Talk Esport had the opportunity to attend Krafton’s recent press conference hosted on 31st August. This was its first press conference since Battlegrounds Mobile India’s (BGMI) relaunch. In this press conference, Krafton discussed its journey in India, investments made in the Indian market, BGMI, growth of esports in India, and its future plans for India.
Krafton’s Journey in India
Krafton’s journey in India is marked by explosive growth, massive investments, and a strong focus on community engagement. From expanding its game portfolio to fostering local talent and embracing Indian culture, Krafton’s presence in India has been nothing short of remarkable. Krafton’s footprint in India has witnessed a massive growth from 2021 to 2023. What began as a single game title has now expanded to four – BGMI, New State Mobile, Road to Valor: Empires, and Defense Derby.
Through partnerships and collaborations with local players, the company has taken active steps to nurture India’s gaming ecosystem, and plans to continue to invest in the gaming and interactive entertainment ecosystem.
Strategic Investments and Collaborations
Krafton started off its investment portfolio in India with NODWIN Gaming in March 2021. This was followed by the investment in Loco, a livestream platform. At a time of investment, Loco had the daily average users less than 100,000. This number has now grown to 5x or 10x of the original users.
Since March 20211, Krafton has invested a whopping $140 million across 11 startups. This includes NODWIN Gaming, Loco, Pratilipi, Kuku FM, One Impression and more. Additionally, the recent commitment to invest an additional $150 million over the next two to three years. This clearly showcases the company’s dedication to shaping the future of Indian gaming.
“BGMI is Not Just a Game, It Is Also a Cultural and Social Experience” – Krafton
With BGMI, Krafton has embarked on a mission to redefine gaming experiences through innovative customizations and strategic collaborations with luxury brands, sought-after gaming IPs, and captivating animation IPs that resonate with the gaming community. “BGMI is not just a game, it is also a cultural and social experience,” Krafton stated.
Krafton’s commitment to responsible gaming shines through its pioneering campaign, “Game Responsibly,” which left an indelible mark by securing a Bronze at the prestigious Cannes Lions Awards. The thoughtfully curated campaign appealed to the entire gaming community, parents and regulators all without using any dialogues and conveying focused messaging.
Krafton is a fan-first or a user-first company. Through live chats during Key Opinion Leader (KOL) streams, community platforms, and social media forums, the company engages directly with players to understand their sentiments, desires, and feedback. KRAFTON’s focus is firmly fixed on cultivating a sense of community driven by fan-first research. This approach resonates through initiatives like “India Ki Heartbeat.” India Ki Heartbeat is a captivating docu-series that took KRAFTON to the heart of 14 small Indian towns. Here, they unearthed 12 remarkable stories, including that of a streamer who defied physical limitations by playing with his tongue. The docu-series captures the emotion behind BGMI and how India and the gaming communities’ hearts beat for BGMI.
Tailoring Experiences For India
The launch of the Indian Faction in Road To Valor: Empires signifies Krafton’s commitment to integrating local culture into a global gaming landscape. Developed collaboratively by Krafton’s Indian and South Korean teams, the Faction has garnered significant attention and boasts over 400,000 downloads in India.
Growth of Esports in India
The growth of esports in India has reached new heights, propelled by Krafton’s strategic initiatives. At the forefront stands the Battlegrounds Mobile India Series (BGIS) 2023, a grassroots tournament that has become one of Southeast Asia’s biggest esports tournaments. This tournament provides a platform for both amateurs and seasoned professionals to showcase their gaming skills. With a staggering prize pool of INR 2 crore, including a substantial INR 75 lakhs for the winning team, BGIS has not only fueled competition but also fostered the dreams of budding esports athletes.
One of the standout moments in this esports journey was the invitational series known as ‘The Grind’. This captivating event amassed a remarkable 33 million views. As the anticipation builds, an offline LAN finale with a live audience is scheduled to take place on 12th, 13th, and 15th October in Mumbai.
To further elevate the esports experience, Krafton has entered into a strategic partnership with JioCinema to broadcast BGIS. The impact of BGMI in helping tournament organizers scale up the esports landscape cannot be overstated, with promises of even grander events on the horizon, such as the Road To Valor: Empires Open Championship with a prize pool of INR 10 lakhs.
Additionally, Krafton will also host the friendly BGMI India-Korea Invitational Match. This event will see the top 8 teams from BGIS face-off 8 esports teams from South Korea. Krafton’s innovative approach also extends to their “Developers vs. Players” format, hosted on the KRAFTON INDIA ESPORTS YouTube channel.
Krafton’s Upcoming Initiatives
Krafton has announced that it will release a chronicle of the story and development of the Indian Faction in Road To Valor: Empires. It will also release an advertisement named ‘India Ki Boli,’ which will contain 50 easter eggs. Additionally, the “Setting Laga Na” campaign is also in the pipeline to educate players on optimizing their gaming settings for seamless gameplay.