Business Gaming

Paytm First Games Stats for 2019: 45 Ml. Users, 485.16 Cr of Winnings and More

Paytm First Games (earlier known as Gamepind) recently released a report called Gamestats 2019, which reported various stats about their gaming app’s performance in the previous year.

As per the report, 45 million users registered on Paytm First Games app in 2019. The platform hosts around 200 games. The biggest amount won by a single Paytm First Games Winner in the year 2019 is Rs. 12.59 crores.

In 2019, the total time spent by gamers on Paytm First Games app was 7700 years, and over 72.5 crore Paytm games were played online.

The three most engaging games on Paytm First Games were Rummy, First Captains and Battle Center. Rummy and First Captains were launched on the platform in February 2019.

Rummy is one of the most popular card games in India. On Paytm First Games, Rummy was played for above 2.3 million hours last year. About 26.25 crore cards were dealt in Rummy on the platform, where Rs. 76.66 Lakhs is the biggest amount won by a single winner in the game in the year 2019. The maximum percentage shares of rummy players on the website hail from Uttar Pradesh, West bengal and Rajasthan.

The app also hosts a fantasy sports game called First Captains. The game’s most preferred captains were Virat Kohli, R. Sharma and M. Dhoni among men, and Deepti B. Sharma, Harmanpreet K. Bhullar and Smriti S. Mandhana among women. The game was played for above 2.8 million hours on the platform. IPL, WC and Kabaddi Championship were the most popular leagues. About Rs. 115 crores were won by players of First Captains in 2019. They created over 1.1 crore teams on First Captains. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi have the highest percentage of players playing this game on Paytm First Games app.

Another popular Paytm game is Battle Center, which recorded above 43.4 million hours of play last year. An average of 23.47 hours per user were spent on the game.

Paytm quiz called Trivia recorded above 1.5 million hours of play in 2019. Last year, the quiz served 45.5 crore questions, to which 65% were answered correctly. Cricket, GK and Bollywood are popular themes on the Paytm quiz game. Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra topped the list with the maximum percentage of Trivia players on Paytm First Games app.

Other casual Paytm games like Ludo, Wheel of Fortune, Tom & Jerry Maze, and Paytm pass the bomb, were played on the platform for over 18.7 million hours.

Paytm First Games is a casual and skill-based gaming platform that was first launched as Gamepind in February 2018. Alibaba-backed Chinese technology company AGTech Holdings Limited and Paytm entered a joint venture and initially invested USD 16 million in the gaming venture.

The gaming website was rebranded, in June 2019, after Paytm’s brand name.

The gaming platform recently raised another USD 20 million from Alibaba’s AGTech and Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.


Dream11 acquires official partner rights of BCCI

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that Sporta Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Dream11), LafargeHolcim (ACC Cement and Ambuja Cement) and Hyundai Motor India Ltd. have acquired the official partners’ rights for its international and domestic matches for the period 1st September 2019 to 31st March 2023.

The rights were acquired following the conclusion of the Expression of Interest process.

“The consolidated winning bids were at a price of Rs 222.74 crore to be paid for the 2019-23 home season. The consolidated winning bid was Rs 2.59 crore, which is at 72 % incremental value in comparison to the previous per match value of Rs 1.5 crore,” the BCCI said in a statement.

It was earlier reported that online payments and e-commerce behemoth Paytm and Dream11 were in the fray for the title sponsorship of BCCI domestic and international matches.

However, Paytm ultimately acquired the title sponsorship rights for the period 2019-23 at a price of Rs. 326.80 crores (Rs. 3.8 crores per match).

Dream11 is already the exclusive fantasy gaming partner for IPL, ICC, ISL, Big Bash and other marquee domestic and international sporting events.

Earlier this month it was reported that South African technology conglomerate Naspers may acquire a stake worth $100 million in Dream11 at a valuation of $2.5 billion.

In April 2019, the Dream11 board changed its company name from Dream11 Fantasy Private Limited to Sporta Technologies Private Limited, in a bid to venture into other sporting activities and events. The change in name has been approved by the Registrar of Companies (ROC).


Paytm First Games to receive $25 million funding: Report

Alibaba Group and One97 Communications Limited backed Paytm First Games (earlier known as Gamepind) is reportedly in talks to raise US$25 million in a fresh funding round that will be led by venture capital firm SAIF partners and an unknown Hong Kong based entity.

