The explosion in the number of Indians using smartphones, especially from its thousands of smaller towns, has opened up one of the world’s largest digital markets. And, start-ups like WinZO Games are riding the wave with micro-transaction driven business models.
The two-year-old start-up offers its users a real-money gaming platform where they can pay as little as Rs 1 per game and stand to win real money if they win the game.
According to WinZO Games co-founder Saumya Singh Rathore, the platform currently has over 10 million registered users currently, who spend around 45 minutes per day on average on the platform, which offers over 40 games including virtual Carrom, Cricket, 8 Ball Pool, Sniper 3D, Bubble Shooter, Fruit Samurai, Knife Up, Fantasy League-based games.
All games on the platform are monetised in three ways. While users have the option of playing them for free, they may also pay as little as Rs 1 each. The users also stand to take home the pool if they win.
“The platform takes a 10 per cent commission and we have a revenue-sharing system with the game developer. The rest goes to the winners,” said Saumya, adding that there are tournaments and multiplayer game modes as well on the platform.
The platform has begun clocking a substantial number of paid users over the past two years.“We have 10 million registered users and we do 140-150 million microtransactions per month,” Saumya said.
She added that around 85-90 per cent of the platform’s users have spent money on the platform so far. Saumya also notes that the regulatory environment now makes a clear distinction between games of skill and games of chance. “In India, you are not allowed to bet or wager anything on a game of chance. But, players may either wager or pay to compete in games of skill. A recent Nagaland legislation has even given a list of games that players may wager on, such as virtual chess, carrom, racing games and even those like virtual cricket,” she pointed out.
The start-up says its business model is quite successful for the Indian market, since most game developers and platforms have struggled to monetise through conventional methods like in-app purchases. “India is a different market and in-app purchases here are a fraction of the global average. Ads are also not an option because these games need a complete absence of distractions,” Saumya said.
“But, our model runs on micro-transactions and we see immense value here. About 50 per cent of our paid users are paying for the very first time on a mobile game,” she noted. According to the platform, over 2 million users have already linked their bank accounts to the platform, while others pay through wallets and popular payment apps like Paytm and the National Payments Council of India’s UPI.