Mobile games publisher Nazara Technologies Ltd has acquired a 55% stake in NODWIN Gaming Pvt. Ltd, a gaming solutions company and creator of e-sports events, through a cash-and-stock deal. Post acquisition, NODWIN will become an independent subsidiary of Nazara.

Launched in 2014, NODWIN is an equal joint venture between founders Akshat Rathee and Gautam Virk, and Jetsynthesys Pvt. Ltd, a Pune-based firm which owns several digital media properties.

Both Jetsynthesys and NODWIN promoters have diluted their stake in the NODWIN as part of the deal, said Nazara chief executive officer Manish Agarwal. He declined to comment on financial details.

In February last year, Nazara announced its plans to launch eSports tournaments and committed to spending Rs 136 crore over five years to grow it as a separate business for the company.

NODWIN has exclusive partnerships with Electronics Sports League, Esports World Convention, among others, and manages gaming events such as the ESL India Premiership, KO Fight Nights, The Intel Extreme Masters qualifiers for India and Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) India Qualifiers.

With the acquisition, Nazara plans to create gaming tournaments in India, including localized content around global events (ESL One, ESL Pro League, Intel Extreme Masters, The International by Valve, etc) and expand on its partnership with publishers and advertisers.

Earlier this month Nazara Games had invested an undisclosed amount against a majority stake acquisition in a gaming and multimedia startup NextWave Multimedia.

What is eSports and how big is it?

The term eSports refers to competitive video gaming events which are often broadcast over digital platforms. eSports events are often monetized through sponsorship, advertising on broadcasts and in some cases charging viewers to watch live. Major gaming publishers like Electronic Arts and Activision-Blizzard have made a concerted push for eSports with their recent content.

Just to put things in context video game publisher Valve’s biggest eSports event called ‘The International’ in 2017 drew over 509 million viewers for the entire event, with over 10 million concurrent viewers at one point. The competition featured the publisher’s wildly popular game Dota 2 and had a prize pool of over $24 million.

Competition

There some other notable players in the eSports space. For instance, Paytm might be planning to develop games and publish them on Paytm, as its parent One97 signed a joint venture deal with an Alibaba Group owned unit to bring casual mobile and social games to Indian users. In June, Viaan Industries, a company promoted by businessman Raj Kundra and Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty signed an agreement with International Federation of Poker to launch app-based Match Indian Poker Leaque (MIPL) which will allow city-based teams to compete in the global professional match poker league. Other companies focused on the mobile gaming sector in India include GamingMonk, 99Games, Games2win, PlaySimple, amongst others.