Incepting And Scaling Up a Bootstrapped Online Gaming Company In India The industry is at a nascent stage yet starting an online gaming company can be a highly lucrative economic venture

By Ankur Singh

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India has seen a significant increase in the number of start-ups in the last decade, which has changed the entrepreneurial landscape. As of August 29, 2022, there were approximately 77,000 DPIIT-recognized start-ups in 656 districts around India, making it the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world. Having said that, incepting a start-up is easier said than done.

The market is flooded with new and exciting start-ups from across the segments. Along with the rise in online gamers every second, there are over thousands of start-ups in this industry in India already. The industry is at a nascent stage yet starting an online gaming company can be a highly lucrative economic venture owing to the promising growth of the sector. One of the major factors fuelling the development of the industry is affordable technology penetration.

The established gaming start-ups besides the unicorns are generating a fortune since the gamers are willing to pay to play. However, establishing a bootstrapped start-up in the field requires a deep dive in the industry, nationally and internationally as well.

Sketching out a business plan

First and foremost, it is the idea that will drive the start-up. Once a concrete objective is sketched, it is the research that plays a vital role. Considering the online gaming industry is a burgeoning industry, there are a lot of new developments happening on a regular basis, nationally and globally. Moreover, there are a lot of media activities ongoing as the industry grows. Hence it becomes extremely crucial to have done your research well. Basis the same, one can determine how feasible the idea is and how the idea can be transformed into a profitable venture.

Additionally, in the recent years, India has developed several incubation and innovation centres to support the start-up community and draw entrepreneurs towards business leadership. Propelling the start-up ecosystem of India, the Indian government has been a backbone in the growth of early-stage gigs by providing relevant infrastructure and progressive policies including a dedicated website for the same.

Mapping the plan

Once there is a thorough understanding of the industry and the start-up ecosystem of India, it is now time to plan the product and offerings. For the online gaming industry, we have an array of products/games genres to offers, such as fantasy, card, casual, arcade, sports, puzzle, trivia, word-game, role-play, etc., and deciding if the games designed would be for iOS, android, windows or all. Once the product(s) is selected a SWOT analysis in line with the product market aids in concretizing the strategies. This analysis further maps out the target audience, their pain points, and touch points, and accordingly, a unique selling proposition can be derived. Having a product USP is one of the most determining factors for incepting as well as scaling up a start-up.

Devising the legalities

As the on paper strategies are at place, it is necessary to figure out the most fundamental legal formalities required for any online gaming company. Beginning with a trademark registration that protects company's name, logo and individuality. Further, a copyright registration safeguards the games by restricting anybody else to use the idea without permission. Followed with this, a GST registration is the responsibility of any service or goods provider in India. In case of online games, the platform that hosts the game is considered the provider and hence liable of paying a tax.

Once the company is incorporated and the intellectual property rights are secured, basis certificate and licenses required for the online gaming company like RNG certification, Responsible gaming policy, Anti- money laundering policy, third party platforms and services, terms and conditions, cookie policy, etc., are required to in place. For the mentioned certifications India has independent self-regulation federations where the gaming companies can be associated with ensuring that the law and order is followed.

Building the brand

Once the foundation of the company is conceptualised, it is now time to build a promising team that aim to work together with their goals aligned to the company's. Like any other company/start-up, these sectors also requires a set of professionals in the stream of HR, finance, legal, R&D, product innovation and development, etc. Having a passionate team is equally important to sustain the start-up.

With a strong team in place, a marketing and sales strategy is yet another aspect that determines the users and success of the brand. With the era of Internet, a promising digital marketing strategy also contributes to a strong user base and help in spreading a word around the brand.

Summing up

A blend of a curious mind, a crystal-clear objective, and passion determine the success of the start-up. A compelling narrative around the brand aids in positioning the brand across its customers and consumers.

Ankur Singh

CEO and Founder, Witzeal Technologies

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