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Gaming and sports media platform Nazara Technologies has acquired Hyderabad-based skill-based gaming company OpenPlay for about Rs 186 crore.

The acquisition is expected to help Nazara make further inroads into the real-money gaming sector, a senior company executive said, adding that the listed entity is eyeing more acquisitions in the space to fill gaps in its product and distribution lineup.

“If you look at this skill-based real-money gaming space, it’s a large space with hardly two or three big players. The current market is as big as $1 billion – $1.3 billion and is expected to grow at 30-40% CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) over the next three to four years,” Manish Agarwal, chief executive of Nazara, told ET.

“Due to the regulatory uncertainty in the country around the real-money gaming sector, we consciously stayed away from it till recently when some court rulings came out in favour,” Agarwal added.

Nazara’s business pivots around four verticals Gamify learning, e-sports, free-to-play mobile gaming and real-money gaming.

While Gamify learning and e-sports contribute around 81% to its revenue, with each bringing in upwards of Rs 200 crore, free-to-play mobile gaming is around 4% and real-money gaming is around 2% of the mix, Agarwal said.

“We are looking at growing this category (real-money gaming) to Rs 100 crore over the next 12-18 months,” he added. “With that, we expect the revenue mix to change, with real-money gaming contributing around 8-10% by the next 12-18 months.”

Founded by serial entrepreneur Sreeram Reddy Vanga, OpenPlay operates a multi-game consumer gaming platform under the ‘Classic Games’ brand which hosts skill-based games.

“The OpenPlay acquisition offers an opportunity for 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,” Agarwal said.

OpenPlay currently has an annualised gross gaming revenue run rate of Rs 80 crore and is Ebidta-positive. Ebitda is a company’s earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation.

With the recent launch of influencers-hosted skill gaming tournaments, the company is poised to grow its user base at a rapid pace.

“We will look to offer ‘Games as a service’ through this platform,” Agarwal said.

“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,” Vanga said.

The “Friends of Nazara” network comprises established gaming companies in which Nazara holds majority stakes.

These include Nodwin Gaming and Sportskeeda in Esports Next Wave Multimedia, developer of the World Cricket Championship (WCC), the largest mobile-based cricket simulation game, and Paper Boat Apps, the developers of popular gamified early learning app Kiddopia.


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