PUBG developer Krafton
PUBG Developer Krafton Inc, the South Korean game company behind the PUBG franchise, is investing Rs 164 crore (US$22.4 million) in the Indian esports firm Nodwin Gaming, the latter’s Co-Founder and Managing Director Akshat Rathee told AFK Gaming, where he is a board member. This comes a while after PUBG Developer Krafton committed to investing US$100 million in India, as part of an ambitious (but so far futile) bid to get the wildly popular mobile variant of PUBG Developer Krafton unbanned in the country. It’s unclear if the Nodwin investment is a part of that US$100 million commitment, or where else the rest of that announced investment will go.
Nodwin CEO Siddharth Kedia declined to disclose valuation details, but told the publication that “from the time Nazara invested three years back, Nazara’s investment has grown about 6 and a half times. 6.44 times.” Nowdin is a subsidiary of Nazara. Krafton’s investment gets the company a seat in Nodwin’s board, Kedia said.”Predominantly, we will be using these funds for launching bigger, better tournament IPs in India and around,” Kedia said.
Rathee declined to speculate on PUBG Mobile’s fate, repeating a Krafton executive’s remarks that the company is trying to get the game released again in India. IGN India reported that Krafton’s newly hired head of corporate development for India Anuj Tandon previously worked for Nazara, Nodwin’s parent company. The Korean developer also reportedly tried to get support from Reliance Jio, Airtel and Paytm to relaunch PUBG Mobile, to no avail. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology banned the game as a part of a drive against predominantly Chinese apps, and has sidestepped queries on representations it has received on the game from Krafton.
“Esports sits at a wonderful intersection of sports, entertainment and technology where nations such as India can pave the path. With Krafton coming on board, we have an endorsement from the mecca of gaming and esports – South Korea, on what we are building from India for the world based on our competence in mobile first markets…” said Akshat Rathee, co-founder and managing director, Nodwin Gaming.
The company intends to channelize these funds to accelerate the development of esports in South Asia, Middle East and Africa, support talent, provide better gaming infrastructure and technology and conceptualise, organise and execute a multitude of tournament IPs at the national and international level.
“Krafton is excited to partner with Nodwin Gaming to help foster the promising esports ecosystem and engage with our fans and players in India,” said Changhan Kim, CEO of Krafton. “Taking the momentum from this partnership, we will explore additional investment opportunities in the region to uphold our commitment and dedication in cultivating the local video game, esports, entertainment, and tech industries.”