While gaming has become more popular due to the pandemic-led lockdown, Ayush Aggarwal was no stranger to it.
Ayush explains that the journey began six years ago when he stumbled upon a gaming convention taking place at a pharmacy conference he was attending.
“I was in Hyderabad for a pharma conference of the company I was working for at that time. I was released a little early that evening and a gaming conference was being held in the same hotel. I attended the conference and realized how big the gaming opportunity was. Had dinner with a few people and was completely mesmerized by the area,” says Ayush.
“The switch from pharmacy to gaming was completely by fluke,” he says.
Second time’s the charm
It didn’t take long for Aayush to find himself deep into the gaming universe. After six months of research, he started Zhakaas Games LLP in 2018 with a close friend. The itch to become a founder persisted and soon Ayush moved on to other things. He formed a company again, this time in March 2020 with his own funds. His wife Mahek Aggarwal co-founded and is also the inspiration behind the company’s name.‘.
BooBoo Games Pvt Ltd operates in the hyper casual gaming sector. This means that games created by the firm can be played by people between the ages of 5 and 75. It also makes games for other gaming companies and markets. At Zhakaas Games, initially, the founders were outsourcing game developments. As this would increase costs for BooBoo Games, Ayush decided to form an in-house development team.
The company started with six members. However, Ayush soon faced a challenge. “It took us about a year and a half to build a team of 25 in Ahmedabad,” he says.
It’s going viral
BooBoo Games makes about 20 games a month across genres. Part of its strategy to increase the chances of landing a viral title is to keep the volume of games high. Approximately, BooBoo Games takes two weeks to create a title.
“Instead of spending a lot of time making one game, we feel that the more games we make there will be a wider opportunity for one of them to become a big event,” says Aayush.
Inspiration for these games can come from anywhere. Aayush says it could also come from the Tiktok trend. “My wife is always on social media and she gives suggestions for new games. When the Squid game became a huge success, many gaming companies were creating games based on the show’s themes,” he says.
The pillow fight league was the result. BooBoo Games counts several titles in its portfolio such as Roller Coaster Ride, Pillow Fight League, Pool Guard Stack, and Water My Farm, in addition to over 300 other hyper casual game titles.
BooBoo Games also claims to create games for other gaming companies based in India and elsewhere. The firm is in talks with Winzo, which has raised more than $110 million from Griffin Gaming Partners. When working in partnership with game publishers, BooBoo Games operates on a profit sharing ratio of 30% of profits. BooBoo Games does not self-publish any games; All games are produced in partnership with others.
Apart from games, in-game advertisements also generate revenue for the company. BooBoo Games earned Rs 1.88 crore from games and advertisements in FY2020-21 and Rs 4.55 crore in FY2021-22.
Once a bootstrapped firm, it is now looking to raise $1 million, of which $165,000 has already been raised. These funds will be used to develop games in the metaverse, blockchain, and non-fungible tokens, among other areas.
What does hunger for games look like?
Driven by a young demographic, supported by growth in digital infrastructure, India’s gaming industry, valued at $885 million, is expected to grow at 41.6% (FY20-21), according to a report released by Maple Capital Advisors in August 2020.
Players including Nazara Technologies generated Rs 223.1 crore, up 70% in annual revenue, in the June-end quarter of FY2022-23. Mumbai-based fantasy gaming playersMobile Premier League, and The last two years have seen their profits and valuations rise as well.