. The prize pool for the IP – Call of Duty Mobile India Cup was set at INR 3.5m (~£35,200). This solidifies Loco’s push for establishing themselves as an esports and game streaming platform, with past content deals including ones with Red Bull, NBA2K League and a variety of popular Indian content creators.
Gaming start-up EWar raises Pre-Series A funding round from Inflection Point Ventures
Bengaluru-based gaming and esports start-up, EWar Games has raised a Pre-Series A funding round led by Inflection Point Ventures (IPV), JITO Angel Network, Hyderabad Angels. Moreover, Ms. Pearl Agarwal, the Founder & Director, Eximius Ventures participated in the round in a personal capacity. The exact amount is undisclosed.
The funds raised will be utilised to drive further penetration into the Indian esports industry by introducing several new technologies and products. Apart from marketing and growing the franchise and its platform, EWar is also developing a layer over its existing esports products in an attempt to make the sector more competitive and increase external viewership.
This is the second round of funding raised by EWar during 2020. The company previously raised $200,000( ~£147,200) from House of Jindals and Mr. Jeet Banerjee, the Founder of Gameplan.
Krafton assembles PUBG Mobile India operations team
While PUBG Mobile continues to remain banned in India, Krafton has begun to set up operations in order to prepare for a smooth launch once government approval is met. After appointing former Tencent Business Head of South Asia, Aneesh Aravind as the Country Manager, Krafton also acquired other roles from Tencent to help with the transition. These include Akash Jumde as the Visual Content Designer, Piyush Agarwal as Finance Manager, Arpita Priyadarshini as Senior Community Manager and Karan Pathak as Senior Esports Manager.
AFK Gaming is an India-based esports media and content company that aims to provide quality and consistent coverage about teams, players, tournaments and competitive video games with a primary focus on the Asian region.
Published at Tue, 05 Jan 2021 16:17:32 +0000
When it comes to an ‘esports experience’, the mobile gaming market already offers far more than one might expect.
It’s a part of the industry that has seen unprecedented growth over the last few years. Titles such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang or Garena Free Fire are reaching exceptional numbers in terms of both viewership and player base, and the enormous prize pools in PUBG MOBILE’s esports circuit are enviable by almost all established titles and scenes. Furthermore, the skyrocketing popularity of newly released mobile titles, such as Riot’s League of Legends: Wild Rift, indicates that mobile gaming looks to continue developing in the near future too.
Evidently, there is a market opportunity here, for both existing and growing audiences worldwide. As a result Gamerpro, a mobile-only platform where gamers compete against each other to compete for real money prizes, was created. Players are required to top-up and deposit real money before playing. After games are completed and the victors are determined, winners can quickly and easily make withdrawals.
Because the application only works with mobile games, that are both skill-based and have a PvP gameplay mode, it is positioned as more of a casual alternative to professional esports, allowing players to back themselves only, and earn money from mobile gaming.
Moreover, Gamerpro partners with a variety of mobile game publishers to connect the platform with their games, thereby creating a new revenue stream thanks to the firm’s revenue share model.
Speaking to Esports Insider, Gary Sonyak, the CEO of Gamerpro, outlined the firm’s ambition: “Our vision is opening up the esports industry as a new revenue stream for mobile game publishers whose technological foundations are already in the alpha phase.”
The London based company launched its services in 2018, however, Gamerpro initially focused on sports-based console games. A couple of months later, the firm introduced its first mobile title to the platform, Clash Royale, and it was that decision which started the application’s rapid growth.
With games like PUBG Mobile or Wild Rift being specifically built towards mobile platforms, the mobile gaming scene has exploded in recent years. Aligned with the general rising interest in its esports scene, the company’s decision to introduce a mobile title resulted in significant growth, tripling all of Gamerpro’s metrics the day of Clash Royale’s implementation.
According to Sonyak, it was at this point that the company understood the power of the mobile gaming market. He said: “It was a significant milestone and largely what started us off on the path to focusing only on mobile games.”
In early 2019, a new version of Gamerpro, specifically optimised for mobile games, was released. The platform’s numbers in 2019 have seen 500,000 application installs, $1m (~ £739,000) in transaction volume and paying users spanning across 160 countries, confirming that this focus shift was the right move for the company. “These numbers were evidence of our belief that there is significant demand out there for the Gamerpro service,” shared Sonyak.
However, despite its rise in demand, one piece in the puzzle was still missing. “During this period, the user journey had several manual steps, since we did not have any direct contact with game publishers,” he noted.
Starting off 2020, the team developed a business model that would allow the platform to integrate mobile games which are both skill-based and have a PvP gameplay mode, offering mobile game publishers a new revenue stream via its competitive P2P service. Even though an awareness drive, via outreach to the publishers, had to be postponed due to the global pandemic, the initial interest in Gamerpro’s service was considerable.
“Thanks to social distancing, the demand for PvP mode has increased significantly in mobile games,” said Sonyak. “The timing of the outreach in the summer was perfect, since we created a new revenue stream for the mobile gaming industry, focused on integrating our esports service. We signed LOIs with the selected early adopters after just four weeks.”
To further accelerate and fast track its development, Gamerpro is soon launching a campaign on Seedrs. The equity crowdfunding round opens on January 11th and will go on until February 2021. Explaining the company’s decision to opt for the crowdfunding route, Sonyak emphasised the importance of community.
He explained: “We’ve long understood how the community is vital for gaming companies, that’s why we’ve decided to go all-in and offer mobile gamers and publishers a seat at the table. We will be part-owned by our players, as we look to stay true to our message: ‘Make Every Game Count’.
“It was along with this idea that we chose Seedrs, through which we can keep the acquisition process within a regulated framework and international standards.”
According to Sonyak, taking part in the second edition of ESI’s pitch investment competition The Clutch back in May 2020 also helped with setting up company’s investment plans: “The Clutch was a great opportunity to map out the challenges that we face in the new circumstances caused by COVID. There’s no doubt the pandemic is changing the entire global economy, not only industries.
“That being said, the gaming industry has come to the fore and the investment landscape is evolving positively. We believe that collaboration will be the new key to success.“
Gamerpro plans to use the finances it raises to accelerate the firm’s application programming interface (API) development, as well as expand the partner processing team and optimise its skill-based matchmaking systems.
“Collaborating with several mobile game publishers will ensure us more knowledge about the needs of both publishers and gamers in this new concept,” said Sonyak. “Moreover, it will help us further develop our thin API connection.
“Based on our current market research, social distancing accelerates multiplayer mobile gaming. That’s why we will continue to focus on mobile games which are both skill-based and have PvP game modes. We will make every game count!”
Gamerpro looks to firmly plant itself into the mobile esports ecosystem and its crowdfunding venture will not only help the company in terms of investment, but it will also highlight to the company if there is a need for its mobile platform. However, given Gamerpro’s early success in the space, it seems that the desire for this casual competition platform is already apparent.
Alongside the growth of mobile esports, Gamerpro’s Seedrs campaign could continue the string of successes that crowdfunding has given to other entities such as Fnatic and esports jobs platform Hitmarker.
Published at Tue, 05 Jan 2021 14:30:27 +0000