Bandai Namco Entertainment, the Japanese gaming giant behind titles such as Pac-Man, Tekken and Elden Ring, has made an investment in Pune-based game development studio SuperGaming, the company announced on March 17, signifying the growing investor interest in Indian gaming studios.
The investment was made through Bandai Namco's startup investment fund "Bandai Namco Entertainment 021 Fund," which was announced in April 2022. While the deal size was not disclosed, the fund typically invests between 10 million and 500 million yen ($75,000 to $3.75 million) in each startup.
"Through this investment, we will seek to expand our business by combining our expertise in IPs with a deeper understanding of the Asian market, which is expected to grow further in the future," Bandai Namco Entertainment said in a statement.
Founded by Roby John, Sanket Nadhani, Christelle D'cruz, Sreejit J, and Navneet Waraich in 2019, SuperGaming has developed several popular games such as the multiplayer shooter title MaskGun, social deduction title Silly Royale, tower defence game Tower Conquest along with a Web3 variant Tower Conquest: Metaverse Edition. The company claims to have more than 300 million players across its games portfolio.
It is also building an ambitious made-in-India battle royale title called Indus, which is heavily inspired by Indian culture and mythology and has the Indus Valley civilisation as its backdrop. It is set in ‘Indo-Futurism,’ which the company describes as a futuristic world that is “unapologetically Indian in its exploration and representation of science fiction.”
Read: How SuperGaming plans to build India's Fortnite with Indus
SuperGaming is also building a live-ops game engine called SuperPlatform, for which Bandai Namco Entertainment is a customer. The firm's official Pac-Man game, which has over one billion downloads across all storefronts, is powered by SuperPlatform.
Available to game developers as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, SuperPlatform helps them manage live operations, matchmaking, player progression, player data, analytics, monetisation systems, server scaling, sales, and merchandising, in addition to integrating with popular game development platforms like Unity, Unreal Engine, PlayCanvas, and Cocos Creator.
"Working on PAC-MAN was a bucket list item which I have been fortunate to tick off," said Roby John, co-founder and CEO, SuperGaming. "A customer becoming an investor is the biggest validation we at SuperGaming could ever ask for, so it's a tremendous honour to have Bandai Namco invest in us and join us on our journey of making games people play for years."
SuperGaming previously raised $5.5 million in its Series A financing from investors such as Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund, Skycatcher, BAce Capital and Dream Incubator.
With India’s gaming market reaching an inflection point in terms of scale and the propensity to pay, several gaming studios are increasingly basing their video games on Indian stories and themes for wider adoption by players.
These firms are also attempting to build ambitious and complex games that can compete with their global counterparts, a move that is attracting the attention of startup investors to this nascent but growing industry.
Bengaluru-based gaming studio Studio Sirah raised $2.6 million funding from investors such as Kalaari Capital and Lumikai in January 2023, while Giga Fun Studios, a startup building Indian culture-based casual games, secured $2.4 million in seed funding from Lumikai and Fireside Ventures in the same month.
Game development studio Bombay Play also raised $7 million from Kalaari Capital and others in April 2022, while nCore Games bagged $10 million in funding from investors such as Galaxy Interactive and Animoca Brands in January 2022.
JetSynthesys, which counts Kris Gopalakrishnan, Adar Poonawalla and Sachin Tendulkar among its backers, debuted a new gaming startup Jetapult in June 2022, through which it plans to invest up to $100 million to acquire gaming studios in India and other emerging markets on an invest-and-operate model over the next couple of years.