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Nazara Technologies acquires majority stake in company behind World Cricket Championship

Harshith Mallya
9th Jan 2018
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Global mobile gaming company Nazara Technologies, on Tuesday, announced it had acquired majority stake in Chennai-based NextWave Multimedia. NextWave owns the intellectual property (IP) of the most popular mobile cricket game in India - World Cricket Championship (WCC).

Story so far

Mobile gaming company NextWave focuses on developing casual and multi-player mobile games in the sports genre. The startup claims to have amassed over 100 million downloads in the last seven years, and has built a happy community of gamers. Nextwave notes its strength lies in multiplayer and VR technologies.

Nextwave’s World Cricket Championship has been built over many years and the startup believes its game engine is proven and has feature sets that will form a strong base to build future versions of the game currently under development. Industry data by App Annie lists World Cricket Championship 2 (WCC 2) among the top 10 games in India in terms of time spent playing the game, and number of monthly active users alongside the top global titles.

In 2017, WCC2 made it to Google Play’s ‘Editor’s Choice’. The game also made it to the best games and apps for the year, listing consecutively in 2015, 2016 and 2017 on Google Play. The WCC franchise, with its twin game offering, had over 15 million monthly active users as of November 2017.

With the acquisition of NextWave, Nazara aims to strengthen its portfolio of offerings in the virtual interactive sports genre in India and other emerging markets. The NextWave acquisition comes on the heels of Nazara’s investments in MasterMind Sports, Moong Labs, and more recently, HalaPlay. Commenting on the new partnership, CEO of Nazara Games, Manish Agarwal said,

Nazara has been on the lookout for gaming companies which have established strong leadership in the sports genre. NextWave offers a strong promise of dominating the space globally with its fan base of over 15 million monthly active users and strong product offering.
Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Games
Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies

Sector overview and Future plans

In April 2017, the Olympic Council of Asia announced that e-sports would become an official medal sport by the 19th Asian Games in 2022 – reflecting the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth. The International Olympic Committee also seems to be exploring the possibility of including e-sports in future Games.

According to a 'Trends to Watch in 2018' story by Holmes Report, the global esports industry is growing at an exponential rate year-on-year. Media rights, advertising, merchandise sales, sponsorship opportunities, and revenue streams are all increasing in double digits each year.

Closer home in India, Nazara had announced in February 2017 that it would invest $20 million to develop the Indian eSports ecosystem over the next five years. Some of the other prominent game publishers and developers in India include Moonfrog Labs, 99Games and Jetsynthesis.

L to R- Jayashree and Rajendran, cofounders of NextWave Multimedia

Nazara believes the popularity of WCC franchise provides an ideal platform to usher in VR Arcades (virtual reality) and launching m-sports around cricket in India. Nazara has a partnership with strong cricket IPs like Virat Kohli, and Royal Challengers Bangalore, and aims to leverage this to further help NextWave augment the brand WCC among Indians worldwide. P.R Rajendran, CEO, Nextwave said in a statement,

The complementary skill sets of NextWave and Nazara, and the synergy in between, is sure to accelerate growth of Nextwave in coming years. Nazara's expertise in creating scalable and profitable business models around consumer transactions globally will give us the needed impetus to grow along with them.

Website- Nextwave Multimedia

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