Mumbai-based mobile gaming studio Nazara Technologies has acquired a majority stake in NextWave Multimedia. With the acquisition of NextWave, Nazara strengthens its portfolio of offerings in the virtual interactive sports genre in India and other emerging markets.
The NextWave acquisition comes after Nazara’s investments in startups such as MasterMind Sports, Truly Social, Moong Labs and more recently HalaPlay. Back in 2014, Nazara also participated in a $654.5K (INR 4.2 Cr) Series A funding round of Bengaluru-based gaming startup HashCube.
The Synergy Between Nazara Technologies And NextWave
As CEO of Nazara Games, Manish Agarwal said, “Nazara has been on the lookout for gaming companies which have established strong leadership in the sports genre. NextWave offers a strong promise of dominating the space globally with its massive large fan base of over approx. 15 Mn monthly active users (as of November 2017) and very strong product offering.”
NextWave, a Chennai based mobile gaming company, basically focuses on developing casual and multi-player mobile games in sports genre with over 100 Mn downloads in the last 7 years. NextWave owns the IP of the most popular mobile cricket game in India – World Cricket Championship (WCC).
As claimed by the company, in 2017, WCC2 made it to Google Play’s ‘Editor’s Choice’. The game also made it to the best games and apps for the yearly listing consecutively for 2015, 2016 and 2017 on Google Play. The game engine has huge feature sets which will form a strong base for building future versions of the game currently under development.
The popularity of WCC franchise offers Nazara an ideal platform for ushering in VR Arcades (virtual reality) and launching m-sports around cricket in India. Nazara’s partnership with strong cricket IPs like Virat Kohli and Royal Challengers Bengaluru will further help NextWave augment the brand WCC among Indians worldwide.
P.R Rajendran, CEO, Nextwave further added, “The complementary skill sets of NextWave and Nazara and the synergy in between is sure to accelerate the growth of Nextwave in coming years. Nazara’s expertise in creating scalable and profitable business models around consumer transactions globally will give us the needed impetus to grow along with them.”
Nazara Technologies: Road Ahead For The Mobile Gaming Platform
Founded in 2000 by Nitish Mittersain, Nazara Technologies is a mobile games developer and publisher that provides unique services such as “Games Club.” It also serves as an exclusive distributor for key game developers such as Electronic Arts. Apart from Mumbai, the company has offices in Dubai, London, Africa and Singapore and has its operations in 61 countries across emerging markets.
In India, Nazara has licensed mobile gaming rights to popular IP’s like Virat Kohli, Hrithik Roshan, Chhota Bheem, among others. The company also partnered with local and global mobile game developers like Stick Sports to create entertaining mobile games around physical sports.
In a segment that witnesses intense competition from a fast-expanding crop of startups, Nazara Technologies has been profitable for nearly a decade. In FY17, the company raked in over $86 Mn (INR 550 Cr) in revenue and more than $10.3 Mn (INR 66 Cr) in profits.
The company recently raised about $51.1 Mn in a funding round led by IIFL Special Opportunities Fund. In September 2017, the company had revealed plans to offer an IPO towards the end of FY18 for $156.5 Mn.
At present, Nazara is working to capture the mobile gaming market in India, Africa, and a few Middle Eastern nations. Talking about the company’s plans for the future, Mittersain told Inc42 in an earlier statement, “Nazara has invested over 15 years in building a very strong foundation to be a leader in digital entertainment / gaming space in India and we look forward to continuing down this path and emerging as a leader in this category across emerging markets reaching out to the next 2 Bn consumers.”
Other startups operating in the mobile gaming domain include PlaySimple, Flixy Games, GameXS, RedMonsterGames and more.
The Indian mobile gaming industry is currently burgeoning with a plethora of opportunities. The factors driving this growth include increased access to low-cost 4G smartphones, low data costs and increased access of children to mobiles and wireless gadgets. As per data available, India accounts for around 13% of the world’s online mobile gaming population. Further, according to a report by Flurry Analytics, India currently ranks among the top five countries in the world for online and mobile gaming. Also, as per a Google KPMG report released in May 2017, the online gaming industry in India is poised to reach $1 Tn by 2021.
Although research shows that mobile gaming revenue lies on a bit higher side than PC or Mac gaming, the Indian mobile gaming companies have been seen struggling so far. However, Nazara Technologies is an exception here. With plans to go public, and over $51 Mn in its kitty, the company is already infusing its resources to acquire talent, and brands like NextWave as well as strengthen its foothold in India and other countries across the globe. With the onset of 2018, what other strategies Nazara will unfold this year, will be worth watching.