As the game grew more popular due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, Aayush Agarwal was no stranger to it.
Aayush explains that the journey began six years ago when he came across a gaming conference that was taking place at the same location where he was attending a pharmacy conference.
“I was in Hyderabad for a pharmaceutical conference for the company I was working with at the time. I broke free a bit early that evening and there was a gaming conference going on at the same hotel. I attended the conference and realized how great the gaming opportunity was, I had dinner with a few people from Nazara and other top gaming companies and was totally mesmerized by sector,” says Aayush.
“The transition from pharmacy to gambling was completely by accident,” he says.
The second time is the charm
It wasn’t long before Aayush found himself deep in the game world. After six months of research, he started Zhakaas Games LLP with a close friend in 2018. The urge to be a founder remained and soon Aayush was onto the next thing. He built a business again, this time with his own funds in March 2020. His wife Mehek Agarwal became the co-founder and also the inspiration behind the name of the business’‘.
BooBoo Games Pvt Ltd operates in the hyper casual gaming sector. This means that the games created by the company can be played by people between the ages of 5 and 75. It also manufactures games for other game companies and markets. At Zhakaas Games, initially, the founders outsourced game development. Since this would increase costs at BooBoo Games, Aayush decided to have an in-house development team.
The cabinet started with six members. But soon, Aayush encountered a challenge. “It took us about a year and a half to build a team of 25 people in Ahmedabad,” he says.
BooBoo Games creates around 20 games per month across all genres. Part of its strategy is to keep the volume of games high, in order to increase the chances of landing on a viral title. Basically, it takes BooBoo Games two weeks to create a title.
“Instead of spending a lot of time creating a game, we believe that the more games we create, the more one of them becomes a huge phenomenon,” says Aayush.
Inspiration for these games can come from anywhere. Aayush says it might even be from a TikTok trend. “My wife is still on social media and she can’t stop suggesting ideas for new games. When Squid Game became a huge hit, many game companies were making games based on themes from the series,” he said.
Pillow Fight Leagues is the result. BooBoo Games has many other such 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 make games for other game companies based in India and elsewhere. The company is in talks with Winzo, which has raised over $110 million from Griffin Gaming Partners, among others. While working in partnership with game publishers, BooBoo Games works on a profit-sharing ratio, taking 30% of profits. BooBoo Games doesn’t self-publish games either; all games are produced in partnership with others.
Apart from games, advertisements in games also generate revenue for the company. BooBoo Games earned revenue of Rs 1.88 crore from games and advertisements in the 2020-21 financial year and Rs 4.55 crore in the 2021-22 financial year.
Once a seeded company, 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 sectors.
What does the appetite for games look like?
Driven by a young population, supported by growing digital infrastructure, India’s gaming industry, which is valued at $885 million, is expected to grow by 41.6% (FY20-21), according to a published report by Maple Capital Advisors in August 2020.
Players including Nazara Technologies recorded 70% year-on-year revenue growth, generating Rs 223.1 crore, in the quarter of fiscal 2022-23 ending June . Mumbai Based Fantasy Game PlayersMobile Premier League and have also seen their profits and valuations soar over the past two years.