Kwalee, UK-based game developer and publisher, is all set to pump $30 million investment in its India operations over the next five years. The Leamington Spa-headquartered firm chose Bengaluru as its first overseas studio in May 2020 which currently employs 50 people including game developers, graphic designers and programmers. The company is planning significant expansion and will add manpower. across disciplines.
Gaming industry veteran and founder & CEO of Kwalee David Darling believes India is going to drive growth globally for video gaming industry especially on the mobile platform. India has already become Kwalee’s biggest market by downloads registering around five million monthly active players across its games.
“India has become our largest market in terms of downloads followed by US, UK and China. Our immediate goal is to grow our India studio hiring the right kind of talent. We are looking to recruit people across skill sets including programmers, full stack developers, data scientists, 3D artists, creative video editors as well as direct performance marketing executives who will look at advertising for gaming titles,” said Darling.
Currently, the India team has already contributed to the development of games such as BladeBlade Forge 3D (which received over 20 million downloads), Teacher Simulator (over 25 million) and Let’s Be Cops 3D (over 21 million). Kwalee Bengaluru team members have also been involved in updating classic titles like Draw It (90 million downloads).
Kwalee claims to have over 600 million downloads on mobile platforms with games such as Teacher Simulator, Draw it, Bake it, Shootout 3D, Rocket Sky! and Line Up: Draw the Criminal.
“We focus on hypercasual games which do not require skills or instructions. They can be played while one is commuting or taking a small break for ten minutes or so,” said Darling.
Unlike other game formats, hypercasual games are easy to play, have a simple user interface, and are easily downloadable for free. In India, hypercasual games such as Candy Crush, Ludo, and Rummy have already attracted audiences across all demographics. Kwalee is riding on the growing popularity of this segment. Majority of Kwalee’s current revenue (90%) comes from in-app advertising, however it is working to increase the share of in-app purchases.
“For that, we are starting to build games for more serious gaming audiences who play on personal computers and gaming consoles. This segment is willing to shell out money for in-app purchases,” Darling said.
Increasing foreign investment aligns with growing popularity of video gaming market in India. To be sure, India is one of the top five mobile gaming markets in the world, with 13% share of global game sessions, and is expected to add 40 million online gamers during 2020−22. The size of online gaming in India is expected to touch $2.8 bn by 2022, said Deloitte.
The increasing popularity of casual games are also giving marketers can option to target engaged audience by advertising on video games. “ “In India, the in-app purchases are disproportionately low therefore advertising becomes an economic way for players to go ahead in the game. They prefer watching an ad to win coins and go to the next level in the game. We have found that such ad formats have a highly positive brand association,” said Rohit Sharma, co-founder and CEO at mobile video advertising platform Pokkt.