From 15 million daily active users to 51 million daily active users during the lockdown period, Vikash Jaiswal, Co-founder and CEO of Gametion Technologies, has encountered tremendous success. He had to actually increase his server base from 8 to 200 to ensure that the platform works smoothly without crashes and lags.
Ludo King, the board game launched in 2016, appeared on the top charts on Google Play within three to four months of its debut on Android devices and hit the mark of 12 crore users by September 2017. Gaining the first-mover advantage, Jaiswal brought in multiplayer mode within six months of the launch of Ludo King and also simplified rules of the legacy version to enhance the gameplay and provide a distinct feel. Carrom King and Sudoku King are two other games from the Gametion Technologies platform.
Ludo King became one of the top five most installed mobile games worldwide in April 2020 and will soon touch 500 million downloads on Google Playstore.
Q] What does your revenue model look like?
Since the last four years, we have mainly been dependent on advertising revenue. Since the past year-and-a-half, we have started working towards In-App Purchase (IAP) revenue. Our game has been in the market since four years and hence its economy, the coins and the diamonds, are bloated. We are correcting that. We are introducing many more features like new currencies or new features in old currencies which will bring in more engagement in the game and with that we plan to increase our IAP revenue. During the lockdown, Ludo King was the top grossing game/app in India. You will find us in top 10-12. Now, with lockdown easing off and people getting back to work, the ranking is obviously decreasing.
Q] What is the proportion of your advertising and in-app purchase revenue? How did that change during lockdown?
The proportion for advertising and IAP revenue earlier was 80% and 20%, respectively. However we made changes in our strategy for the game in the last two-three months. For example, we introduced small packs in the game with Rs 10 in-app purchase. Post that, our IAP revenues increased. Now the proportion is 60% and 40% respectively for advertising and IAP revenues.
Q] What are the other strategic changes that you plan to introduce in Ludo King?
Very soon, we plan to introduce audio chat in the game, also a special mode for five to six players. There are also many other engagement features that we plan to introduce in our forthcoming updates.
Q] Apart from Ludo King, other games from Gametion like Carrom and Sudoku are also quite popular…
Carrom King is doing very well. In our last update of the game, we introduced a few changes, post which the revenues have increased 10 times in the last two-three months. The Sudoku King game is not for everyone. Only those people who like to play puzzle games or those who have played Sudoku earlier play that game. Its market is across the globe, while Ludo and Carrom are primarily played in Asian countries.
Q] How much of your revenue comes from Indian users and how much from outside of India?
It is about 50-50. About 70%-80% of the players are from India but with respect to revenue, effective Cost Per Mile (eCPM) changes outside India. So 50% revenue comes from India and 50% from outside of India like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Germany, US and UK.
Q] Do you plan to introduce more games that appeal to the global audience?
Yes, we are working on three to four games that are massively played across the globe. It’s not like a Sudoku game. We will launch them sequentially in the next two to three months.
Q] How do you monetize Carrom and Sudoku? Is it the same way as Ludo King?
Carrom is a game that is not based on luck. It is a strategy game, which gives us an option to introduce cosmetics or IAP-based features that can add power to the player. For example, striking power or angle power, etc. Right now, we are working on only bringing about cosmetic changes in the game. We will release updates gradually in Carrom King. Sudoku is not IAP-based. It can be monetized only on the basis of advertising revenue. Maximum that we can do in terms of IAP revenue is introducing the low ads feature. Apart from that, we need to work on certain things, like offering music during the game or selling hints, etc.
Q] Are there any new verticals or advertisers that you saw coming in during the last two-three months?
Frankly speaking, we are not looking for more advertisers on the game. We have tied up with around five to six certified ad networks and we don’t plan to add more networks as it may hamper the performance of the game. For example, one day the crash rate increased; we realized it was because of one of our advertisers. So we carefully choose our advertising networks.
Q] So, you cannot go beyond a certain level in terms of advertising revenue?
Advertising revenue for us remains constant. It is the IAP that changes with daily active users. In terms of increasing advertising revenues, Facebook is an awesome network. We use open bidding in our game for the networks.
Q] Can you give the exact number of players and installs that you have gained for your games so far?
Our daily active users before the lockdown were around 14 to 15 million daily. During the lockdown, it touched 51 million. And now that the lockdown is easing, the numbers are obviously rationalizing. I think we had more than three times of the traffic that we otherwise have on our games during the lockdown. Additionally, no other game in India has crossed the 100 million mark in terms of total downloads. Today, we crossed 400 million downloads on Google Play along and very soon we will touch 500 million.
Q] How do you see the overall gaming scenario in the country? What do you think about other gaming platforms/apps in the country?
I think five to six other gaming companies are doing good work, specifically Games2win. This is a good time for Indian gaming developers and the industry to try out new ideas and games because this lockdown-like situation is likely to remain for six more months. So the audience is there, one just needs to attempt new ideas with games.