Fantasy sports are immersing into innovative gaming pool as these sports are engaging new fans every day. As the cricket fever is on with IPL and upcoming cricket World Cup, India is bracing fantasy sports at an impressive rate and more and more new fantasy cricket apps are joining the bandwagon. In conversation with AnimationXpress Gameskraft founder and CTO Prithvi Singh shares about the fantasy cricket scenario in India along with the launch of Gamezy. Here are the excerpts: What is your inspiration and idea behind Gameskraft? I like to think of myself as an avid gamer. In fact, I started showing interest in gaming from quite a young age. While I never planned on becoming a professional gamer, I spent a lot of time playing video games during my college years. It was around that time when I realised that India’s gaming space is mostly dominated by internet players and therefore the games are not specific to the Indian market. My idea behind Gameskraft was simple – to create games that includes some Indian context and provides our customers with world-class gaming experience. What’s your take on the current scenario of the Android-iOS gaming industry in the country? The mobile gaming industry in India is thriving currently and its future looks promising too. With a prominent rise in smartphone ownership and internet usage across the country, the user base of online games keeps increasing by the day. The sudden spike in demand has resulted in the mushrooming of many gaming companies and start-ups, but the market is not saturated yet. If we go by the stats, a recent research report released by KPMG and the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG) projects that India’s online gaming industry could generate a whopping Rs. 11,900 crore by 2023. Analyzing the market can you share what are the mantras behind the success of a game? At present, India’s gaming space is dominated by fantasy sports games. With the ongoing IPL season and the upcoming Cricket World Cup, the enthusiasm around fantasy cricket leagues is contagious. The success of a game depends on a multitude of factors, but a game can gain popularity if it offers entertainment, rewarding experiences and a sense of control. What is the role of marketing behind the success of a game? Marketing undoubtedly plays an instrumental role in determining a game’s fate. A game can have a highly-engaging interface but it can fail commercially if there are no marketing efforts made. When it comes to Gameskraft, we initially relied heavily on SEO marketing and referral programmes. However, in the beginning, word-of-mouth worked the best for us. What is the project Gameskraft is currently working on? Can you share a brief about it? We just about launched our latest offering, foraying into the fantasy sports segment. Our fantasy sports platform is called Gamezy and has been received well. We have been working relentlessly on this project and it is great to see it take shape. It is a real money game wherein participants can create their own virtual cricket team with real players. And, they win cash rewards based on the real-life performance of those chosen players. Only thing is, on Gamezy, we are a lot more rewarding and a lot more engaging. It is not just all about the matches, it is cricket experience at its best. How it is unique from the existing ones available in the market? Why you have planned of entering into fantasy sports league when India is pouring with such fantasy sports app? As I have mentioned earlier, the scope of fantasy gaming is huge. The fact that the user base of fantasy sports platforms will cross 100 million by next year says a lot about the market’s future potential. Of course, there are numerous fantasy sports apps available to download, but only a few manage to pique the interest of users. We worked closely with industry experts and a couple of professional gamers to understand the current trends in the space. Our research showed that most of the fantasy cricket apps out there were just all about the upcoming matches, mostly in participate and win formats. We wanted to bring the REAL cricket experience closer to the audience. So we conducted surveys and dug deep. to find out what the users wanted. Gamezy is as real as it can get – a mix of fun and entertainment along with the fantasy experience. We are more rewarding and we are all about making sure the users get their time’s worth on our platform. Who will be your target audience for the project? It will be a sports aficionados who like playing online games. However, on Gamezy, we have ensured that even people with less interest in sports can participate by helping them learn more about playing fantasy sports and offering practice games. India has witnessed a fantasy sports rush since last year. According to you what are the reasons behind such a shift of interest of players and developers in the sector? Well, the fantasy gaming market in India started experiencing upward growth only after the launch of popular sporting events like IPL (Indian Premier League) and ISL (Indian Super League). The country has witnessed a surge in demand for fantasy sports platforms in the last couple of years, with students and young professionals across metros and small towns participating in fantasy sports leagues. I think the main reason behind such a shift of interest is the changing dynamics of sports broadcasting. Unlike earlier, fans want to become a part of the game itself, rather than just being mere spectators. The market size of fantasy sports is over a billion. Where do you think fantasy sports will be in 2020 and will it be able to sustain and maintain popularity? I think it’s safe to say that fantasy gaming is not just a fad. Instead, it’s a trend that will continue to gain traction in 2020. More users will try their hands at fantasy sports. As per the KPMG-IFSG report, more than 100 million users will play fantasy sports games next year. Why do you think India is one of the biggest markets for fantasy sports? Can you share the factors responsible for the popularity? India’s obsession with sports is a well-known fact. Cricket, in particular, is not less than a religion that binds people from all corners of the country. This extreme affinity for sports explains why India is poised to become one of the biggest markets for fantasy sports. And other factors like increased availability of budget smartphones and cheap data plans have worked in favour of the fantasy gaming industry. What were the positive signs on the monetization side in 2018? 2018 was our growth phase and we grew to be a million registered users company. And we also became profitable, so it was a great year for us. What are 2019 year goals for the studio? The current focus is on ensuring Gamezy emerges as one of the top fantasy sports platforms. The response has been great so far and we would like to continue this momentum. In the long run, we look forward to establishing Gameskraft as one of the most prominent names in the online gaming space of India. Over the next two years, we plan to generate a country-wide interest for Gamezy to make it India’s favourite fantasy gaming platform. Apart from this Gameskraft wants to keep all the online gaming enthusiasts hooked to games that are entertaining as well as high on rewards. Can share the future funding scenario of Gameskraft? Gameskraft, in most parts, is a bootstrapped company. However, we are open to exploring funding opportunities in the future. What are the expansion plans of the company? The current focus is on ensuring Gamezy emerges as one of the top fantasy sports platforms. The response has been great so far and we would like to continue this momentum. In the long run, we look forward to establishing Gameskraft as one of the most prominent names in the online gaming space of India. Over the next two years, we plan to generate a country-wide interest for Gamezy to make it India’s favourite fantasy gaming platform. Apart from this Gameskraft wants to keep all the online gaming enthusiasts hooked to games that are entertaining as well as high on rewards. Fantasy cricket is has created a new wave in online gaming and is all set to grow as one of the prime forms of entertainment in the next five years.