In May this year, the company had announced that it had surpassed 30 million registered users on its platform and planned to raise $30 million in a funding round. Last year, Paytm and Alibaba had jointly infused $16 million in the gaming company.

When Sudhanshu Gupta, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Paytm First Games was contacted by Times of India for a confirmation of the above news, he declined to confirm the development.

Gupta however noted that Paytm First Games has grown manifold in the last one year and has garnered over 30 million registered users. He noted that on an average users spend around Rs. 4,000 per month on the game of rummy and Rs. 400 per month on fantasy sports.

He also stated that the company is clocking around US$ 50 million in revenue, with the focus in the near future being on investing in its technology and hosting e-sports events.Gupta stated that Gamepind is looking to double its team size from the current number of 150.

Paytm First Games offers casual games such as ludo, snake wars, badlands, 8 ball pool as well as skill games such as rummy, fantasy sports, trivia and live quiz on its platform as well as on the Paytm app.


Paytm-backed Gamepind rebrands itself as FirstGames, looks to raise $30 million

Paytm-backed real money gaming platform Gamepind has decided to rebrand itself to FirstGames, as per a report in the Economic Times.

Gamepind, which is a joint venture between Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications Limited and Alibaba Group owned gaming technology provider AGTech Holdings, is also reportedly looking to raise further capital of US$30 million to expand its gaming platform and scale it with more games.

One97 Communications and AGTech had infused US$16 million in Gamepind Entertainment Private Limited last year.

Gamepind (now Paytm FirstGames) has claimed that in a short span of less than one year, it has garnered over 30 million registered users on its platform.

The company offers casual games such as ludo, snake wars, badlands, 8 bnall pool as well as skill games such as rummy, fantasy sports, trivia and live quiz on its platform as well as on the Paytm website and mobile app.

Gamepind is reportedly currently clocking Gross Merchandise Volume of Rs. 20 crore monthly, which it hopes to increase to Rs. 28-35 crores during the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup.

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Paytm’s Gamepind gets 30 million registered users

Gamepind Entertainment Private Limited, the online gaming joint venture of online payments and e-commerce behemoth Paytm and Alibaba-backed gaming technology company AGTech, has announced that it has acquired 30 million registered users on its portal within a year of starting operations. Gamepind has claimed that their platform has also witnessed over 70 million gameplays in a month and growth rate of 20% month on month.

The company has claimed that it has over 100 casual and real money skill games available on its platform, that can also be accessed through the Paytm app.

The company stated that it has partnered with high-quality studios and publishers from India and across the world including Gamepix, Famobi, and Shoal games to bring popular casual games such as ludo, snake wars, badlands, 8 bnall pool as well as skill games such as rummy, fantasy sports, trivia and live quiz.

Gamepind has also officially announced the launch of their updated app with two new skill games, ‘Gamepind Fantasy Sports’ and ‘Gamepind Rummy’. Glaws had first reported in January 2019 about Gamepind starting fantasy games and rummy on the Paytm platform.

Commenting on the development, Gamepind Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sudhanshu Gupta said, “Our goal is to build the largest gaming destination in the country which not only provides the best games to our users but also rewards them for playing. We have already seen great success with games like Ludo and Snake Wars and competitive skill-based real money games like Trivia and with the cricket world cup coming up, we are excited to launch Gamepind Fantasy Sports. We will continue to strive to innovate and bring more exciting and rewarding games for our users.”

Business Gaming

Paytm launches new rummy and fantasy games on its portal

Leading e-commerce and digital wallets portal Paytm has recently launched rummy and fantasy sports games on its mobile app.

The rummy and fantasy sports games are accessible on the Paytm homepage and are operated by the ‘Gamepind’ brand, the skill gaming joint venture between Alibaba-backed Chinese technology company AGTech and One97 Communications Limited (the parent company of Paytm, in which Chinese behemoth Alibaba is also an investor).

The fantasy sports app of Gamepind, developed and designed by Indore-based software company Vinfotech, presently offers daily fantasy games of cricket, football and kabaddi.

Currently, neither the fantasy sports or rummy games are offered for real money on the company’s app. While fantasy games can be played using ‘beans’ or points that can be purchased on the Paytm portal, only a free-to-play version of the rummy game can be played on the app using non-monetary points.

