Youzu Interactive is entering the Indian market with plans to launch local Indian casual strategy games in 2017 through its unit set to come up in Pune, its India CEO Anuj Tandon told our colleagues at ET.
Launched in 2009 by Qi Lin, Youzu Interactive is a developer and publisher of online and mobile games, headquartered in Shanghai.By 2016, the gaming company made their first acquisition, acquiring German game developer Bigpoint for $89.68 million. Besides the Chinese market, the company has its presence in North America.
Independent sources estimated the company would invest $10 million to create local games, scout for acquisitions and for investments and partnerships in gaming and entertainment startups in India. “This year we are looking at creating four to five local casual strategy and social casino games for the Indian market, besides introducing our global content. We will also scout for and aim to make strategic investments in the Indian gaming and entertainment startup industry,” said Tandon.
Tandon was earlier the head of mobile game publishing and marketing at Nazara Games. Tandon did not say anything about the company’s investment plans. The gaming company, which claims to have a market cap of $3.7 billion, will set up its India operations in Pune and plans to hire 30 people for their India team this year.
While the company plans to largely target tier-I and II cities, looking at individuals who own smartphones worth over Rs.10,000 in the 18-40 year age group, they will also cater to users at the lower end of the smartphone spectrum in smaller cities.
“While creating a premium gaming experience is what the company is known for, since it is the Indian market, we will have a balanced strategy and will need to look at diverse users besides the tier-I and II users,” added Tandon.
The Chinese gaming company, which is testing the waters in India through casual strategy and social casino games this year, has plans of creating mid-core and hardcore games for the Indian market in the coming years. Monetization will be largely through app purchases and reward-based videos.
“This year we would be looking at social casino, cricket, shooting games for the Indian market, but as we wait for the market to mature we will have role-playing games, mid and hardcore strategy games that we will introduce into the market. We have seen signs of Indians paying for mid-core gaming content,” said Tandon. Media and entertainment industry analysts said Youzu Interactive is the first to enter the Indian gaming industry with plans of creating local games.