PUB-G developer and South Korean gaming firm KRAFTON has invested Rs 164 crore ($22.4 million) in an equity funding round in esports platform NODWIN Gaming.
The Nazara Technologies-backed company will use the fresh capital to expand its offerings in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, a statement said.
NODWIN has previously raised funds from Kris Gopalakrishnan-backed JetSyntheses and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
Nazara Technologies had acquired a majority stake in Gurugram headquartered NODWIN in 2018. Post the KRAFTON deal, Nazara will continue to own over 50% stake in NODWIN, the statement said.
“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,” Changhan Kim, CEO of KRAFTON, said in the statement.
KRAFTON had said that it will create an India unit to invest up to $100 million to promote local video games, esports and local IT in November 2020. It suffered a major setback in the country after PUBG was banned in September 2020 along with other Chinese apps, following which KRAFTON launched an India specific version of the game, PUBG Mobile India, which did not receive approval for launch.
Nazara has invested Rs 35.53 crore in NODWIN in the past five years, according to the Draft Red Herring Prospectus filed by Nazara in January for its proposed IPO. According to the prospectus, NODWIN holds 80% share of the Indian esports market due to its exclusive partnerships with ESL for ESL India Premiership, KO Fight Nights and other events.
“Esports will be a key pillar to the growth of sports entertainment in the future. It 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,” Akshat Rathee, managing director at NODWIN Gaming, said in a statement.
NODWIN contributed 29.84% in terms of consolidated revenues for Nazara Technologies in the financial year 2010-20. It made up 26.12% of the total consolidated revenue for Nazara for the six-month period ended September 30, 2020, for the company, according to the prospectus.