It is however understood that real money options of daily fantasy sports and rummy will be offered through the Paytm and Gamepind portals in the near future.

Last year, Paytm had announced that it had formed a Joint Venture with AGTech to start Gamepind a casual and skill gaming portal, where Paytm would hold 55% stake while AGTech holds the balance 45%. Both companies had stated that they would be jointly infusing $16 million in the venture.

Currently, besides fantasy sports and rummy, the Gamepind platform offers games like trivia, quizzes, ludo and other social and casual games.

With a valuation of over $16 billion or over Rs. 1 lakh crore, Paytm, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, is the biggest Indian entity to enter the skill gaming space. The investors of the company include Alibaba, Berkshire Hathway and SAIF partners.


Recap: Important deals of 2018 and what the gaming industry can expect in 2019

Consolidation of the online gaming industry was the trend in 2018 and the year saw quite a few M&A transactions happening, particularly in the online skill gaming space, although there weren’t too many updates on the legal and regulatory front, with important cases that will decide the future of poker in Gujarat and rummy/skill games in Telangana getting stalled.

Here is a recap of some of the important deals that happened in 2018:

1.  PokerStars starts India website with Sugal & Damani Group: Canada-based The Stars Group granted an exclusive license to Sachiko Gaming Private Limited, a company connected to the lottery conglomerate Sugal & Damani Group to start an India website, in April 2018. Although the PokerStars India website has not yet gathered as much momentum as one would have expected,  it is expected that Sachiko Gaming will ramp up their marketing spends, by spending over Rs.20-30 crores in the next couple of years, in an attempt to take the new website to the leadership position in online poker.

2. Dream11 raises around US$100 million in a Series D round led by Tencent Holdings: Leading online fantasy sports portal Dream11 raised around US$100 million (around Rs. 700 crores) in a Series D round. The round was led by Chinese gaming and e-commerce giant Tencent Holdings and other existing investors of the company. The deal will fund Dream11’s aggressive media campaigns and tie-ups with sports federations across cricket, hockey, kabbadi, football and other sports. The massive infusion of capital will probably make it almost impossible to dislodge Dream11 from the market leader’s position in the fantasy sports space.

3. 9stacks raises Rs. 28 crores in Series A round: Sparskills Technologies Private Limited, the company that operates online poker website 9stacks, became one of the few gaming websites in the country to raise a Series A funding round. The company raised around Rs. 28 crores in two tranches, in the funding round led by VC firm WaterBridge Ventures and other existing angel investors.

4. Sequoia Capital invests in skill gaming and e-sports startup MPL: Another interesting transaction in the real money skill gaming space was Sequoia Capital’s US$5 million (around Rs.35.1 crore) investment in Mobile Premier League (MPL), an app that allows players to play real-money tournaments of casual and strategy games like fruit chop, monster truck, space breaker, sudoku etc.

5. Patym forms JV for skill-gaming venture: Another interesting trend in 2018 was the joint venture formed by Indian payment and shopping giant Paytm with Alibaba-backed Chinese technology company AGTech Holdings. The two companies have formed Gamepind, a real money quiz gaming website and app. The two companies have infused around US$16 million (over Rs. 100 crores) in the new venture, with indications that the new company Gamepind will also foray into other conventional skill games like poker and rummy.

Apart from the above, there were several other companies that forayed into the online poker and fantasy sports space, as well as other innovative games like quiz and esports.

Looking ahead into 2019, one can expect this trend to continue and more ventures in the social and skill gaming space. It should not surprise anyone if this trend will continue into the next year and new, innovative type of skill games will gain popularity.

The coming year would also hopefully see resolution of the pending matters in the Gujarat and Telangana High Courts on poker and rummy respectively that would give more clarity to the skill gaming industry. The debate on the merits of the legalisation of sports betting and other types of online gaming at a central level will also gain momentum, especially after Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s private member’s bill on the subject. The second half of 2019, after the Lok Sabha election, could see some further movement on the topic.


Paytm, AGTech infuse $16 million in new skill gaming company Gamepind

Indian payment services company Paytm and Alibaba-backed Chinese technology company AGTech Holdings Limited have infused US$ 16 million into their new gaming venture, Gamepind Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

As per a joint statement by the two companies, AGTech will be holding 45%  stake in the gaming platform while One97 Communications Ltd. (parent company of Paytm) will be holding a 55% stake.

