With an eye on monetizing its portfolio of flash based online games on mobile devices, Alok Kejriwal’s Games2Win has raised a follow-on investment of $6 million from returning investors Clearstone Venture Partners and Silicon Valley Bank. The company has a portfolio of over 400 games, which it claims are played by 20 million unique users every month – 15-25% coming from the US, and 15-25% from the EU, and 30% is from BRIC markets – citing Comscore data, and has been focusing on a mix of Indian and international markets. Speaking with MediaNama, Kejriwal said that they’ll try and convert this portfolio of games into iPhone and Android games, and look for a switch in their model from advertising to consumer-pay. On current performance, Kejriwal said that piracy has helped distribution, which they’ve tried to monetize with Inviziads “We’ve used those games in a way that we’ve never spent on marketing. Piracy played a big part for us, with Inviziads. 10000 sites beyond our 3 sites – games2win.com, gangofgamers.com and chimpoo (for kids) have deployed our games.”
There were failures as well. Games2Win attempted to active on-ground gaming with “Temple of Seven”, a group of Indian games that they backed for taking part in on-ground events, but this failed to take off. They also failed in the Massively Multiplayer Online Game space, with a racing game. Taking an apparent pot-shot at Zapak, Kejriwal says that “MMOG in India is a bad idea, and anything do with cafes is a third class business model. It doesn’t scale. Forget us, in the world of gaming, it’s all scalable with browser based gaming. I consider iOS and Android as browser.” Kejriwal says that an India play in gaming cannot be profitable on its own. “I don’t see P&L focused businesses being built for gaming (in India), but a balance sheet business. We’re also pursuing the latter in India.”
Fund Raising,Plans & Business Performance
He does concede, though, that Games2Win itself isn’t profitable. “We’re not profitable, but we’re break even. We have our months of pain even now.” However, according to ROC data accessed by MediaNama, Games2Win reported a gross income of Rs. 3.73 crore in FY10, up year-on-year from Rs. 2.54 crore, but reported a loss for the year at Rs. 2.55 crore, down from Rs. 5.08 crore the previous year.
Kejriwal says that their big bet is on mobile, because with the launch of Android and the iPhone, and especially the success of Angry Birds, “Audiences are playing single player games. These aren’t even asynchronous multiplayer games like Farmville. We have figured out that our audiences are iTouch users. We’ve created our own network. For our Supermom, game we’ve got 2 million downloads. We’ve made a 99 cent version, and seen 20000 purchases. We’ll morph 100 (of the 400 games library) into iOS and Android quickly, and enable versioning.”
While the company will look at a free+premium model for iOS, for Android they’ll look at advertising. “I don’t expect payments on Android. Advertising will be powered by Admob ads.” And Kejriwal has news for the operator VAS ecosystem as well – “The biggest change that will happen,” he says, “is the demolition of the VAS ecosystem. We’re putting 22 titles on Android in India in 6 months, off deck.”
Kejriwal wouldn’t comment on how much equity has been sold, or how much money they had raised in the previous round, but as per filings with India’s Registrar of Companies, Clearstone Venture Partners picked up 51,236 preferential shares and Silicon Valley Bank picked up 5694 preferential shares at Rs. 3156 each. Clearstone also bought 100 ordinary shares, while SVB took 10.