Skill gaming company OpenPlay is now gearing up to join the “Friends of Nazara Network.” This is after Indian tech giant Nazara Technologies acquired a 100 percent stake in the Hyderabad-based company for a total consideration of Rs. 186.4 crore.
OpenPlay brings ‘skill gaming destinations’ to Nazara
Considered to be one of the fastest skill gaming companies in India, OpenPlay operates a multi-game gaming platform under its “Classic Games” brand, which hosts popular skill-based games including fantasy sports, quiz, and rummy. The Hyderabad company, led by serial entrepreneur Sreeram Reddy Vanga, has an annualized gross gaming revenue runrate of Rs. 80 crore and “is operating on EBITDA positive margins.”
Nazara CEO Manish Agarwal said the acquisition will allow Nazara “to build a network of skill gaming destinations operating on one common tech platform under the proven leadership of Sreeram and his team at OpenPlay.”
The acquisition will see OpenPlay joining the “Friends of Nazara” network of gaming companies in which Nazara holds majority stakes, including Nodwin Gaming and Sportskeeds in Esports Next Wave Multimedia, and Paper Boat Apps. OpenPlay marks the second acquisition for Nazara in the skill-based real money vertical following the purchase of Halaplay in 2019.
“I’m excited to join the ‘Friends of Nazara Network’ and look forward to working closely with Nazara leadership and the Network to build India’s largest vernacular social gaming and entertainment platform. Our technology complemented by Nazara’s positioning in the gaming industry in India is the perfect combination for this endeavour,” Vanga said in a statement.
Nazara bets on skill games
The Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed company known for its array of much-loved mobile games like World Cricket Championship, has reported growth in all of its segments particularly real money gaming category, which grew 67 percent from Rs. 42.6 crore to Rs. 13.9 crore in financial year 2021.
Real money gaming makes up 2-3 percent of Nazara’s overall revenue, as it starts to make its own play towards building a business in the real-money gaming vertical. In addition to embracing the popularity of real-time games, the company is also keeping in mind the developments happening at many online casinos and gambling games like blackjack for real money for its own product offerings. These include real-time games, although it’s worth noting that online blackjack games are considered a game of chance in the country.
The recent acquisitions show that Nazara is confident that its verticals, particularly mobile gaming, will continue to drive profitable growth. And that’s not surprising, especially since India is a mobile-first market—already amplified by the mass availability of low-cost mobile devices complemented with high-speed internet penetration and affordable data plans. In fact, India is now at the top spot worldwide when it comes to mobile game downloads—with 7.3 billion installs or 17 percent market share of install volume.
In an interview with Mint, Agarwal said, “There was uncertainty in the regulatory landscape for real-money and skill gaming, but some positives are emerging along with clarity. This is also giving us the confidence to look at this segment and build a sizeable real-money gaming business. We are very confident of the strong product innovation which OpenPlay brings to the table, and will look to scale our skill and real-money gaming business with this acquisition.”