The new company has named former Paytm Vice President Sudhanshu Gupta as its Chief Operating Officer. The new venture has so far been operating as part of the Paytm portal and a standalone app will be launched with the new infusion of funds.

“With the penetration of smartphones and mobile internet, gaming is poised to become a multi-billion dollar opportunity in India and I feel very excited to be a part of this journey. We will invest in building a platform to offer exciting and rewarding games for our users”, said Gupta in a telephonic conversation with Mint.

Launched in January 2018, Gamepind currently offers real money  and casual trivia quiz contests but it is believed that the company plans to start offering a wide array of social and real money games, including possibly card games like rummy and poker.

“AGTech continues to firmly believe in the vast potential of Gamepind and its ability to capture the fast growing mobile games market opportunity in India. Going forward, AGTech will continue to strengthen our business in India, while globalizing our business in other selected overseas markets,” said GM Cheng, director, Gamepind and President of Global Market at AGTech in a statement.


Chinese behemoth Tencent may invest $100 million in Dream11

The world’s largest investment corporation, China-headquartered Tencent is looking at investing around US$ 100 million in India’s biggest fantasy sports website, Dream11 as per a report in the Economic Times today.

As per the news report, Tencent will invest around Rs. 657 crores (US$100 million) in Dream11 for a pre-money valuation of close to half a billion dollars.

Economic Times quotes three sources having knowledge of the transaction and claims that a termsheet has been offered by Tencent to Dream11.

The management of Dream11 has however disavowed the ET news report and claimed that it is ‘completely baseless media speculation’.

Reports however indicate that while Tencent may be planning to invest the amount in the parent company of Dream11, it is unclear whether the company’s other investors will either get a partial or complete exit.  The other investors of Dream11 in previous rounds include Kalaari Capital, Multiples Alternate Asset Management and San Francisco-based investment firm Think Investments.

Tencent, which already is the largest video game company in the world had recently evinced interest in expanding its presence in India by investing in gaming companies. According to reports, Tencent has held talks with two social gaming companies- Octro and MoonFrog Labs for a potential acquisition. The investment company had indicated that it would prefer to build business partnerships first, before looking at complete acquisitions.

If the Dream11 deal indeed goes through, it would be the biggest investments in any real-money online gaming company till date. Fantasy sports has been growing exponentially of late with a Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG) and AC Nielsen’s report estimating that the total number of online fantasy sports users will cross the 100 million mark by 2020.

Dream11, which is the biggest fantasy sports operator in India, has a market share of over 90%. The company has been aggressively expanding its footprint and recently signed an agreement with Star India to become one of the sponsors of IPL 2018. Last month, the company had announced that it had roped in former Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador.


Paytm forms online games JV with Alibaba group company

Paytm, India’s largest e-wallet company is set to enter into a Joint Venture with AGTech Media and AG Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong listed gaming and lottery technology company, which is part of the Alibaba Group (Interestingly, the Alibaba Group is also the largest stakeholder and investor in Paytm).

As per a regulatory filing by AGTech Holdings, a joint venture Indian company will be formed within 45 days and will have an authorised share capital of Rs. 5 crores. Further, the AGTech group will have 45% stake in the company while Paytm will have 55% stake.

Both parties will cumulatively invest US $16 million into the business in the ratio of their shareholding. In the regulatory announcement, AGTech Holdings made the following statement explaining the reasons for entering the Indian gaming market:

The joint venture will offer innovative mobile games and user engagement activities to Indian consumers by leveraging the Group’s decade long experience in creating mobile entertainment products and Paytm Group’s massive distribution network to develop mobile games in India. The JV Company shall be engaged in the development and operation of various platforms including website, mobile applications or other distribution channel to develop and publish a variety of products to Indian customers such as mobile games and other user engagement activities in India. This will help Paytm Group drive deeper consumer engagement as Indian customers can earn exclusive rewards and discounts on the platform.

To develop and operate the business of the JV Company, Paytm Group shall leverage its access to and resources in businesses operated by Paytm Group and the Group shall leverage its technical abilities and experience in developing systems, platforms and related commercial operations.

From the statement, it appears that the Joint Venture will focus on mobile games and casual games. It is unclear whether the new venture by Alibaba Group will also foray into real money skill-gaming or gambling either immediately or at some point in the future.