'Krafton-Nodwin deal is global and not limited to India'

Nodwin Gaming CEO Siddharth Kedia and Co-Founder & MD Akshat Rathee talk about the company's plans to scale up post PUBG creator Krafton's recent equity investment in the esport firm

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Mar 10, 2021 9:01 AM  | 3 min read

Armed with Rs 164 crore equity investment from South Korean gaming firm and PUBG creator Krafton, esports firm Nodwin Gaming is all set to embark on its next phase of growth. With Krafton picking up a minority stake in Nodwin, Nazara Technology's stake in the company will get diluted. However, Nazara will continue to own a stake in excess of 50% in the company which has strategic partnerships with publishers and partners like ESL, Valve, Krafton, Tencent, Riot, and Blizzard.

The company intends to channelise these funds to accelerate the development of esports in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, support talent, provide better gaming infrastructure and technology, and conceptualise, organise and execute a multitude of tournament IPs at the national and international level.

The transaction will help the company to scale-up its operations not just in India but also globally. For Krafton, this deal will help in maintaining a presence in India since its popular game PUBG got banned in the country due to the Indo-China border dispute.  

"Whether the PUBG game comes or not comes to India is going to be Krafton's problem. They understand the value of esports and the value companies like Nodwin bring to esports. To us, this partnership is more global than just India," Nodwin Gaming co-founder and MD Akshat Rathee said in an interaction with exchange4media.

Nodwin Gaming CEO Siddharth Kedia added that Krafton has evaluated this deal completely in isolation of whether or not PUBG returns to India. He also revealed India and international expansion plans of Nodwin Gaming.

"We will launch more IPs. We will develop the whole ecosystem. We will make more esports content whether that means that we will take hold of the influencer ecosystem, launch bigger and better IPs, increase the prize pools in our IPs. That's on the domestic side," Kedia said.

"On the international side, we want to expand in Africa and the Middle East and the thesis being that these are emerging markets which are essentially mobile-first and young demographics. These are also the markets that are getting disrupted in a similar fashion as India whether it is data pricing or smartphone prices going down. Similar disruption is happening in those markets and they are where India was a few years back and hence they are the right markets for us to get into. It will be a mix of both organic and inorganic

Kedia also noted that the fate of Esports and Nodwin is intertwined as the company literally created the esports category in India. The Nodwin CEO also said that the investments made by the company will be beneficial for the whole ecosystem.

"Whenever prospective investors used to ask how big is the esports market going to be? Akshat used to say that the market will be as big as we want it to be because we were literally creating the market in India as we were building our company," Kedia said.

While noting that esports viewership has been on the rise, Kedia said that the numbers will be enough to sell esports to platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar. He also sees brand sponsorships and media rights revenue streams growing by leaps and bounds. "We see both streams growing because one feeds into the other. Brand sponsorships grow on the back of media rights and media rights grow on the back of brand sponsorships," he stated.

Rathee said esports should be seen as any other physical sport while underlining the fact that it is not a game but a sport. By definition, esport is a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers.

Kedia said that the Olympian tenets of higher, stronger, faster apply to esports.

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