India is witnessing the biggest revolution of all times smartphone user base has already surpassed the 400 million mark and is projected to be 700 million by 2022. It was in late 2017, we identified that a lot was happening in the online gaming sector in India, and there was massive potential, in form of foray of audience from Tier 2/ Tier 3 cities on mobile phones for the first time. Therefore, we decided to bring a unique and stable monetization model for the casual gaming genre in India. Our key motive was to develop a Tier2/T3 audience focused product and to introduce them to the digital grid, where they make their first entertainment transaction.
India’s gaming industry is witnessing a reasonable upsurge and has become one of the most exciting areas of development in the Indian startup ecosystem. With 300 million people coming on smartphones for the first time ever, this number is only increasing, making it the most lucrative market in the world. This super diverse audience of Bharat, coming mostly from T2/T3 cities on smartphones, is using this device as a replacement of TV, Laptops, Tabs etc. The time spent by these users consuming videos or playing games on their devices is more than the time spent on prime time of national television channels. However, if you look at a product that gave solutions for entertainment and monetization of the time spent by these users, there was a clear white space, as one won’t find a single product solving all these aspects.
We are building a Social gaming platform for the vernacular audience and we look forward to asserting our position as the largest brand for gaming and entertainment in India. Today, WinZO is a pioneer in the industry, with 5 million+ players; it is one of the fastest growing players in the industry!
What makes WinZO different from other platforms in the same category?
WinZO has been the pioneer in the E-sports industry in India. WinZO is currently offered in 8 languages: English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bangla, Gujarati and Marathi. We have spent a lot of time working closely with this target group building a product for them and we understand the behaviour of the users in this segment very well. For example, average time spent by paid players on the platform is 50 mins and overall time spent on the platform on an average is 30 mins, more than time spent on any national channel in the country. This itself is the testament of our continuous effort to build a great product. We are the first player that ever took this stance and started providing innovative solutions for this audience.
How many users does WinZO have in India?
WinZO Games currently has 5 million+ users and is aiming to clock 50 million install base by the end of the year, becoming one of the fastest growing players in the industry! Kalaari Capital doubled down its bet by a Series A funding in WinZO for this promising space and aggressive growth plan. WinZO is now committed to expand our user base in India and create a much-localized experience for the audience that is coming on the digital grid for the first time. The company is also looking at a possible expansion in SAARC nations, South-east Asian, and African countries by early 2020. The app is already present in 8 languages and there is an immediate plan to add eight more languages in the app including Punjabi, Malayalam, Bhojpuri, Urdu, Rajasthani, and Haryanvi.
When it comes to actual paying user, that is the proof of the pudding for real money gaming, our percentage of paid users on WinZO is more than any other platform, including the OTT Giants such as Hotstar, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.
What are the current challenges and opportunities in the gaming industry in India?
We foresee more opportunities than challenges in the mobile gaming industry in India today. According to a recent report by PwC – India is the fastest growing entertainment and media market globally and is expected to grow significantly considering the growing penetration of smartphones and affordable & stable internet services. Apart from OTT, the other fast-growing segments will be video games and esports and Internet advertising that will notch up rates of 18.89% and 17.75% to touch Rs. 17,891 crore and Rs. 18,446 crore respectively, according to a PwC Report on Global media and Entertainment. India is steadily moving towards value driven consumption, with increased focus on local development. Earlier the challenges were restricted to limited local content and game development and stable monetization model; however, with WinZO we are solving the issues and providing an all in one entertainment app, localized for Indian users.
Future plans? How do you plan to scale WinZO Games?
With data rates in India cheapest across the globe and affordable Smartphone market growing, India is poised to witness a large chunk of its population shift towards smart phones. 750 million users are going to join the Smartphone bandwagon by 2020, says a consulting report. All these people are expected to consume the content. Video and Gaming are the two biggest entertainment channels for the Smartphone users.
We are creating a multi-billion-dollar market. In the coming months and years, we would be responsible to create a lot of awareness, educate users, and help them adopt our platform as the #1 option for entertainment. And here we are talking about doing it at a very massive scale to the tune of 500 million people just in India.
The goal of the company is to reach every household, which is definitely going to be very challenging. It would need a reasonable amount of capital as well as best talent of the country that would go into building the most amazing entertainment platform for Bharat.