As gaming became more popular due to the pandemic-led lockdown, Aayush Agarwal was no stranger to it.
Aayush explains that the journey started six years ago when he came across a gaming conference that took place in the same location where he attended a pharmacy conference.
“I was in Hyderabad for a pharma conference for the company I was working with at the time. I got out a little early that night and there was a game conference at the same hotel. I attended the conference and realized how big the chance of gambling was. I had dinners with some people from Nazara and other prominent gaming companies and was completely mesmerized by the industry,” says Aayush.
“The switch from pharmacy to gaming happened completely by chance,” he says.
Second time is the charm
It didn’t take long for Aayush to be deep in the game universe. After six months of research, he started in 2018 with a good friend Zhakaas Games LLP. The itch to be a founder remained and soon Aayush was on his way to the next step. In March 2020, he built another company, this time with his own resources. His wife Mahek Agarwal became the co-founder and also the inspiration behind the name of the company’‘.
BooBoo Games Pvt Ltd operates in the hyper casual gaming industry. This means that the games created by the company can be played by people between the ages of 5 and 75. It also makes games for other game companies and markets. At Zhakaas Games, the founders initially outsourced game development. Since it would increase costs at BooBoo Games, Aayush decided to have an in-house development team.
The company 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 makes about 20 games per month in various genres. Part of his strategy is to keep the number of games high, to increase the chances of a viral title. Roughly speaking, it takes two weeks for BooBoo Games to create one title.
“Instead of spending a lot of time making one game, we feel like the more games we make, the more likely one of them will become a huge phenomenon,” Aayush says.
The inspiration for these games can come from anywhere. Aayush says it could even come from a TikTok trend. “My wife is always on social media and she is always coming up with ideas for new games. When Squid Game became a huge success, many game companies made games based on themes from the show,” he says.
Pillow Fight Leagues was the result. BooBoo Games has many more such titles in its portfolio such as Roller Coaster Ride, Pillow Fight League, Pool Guard Stack and Water My Farm, among 300 other hyper-casual game titles.
BooBoo Games also claims to make games for other gaming companies in India and elsewhere. The company is in talks with Winzo, who has raised more than $110 million from Griffin Gaming Partners, among others. In partnership with game publishers, BooBoo Games is working on a profit-sharing ratio, taking 30% of the profits. BooBoo Games also does not self-publish games; all games are produced in collaboration with others.
In addition to games, in-game ads 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 bootstrap company, it now aims to raise $1 million, of which $165,000 has already been raised. These funds will be used to develop games in metaverse, blockchain and non-fungible token, among others.
What does the hunger for games look like?
Driven by a young demographic, supported by growth in digital infrastructure, the Indian gaming industry, valued at $885 million, is expected to grow by 41.6% (FY20-21), according to a report released in August 2020 by Maple Capital Advisors has been released.
Players, including Nazara Technologies, posted a 70% growth in year-over-year revenue, yielding Rs 223.1 crore in the June-ending quarter of FY2022-23. Mumbai based fantasy gaming playersMobile Premier League and have also seen their earnings and valuations soar over the past two years.