“Bringing traditional games to online space is a winning strategy in India”


With the mass availability of smartphones, end consumers are getting enormous amount of computing power in their hands and gaming is one of the fastest growing segments in India that can consume this computing power.

Companies such as Junglee games are betting big on gaming and are busy creating their own special space within the gaming segment by virtue of their unique offerings.

Ankush Gera, CEO, Junglee Games speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s present focus and its growth plans.

Ankush Photo

What are the key areas of focus for Junglee Games today?

Social and real money skill based casino games and sports IP. These are some of the key areas of focus for us today.

Please share some of the big innovations that are being driven by your organization?

Optimizing technology for a market with connectivity issues and most of the country being on 2G connections. Building feature rich apps with large build sizes and fancy aesthetics may be a USP in the western markets.  But with mostly a base of low end smart phones and slow connectivity, we stride to build UI rich apps, and push the envelope with 2D and 3D while optimizing for speed, size and performance at the same time.

Creating promotions and sweepstakes that are compliant with Android and iOS policies in order to have more engagement – Indian users on free to play games need to be incentivized to stay. Offering them even small recharges and gifts works really well and something that other developers have missed the boat on; simply because it isn’t needed in mature gaming markets.

Boosting organic growth by understanding what works in this market – inviting friends with a real world incentive via Whatsapp is way more powerful than social sharing on Facebook.

Circumventing the largely terrible payments ecosystem and acknowledging that at least for the near term, Indian gamers may not monetize the way their western counterparts do.  Offering everything from ads to other in-game branding offers that monetize without making the UX obnoxious for users while we wait for the payments ecosystem to change is something we’ve consistently focused on to help us achieve some of the highest average daily revenues per user in the Indian gaming industry.

Investing in customer support and loyalty, the two largely overlooked areas in gaming when you have a large user base.  We have everything from a VIP customer support hotline to dedicated CS reps who answer every single email and phone call, even if it comes from a player who just plays for free.

Conducting offline events to blend with online. We host the World Rummy Tournament every year where 300 odd players compete for a 1 crore cash prize.  A large percentage of these players are online players who finally get to put a face to our brand, and to each other.  The trust and loyalty this builds in addition to the brand is priceless.

How do you look at the gaming industry in India? What are the uptapped opportunities here?

Bringing traditional games that are popular offline, to online is a winning strategy.  Games like Teenpatti, Tambola (Bingo) have lots of offline players and they love a platform where they can play anytime, anywhere.

At the same time understanding that people in India don’t necessarily want to race rickshaws in a village within a game.  They are equal to our western counterparts which is why games like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush are top ranked on the charts.

With that said, bringing some of the mythological stories gamified into the mobile ecosystem is another untapped opportunity.

How do you look at the growth prospects in India? how are you going to achieve this growth here?

We’ve been doing fairly well in terms of growth with over 10M registered users across all our games and revenues in the double digit millions every year.  Hustle + deeply understanding the market + investing heavily into growth while prioritizing data and customer loyalty are some of the key reasons for our aggressive growth to these user and revenue milestones.

What kind of market segments and users are you targeting for your products in India? How are you reaching out to your potential customers?

It varies based on the game – certain games like Rummy are popular in South India (Andhra, Tamil Nadu etc) where as Maharashtra and Delhi are top markets for games like Teenpatti.  Cricket is surprisingly popular as a game in tier 2 cities.

Most of our acquisition is digital. We use ad platforms and networks to acquire but have a strong criteria for growth hacking and getting organic growth where users are the one who spread our brand leading to strong network effects.

VR or virtual reality is pegged to be the next exciting space as far as gaming is concerned. Your comments on this and what is Junglee doing in this space?

I think India is still pretty nascent when it comes to VR.  Very few people can afford the Oculus here, but there are cheaper alternatives on the market that plug as covers on top of your mobile devices.

VR is pretty far from our key areas of focus so we don’t anticipate Junglee getting into this in the near future but we never say never.