Due to the nationwide lockdown because of COVID 16 back in 2020, we all saw a sudden rise in leisure activities. Be it by making Dalgona coffee, engaging in spirited games with friends, or binge-watching shows, we all tried to find ways to pass the time within the confines of our homes.
“Ludo King’ is a homegrown gaming app that claimed the spot as India’s number one gaming app on both Android and iOS platforms. The game was officially launched in early 2016 and swiftly became popular during COVID.
The sudden surge in traffic
Vikash Jaiswal, the Founder and CEO of Mumbai-based Gametion Technologies, and the developer behind Ludo King, revealed in an interview,
“Ludo King used to see a sudden spike immediately after the telecast of Ramayan on Doordarshan. After 10.30 pm, people would come to play Ludo on our app, and our server started crashing.”
In response, the Gametion team worked tirelessly for three to five days to scale up its IT system and servers, increasing the server count from eight before the lockdown to a robust 200. Jaiswal emphasized the team’s dedication, working remotely around the clock to ensure stability and the ability to handle any volume of traffic.
The sudden surge prompted the team to scale up their IT system and servers. Speaking of how much traffic the app can handle now, Vikash says,
“Now, we are stable to handle any amount of traffic…It all happened with a team working remotely, day and night.”
Other games in the market
In the interview, Vikash also revealed that before the lockdown they had around 13-15 million Daily Active Users (DAUs), and 60-63 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs). After the surge, it came to around 50 million DAUs and 185 million MAUs.
The best part is that the homegrown app was able to surpass other players in the market like ‘Candy Crush Saga,’ ‘PUBG,’ ‘Clash of Clans,’ ‘Subway Surfers,’ and ‘Temple Run’ in terms of monthly active users in India. Moreover, the app is also the first game in India to be able to cross 100 million downloads. By the end of 2020, they were able to cross 500 million downloads.
Looking back, Vikash says he has always had a passion for video games since he was a teenager. After the gaming parlours in his hometown shut shop, all he wanted to do was own a video gaming machine to be able to indulge in uninterrupted gameplay.
He also shares that he had it tough growing up after the passing of his father, and they had to rely on his father’s pension for survival. And while no one ever bothered to ask him or his brother about their dreams, Vikash knew he had it in him to get rich. This led him to pursue computer engineering since it seemed like a lucrative career choice.
When he was pursuing his engineering, he found free gaming software that inspired him to create his own game. His very first game, ‘Eggy Boy,’ proved to be a success and received several magazine mentions and popularity. The game even became quite a hit amongst his hostel peers. This success fueled Vikash’s desire to delve deeper into the gaming industry.
Subsequently, he joined IndiaGames, and the company was later acquired by Disney. Despite a successful four-year stint, Vikash, drawn by the allure of entrepreneurship, ventured into running various websites. At a time when Google AdSense was a novel concept, he capitalized on it by creating gaming content websites to generate income. After observing that his blog revenue surpassed his income, Vikash made a calculated choice to quit his job at IndiaGames and devote himself entirely to entrepreneurship.
In 2010, with a seed amount of Rs 2 lakh from his savings, Vikash officially launched Gametion, setting up a small office in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. With a team of six, including engineers and graphic designers, his initial goal was to create and sell better games for greater financial gains.
By 2013, Vikash sensed an opportunity in mobile games and conceived the idea of ‘Ludo King.’ At that time, his team consisted of just three individuals, with Vikash personally conceptualizing the game. The focus during development was on simplicity and quick gameplay, streamlining the varied rules of Ludo prevalent in different regions.
After it became popular, ‘Ludo King’ introduced an enhanced gaming experience, allowing over four players to engage simultaneously while facilitating audio chat in private rooms, akin to platforms like WhatsApp. This feature brought a new level of social interaction to the gaming experience.
On the business front, Gametion’s monetization strategy has seen a notable fivefold increase, primarily driven by advertising revenues. Notably, Gametion remains a bootstrapped startup, maintaining profitability since its inception. According to Tofler, Gametion Technologies Private Limited’s revenue for the financial year ending March 31, 2022, was between INR 1 crore and INR 100 crore. In 2023, Gametion Technologies Pvt. Ltd.’s annual revenue was $4 million.