Gameberry Labs: Rolling the dice to win


The creators of Ludo Star surpassed $100 million in revenue for the entire life of the game in November. The company, which is bootstrapped, is said to be profitable since the very beginning and is currently testing two games within games that are in the words and board game categories.

In the year Sanjiv Mehta, who is 57, employed by the government, reached the height of boredom in the initial stage of lockdown that began in 2020, he stumbled addicted to a naughty game called Ludo Star with his smartphone. Ludo Star, the online variation of his favorite game of his childhood was not only an excellent stress reliever, but also allowed his family to spend time with each other.

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Since the period of Mahabharata until today the game of dice has brought friends and families together and has been an ideal pastime for many. Based on the fact that dice is a popular pastime, Gameberry Labs, the maker of Ludo Star, headquartered in Bengaluru and run by IIT graduates Afsar Ahmad and Govind Agarwal was founded in the year 2000, and began their journey in the game that is mobile gaming.

Gameberry Labs started operations in 2017 with the launch of Ludo Star. Ahmad and Agarwal saw the rising demand for Ludo across the nation and took it as an opportunity to stand out. “We took a break from their jobs and began to develop the game. The idea was to make the classic board games to mobiles , with a an immersive social experience that allowed family and friends to be connected, even if they are miles apart.” Ahmad says. Ahmad Agarwal, who with Agarwal was employed as a team member at Moonfrog Labs before starting Gameberry.

Ahmad oversees the company’s art, product and UX divisions, while Agarwal is in charge of the technology and engineering divisions. Pradeep Gupta, a fellow IIT Kharagpur alumnus who is the founder of the company, is in charge of the growth and marketing.

Five years after its inception, Gameberry Labs today has two well-known social multiplayer games – Ludo Star and ParchisiStar–that have more than 200 million downloads and over 5 million active users per day. Two new games in the word and board games categories–Backgammon Friends and Word League–are currently being beta-tested in Turkey and the UK. “All the games in our portfolio are socially engaging and designed to enable players to break away from stress, connect and compete with others, while adding joy to their everyday lives,” Ahmad says. Ahmad.

“In the Indian gaming market, western players were at the top of the list earlier. But , then, offerings from developers such as Gameberry Labs and Gametion did amazing things–they analyzed the preferences of Indian gamers. They’re producing games that appeal for Indians of all age groups,” explains Roland Landers the CEO of the All India Gaming Federation. “They are disrupting the gaming market landscape in ways that was not possible a few years ago.”

In November of last year, Gameberry Labs went past the $100 million mark in total revenue. The growth was fairly steady during the calendar year (CY) 2017 through 2019. (CY17: $6.6 million; Cy18: $10.3 million; CY19: $7.5 million). It exploded during CY20 ($34.9 millions) in CY20 ($34.9 million) and CY21 ($40.7 million). The company is a bootstrapped business, has positive cash flow but none of the venture capital (VC) financing. “We were profitable in our very first year. We’re running at 50 percent or more Ebitda with a high ratio of revenue to employees ($400K). We don’t require VC financing to expand the company,” claims Ahmad.

Gameberry Labs began operations with the money of both founders. It operates a no-cost-to-play business model in which players are not charged for playing the game. But, they do can re-roll the dice with an in-game virtual currency known as “gems” that can be bought in the shop section. “This monetisation model has worked for us,” Ahmad says. Ahmad. The revenue is generated by IAPs (IAP) in the game, as well as reward ads. “IAP monetisation drives the revenue model for us… 70 percent of our revenue comes from IAPs and the rest from rewarded ads,” He states. Saudi Arabia, the US and Spain are among the most lucrative revenue sources.

The closest competitor for Ludo Star Gametion Technologies’ Ludo King which became a household name during the outbreak. It has had over 700 million downloaded, and boasts to be the most record-breaking games for casual gaming in mobile’s history’. The challenge of capturing the online Ludo-playing community from the most renowned games in the marketplace is Gameberry’s biggest task.

According to a report from the IBEF (Indian Brand Equity Foundation? ) According to a report by the IBEF (Indian Brand Equity Foundation? Indian gaming industry is now surpassing that of the US by a its user base, which has surpassed 300 million. Mobile phones are the mainstay of the Indian gaming market with gaming apps that are based on phones representing 86 percent gaming apps total in 2021. India also saw the growth of 22 percent in the popularity of mobile games by 2021.

According to Landers his research, the online gambling market in India has an average CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of over 28 percent after Covid limitations were removed. Landers believes that in addition to games like Ludo King and Ludo, multi-player, and single-player hyper casual games developed in India have become popular and have taken the Indian market to the top of the list. 

Despite the fierce competition, Gameberry Labs claims to distinguish itself from the other. “Both our top games – Ludo Star as well as Parchisi Star– have made us aware of the dynamics of player versus player (PvP) within mobile games extremely well. Over the last five years, we’ve thoroughly understood the retention and monetisation aspects associated with PvP game,” Ahmad says. Ahmad.

In its market research of existing Ludo games The Gameberry team found out that a board game named Parchis/Parchisi had a deep roots within Spanish culture. The people of Spain, Morocco, Colombia and Mexico were as in love to Parchisi similar to the one that Indians were the connection with Ludo. “While Ludo still had some competitors and a couple of games were good, Parchisi had an untapped market. We made the decision to start Parchisi and then focus on Ludo Star. To help leverage development efforts we developed a system where both games operated from the same codebase.” Ahmad says. Ahmad.

The games of Gameberry are designed for the primary motives of players who play table-top games that are played in the PvP mode, along with a monetisation feature that doesn’t hinder the player’s retention

“The expansion and evolution of our games to a mini-social platform that is extensively used to make connections with new people and establish connections is among the unique factors that have created our games to be so well-loved. Each of our boards includes a narrative. These games helped players to find their life partners, reconnect with old friends and connect with family members.” Ahmad explains. Ahmad.

The case of Raja Sahu, a 40-year-old watchman in a housing trust in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, Ludo Star was a blessing hidden in the wake of the lockdown. 

The creators of Gameberry affirm the fact that Ludo Star has evolved into something more than an online game. It is now an avenue for communication and connecting.

The gaming market for mobile phones is the fastest growing segment of all other sectors in the entertainment and media industry. With the availability of cheap mobile phones and internet connectivity across the nation the number of gamers on mobile will likely to surpass 500 million in 2023-24. “We believe that in the next 10 to 15 years, gaming and metaverse will be the core of the media and entertainment economy in India,” Landers says. Landers.

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