India’s online gaming market is expected to reach $1 billion by 2021 and the number of people playing online games is set to cross 300 million. As affordable internet connects people from tier 2 and tier 3 cities through their smartphones, we can expect a lot of casual and social gamers joining the online mobile gaming market over the coming years.
Let’s take a look at top 10 casual mobile gaming startups in India:
Founded by Nitish Mittersain in 1999, Nazara Technologies is a Mumbai-based gaming company operating across multiple segments like subscription, freemium, e-sports and skill-based gaming in 64 countries.
Apart from creating sports-based games, the company has also developed games for kids based on popular cartoon characters like Chota Bheem and Motu Patlu. Nazara Technologies has acquired companies like NODWIN Gaming to enter e-sports segment, Sportskeeda to provide sports media content and Next Wave Multimedia to strengthen its game development segment.
It has more than 100 million active users on its platform across different networks. Thanks to Nazara’s diversified gaming approach, it has emerged as one of the best gaming companies in India and is also generating profit for the last ten years. Nazara has already raised $64.3 million from its investors and is preparing to go public.
Paytm First Games
Launched in 2018 as a joint venture between Paytm and Alibaba’s AGTech Holdings, Paytm First Games was previously known as Gamepind. It offers more than 300 games across multiple genres including casual, social and skill-based games, catering to a wide range of gamers. The company has managed to onboard 45 million players on its platform and has also partnered with Esports Players League to enter the booming esports gaming market in India. Till date, Paytm First Games has raised a total of $20 million in the two years to fuel its growth.
Bengaluru-based mobile gaming startup Moonfrog Labs was founded by former Zynga colleagues Tanay Tayal, Ankit Jain, Kumar Puspesh and Dimple Kumar in 2013.
The startup entered the online gaming market with the launch of its popular card-based game Teen Patti Gold. The game became an instant hit garnering more than 20 million downloads across Android and iOS platforms. The company went on to launch India’s first narrative adventure game based on Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt and also the country’s first war strategy game based on popular Indian movie Baahubali: The Game. Till date, Moonfrog has raised $16 million from Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital.
Zapak was started in 2006 as an online gaming platform that enabled users to play games directly through their internet browsers. With more than 10 million users, it soon emerged as one of the leading online gaming platforms in the country.
However, the company saw another opportunity as mobile gaming started to pick up pace in India. It launched popular games for children like Little Singham, Little Ram and Little Krishna for both Android and IOS platforms. The company also partnered with Cartoon Network to target a global audience by launching popular cartoon-based games like Ben 10 Alien Run. Owned by the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, Zapak has raised $15 million to fund its growth in the mobile gaming segment.
Udupi-based game development company 99Games was founded by Rohith Bhat in 2008. It started by developing casual games for iPhones and later expanded to other mobile platforms like Windows and Android. The company’s first game WordsWorth went on to become a hit among 1 million apple users.
After developing games for the global market, the company got an opportunity to develop a movie-based game for one of the popular Bollywood movies Dhoom 3 in 2013. The massive success of the game gave them the opportunity to develop a couple more movie-based games like FAN and Sultan. Expanding its gaming portfolio, the company has published over 20 game titles garnering more than 70 million downloads.
Game development company JetSynthesys was started by Rajan Navani in 2014. JestSynthesys is a part of the Jet Line Group that operates across multiple verticals including fintech, travel, gaming and digital media. The company is popularizing mobile gaming in India by introducing a celebrity-based gaming experience. Some of their popular celebrity-based games include Sachin Saga Cricket Champions, Being Salman, and Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Apart from mobile gaming, the company is also leading VR gaming in India by launching the VR version of their popular game Sachin Saga Cricket Champions. The company is focused on creating digital products for enriching the lives of 1.3 billion Indians and they have already raised $15 million from investors like Kris Gopalakrishnan.
Vernacular social gaming platform Mech Mocha was started by Arpita Kapoor and Mohit Rangaraju in 2015 with the vision of providing a gaming platform for the next generation of users that are coming online for the first time from tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
Their mobile gaming app Hello Play offers a host of different games like ludo, carom, cricket and knife rain. The app also allows the users to interact with each other through its in-game video and voice chat option, making the game truly social and enhancing users gaming experience. The early success of their platform grabbed the attention of investors like Accel, Shunwei Capital and Blume Ventures who have invested nearly $10 million in the company.
Casual mobile gaming startup PlaySimple Games was founded by former Zynga employees Siddhanth Jain, Suraj Nalin and Preeti Reddy in 2014.
It offers simple word games for users to play with family and friends. They started with an emoji guessing game called GuessUp and soon expanded their word games portfolio to include games like Word Wars, Word Trek, Word Trip and Crossword Jam. The company has raised $4.6 million from investors like Chiratae Ventures and SAIF Partners to fuel their growth.
Cross-platform gaming startup Hashcube was started as a simple website to let its users play Sudoku online in 2008 has now transformed into one of the few casual gaming startups in the country.
Founded by Deepan Chakravarthy and Ramprasad Rajendra, Hashcube offers simple and fun to play games like Sudoku Quest, Gummy Pop and DotGame. These games are available for the users on IOS App Store, Google Play app or on Facebook. Sudoku Quest is one of its most successful games with over 3 million users across platforms. PlaySimple Games has raised $684.2K from investors like Blume Ventures, Nazara Technologies, ah! Ventures and the Indian Angel Network.
Mobile gaming startup Rolocule was started by Rohit Gupta in 2010. After interning as a Software Engineer at EA Sports in the US, Rohit returned to India to start Rolocule with 1 lakh rupees ($2,000) that he received from his father to validate his idea.
The company started its operations in Pune and has built award-winning games like Flick Tennis, Dead Among Us, Bowling Central 2 and Motion Tennis that are played by millions of users in more than 110 countries. They have also pioneered the rolomotion technology that allows the users to play motion gesture games like Motion Tennis and Dance Party using just their iPhones on their Apple TV. So far, Rolocule has managed to raise $589.7K from Blume Ventures, Artha India Ventures and Mumbai Angels.