PUBG’s Developer Krafton Invests Rs 164 Crores in India’s E-Sports Company Nodwin Gaming

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E-sports company Nodwin Gaming on Tuesday said South Korea’s Krafton has invested Rs 164 crore and picked up minority stake in the company.

Krafton is the creator of intellectual properties and popular games such as PUBG (Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds), TERA, Golf King, Castle Burn, among others. Nodwin, an independent subsidiary of Nazara Technologies, has partnerships with global publishers and partners including ESL, Valve, Krafton, Tencent, Riot, and Blizzard as well as content partnerships with broadcasters like MTV on linear TV, Disney+ Hotstar, Youtube and Airtel.

Post the transaction, Nazara will continue to own over 50 percent stake in Nodwin Gaming with the remaining being held by JetSynthesys and Nodwin founders. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Nazara had invested into Nodwin Gaming in 2018 and this investment has created a value in excess of 6.44X in three years, Nodwin Gaming co-founder and Managing Director Akshat Rathee told PTI.

Nodwin Gaming plans to use the funds to accelerate the development of e-sports in South Asia, Middle East and Africa and support talent. It will also use the proceeds to provide better gaming infrastructure and technology and conceptualise, organise and execute a multitude of tournament intellectual properties at the national and international level.

E-sports will be a key pillar to the growth of sports entertainment in the future as it sits at an intersection of sports, entertainment and technology, and nations such as India can pave the path, Rathee said. “Krafton coming on board is an endorsement from the mecca of gaming and e-sports – South Korea, on what we are building from India for the world based on our competence in mobile first markets,” he added.

Changhan Kim, CEO of Krafton, said the company is excited to partner with Nodwin Gaming to help foster the “promising” e-sports ecosystem and to engage with fans and players in India. “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, e-sports, entertainment, and tech industries,” Kim said.

Last year, the government had blocked 118 mobile applications, including PUBG, terming them prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and defence of the nation. Following the ban, PUBG Corporation (a subsidiary of Krafton) had said it will take on all publishing responsibilities within India and that China’s Tencent Games would no longer be authorised to distribute the PUBG Mobile franchise in India.

PUBG Corporation had also announced that a new game is being created specifically for the Indian market and committed investments worth USD 100 million (about Rs 750 crore) in India to cultivate the local video game, e-sports, entertainment, and IT industries apart from setting up a local office. Rathee, however, noted that Krafton’s funding in Nodwin has nothing to do with PUBG coming to India.

He explained that Krafton’s investment in Nodwin will help the South Korean firm diversify and get assets that are “synergistic and important” for its growth. “Nazara has been an early and strong believer in the potential of e-sports to disrupt the sports entertainment market and we believe this partnership between Krafton and the Nazara group will accelerate the growth of e-sports and open doors for collaboration between Indian and Korean gaming companies in future,” said Manish Agarwal, CEO of Nazara Technologies.

JetSynthesys Vice Chairman and MD Rajan Navani said the investment is an endorsement of the tremendous potential of e-sports in the journey of a new “Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

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