87% of India's gamers are now GenZs: Rajan Navani, JetSynthesys
JetSynthesys, a new age digital entertainment and technology company with a global foray in gaming, digital entertainment, and interest-based social community platforms, has always focused on the growing digital era of the Indian gaming society and has seen a potential growth over the years. Not only has it become a leading name in the gaming industry, but it is also particularly known for developing mobile games with high fidelity and network play. Considering the field of esports and young talents in the gaming industry, India’s younger generation has limitless potential to build their career in the gaming sector.
JetSynthesys is also known for its global publishing partnerships with the likes of WWE, Square Enix and the Hollywood film ‘Passengers’ as well as Floyd Mayweather. Post acquiring Nautilus Mobile and Real Cricket, JetSynthesys is also the #1 skill-based cricket gaming franchise in the world with 120 million+ downloads and 1.2 crore+ monthly active users.
In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman & Managing Director of JetSynthesys and President of the Indian Digital Gaming Society, speaks about the emerging trends in India’s gaming industry, the growing dominance of GenZ in this industry, Sachin Tendulkar’s recent $2 million equity investment in the company, and much more.
How has India’s mobile gaming landscape grown over the last decade? How is the digital gaming society helping India’s gaming landscape to grow?
Mobile gaming has really seen a great push in the last decade, but more so in the last 18 months ever since the pandemic hit India. Due to people staying indoors, there has been a massive growth in terms of the number of people playing and in the terms of engagement that existing gamers have had with them.
Across our products, we have seen 40-100% growth in the amount of time spent on our games. From spending 30-40 minutes, the time spent has now increased to an average of an hour or more on the same game. The second big thing is the significant increase in the number of gamers who have come into the Indian gaming industry; the month-on-month growth is anywhere between 5 million and 10 million. In a country of 350 million gamers today, we are talking of a very large number being added to the gaming ecosystem.
Coming to the Indian gaming digital society and CII, both have played a very crucial role in the growth of the online gaming industry. According to the data available, 87% of the gamers now belong to the GenZ. Having the largest population of that age bracket, how can we not capture these young minds? After considering these points, we drew the interest of some of the largest gaming companies. In the 2017 at the Indian gaming show that was held at Pragati Maidan, we witnessed some of the largest Japanese and US companies setting up stalls showcasing their products. The Sony Playstation during that week was one of the products that saw a huge demand by the consumers, which was more than what they had sold in the past six months. The impact of taking things on the ground and exposing great gaming concepts to others makes a huge difference.
Moreover, the IT Minister during that period played our ‘Sachin Saga’ Game and he was very excited about this new gaming concept. Everything is about building awareness and that is what the Indian gaming digital society has done. They have built awareness with stakeholders, gamers, and the responsibility of game development companies in India to see how we can create great games at the local level.
Is Ludo Zenith one of the results of this overnight popularity of the LUDO game?
In JetSynthesys, the games that we build for India and the Indian gaming society along with Indian gamers, needs to resonate with the pulse of India. Whether it is our cricket game Sachin Saga or now Real Cricket where there are dominant players entering in the gaming market, showcases like you breathe Cricket in India. Similarly, we felt that LUDO has had a historical presence as this game has been played in our families for decades. LUDO had a natural affiliation when it came to India and thus, we partnered with one of the largest gaming companies, Square Enix, which is a $2billion+ company. After which we decided to create a product for India that resonates with the masses and also brings about a very strong aspect of what gaming means to the world, and Square Enix has always been keen to create games that have the ability to play in India.
Ludo Zenith has got the competitiveness of a global game and character of the Indian context. The strategy that one needs to adopt to win in Ludo Zenith is a lot more than any other Ludo game, where you can choose to be a turtle, depending upon how you want to play, into different strategies that include defense, aggression and a lot more. It is a far more developed version than a normal LUDO game, which gives you the chance to win the Ludo Zenith championship. Through this game we are creating a global benchmark on a base which is strongly Indian.
With a $2 million investment, Sachin Tendulkar joins the bandwagon of existing shareholders of JetSynthesys. What are your thoughts on this?
Sachin has been a very old partner of JetSynthesys. Over the last five years, we have strengthened and built our relationship since the time of Sachin Saga. We are really looking forward to JetSynthesys being the vehicle for the right business person, sports celebrities and others who really want to strengthen the digital piece of new age media and entertainment for the country and we are a part of creating that history. Sachin, a Bharat Ratna and a very strong brand himself, is someone who understands the power of digital. He has over 100 million followers across social media and will be a great partner for JetSynthesys and vice versa.
The Madras High Court recently quashed the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, which banned online games. What are the implications and impact of this judgement?
I have always been a believer of the law of the land, which will decide what is right for the country. Why is it hard to comment on the Supreme or High Court judiciary is because we have faith in their decisions as they are the bodies which will look for a holistic approach on what is right for the Indian gaming landscape. As an industry, how you work within the law of the land to create the best company that exists is important and that’s how we are taking in JetSynthesys. The implications of this judgement will be more for Fantasy gaming and Real Money gaming – areas in which JetSynthesys is not involved in. One of the reasons why we have stayed away from this area is because there is no emerging clarity on what the law of land would be. Everybody now is trying to understand what online gaming is. So, it’s a conversation that is building up in the country and how the matters are being handled with many gaming companies entering the market. We need to work closely with the government and law enforcement.
(Edited by Shanta Saikia.)