PUBG developer Krafton leads $9 mn seed round in game streaming platform Loco
Photo Credit: 123RF.com

PUBG developer Krafton continues to build its presence in the Indian gaming market. After backing NODWIN Gaming earlier this year, the company has now led a $9 million (about Rs 66.8 crore) seed round in Mumbai-based game streaming platform Loco.

The round, a statement said, also saw investment from gaming media fund Lumikai, London-based Hiro Capital, and early-stage investors such as Hashed, North Base Media, Axilor Ventures, and 3one4 Capital.

Loco said it will utilize the funding to drive innovation across technology and content, with a goal to cement its position in the game streaming space which is dominated by the likes of Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming.

Since June 2020, the platform, which started off as an interactive game show in 2017, has seen its monthly active viewer and streamer base grow by 6x and 10x, respectively. Live watch hours have grown by 48x over the same period, with highly active users spending close to an hour on the platform on a daily basis.

It also runs various initiatives, including a creator program, to help new gamers begin with game streaming.

As part of this fund-raise, Loco said it will also be spun off into an independent entity from its parent Pocket Aces. The entertainment company had acquired Loco back in 2018 and will now see its founders Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh move to lead the gaming streaming platform. Meanwhile, co-founder Aditi Shrivastava will continue with the parent.

“Our platform empowers novice gamers to become household names and has built the foundation for the rise of a new creator economy in India,” Pandita and Suresh said in a joint statement.

“With this investment, we have been joined on our mission by the pioneers of the global gaming industry. This will enable us to create value for users in ways that no other game streaming platform in India can,” the statement added.

For Krafton, this is the second investment in India. The South Korean company last backed Nazara’s NODWIN Gaming and aims to invest up to $100 million in the country to promote local video games, esports and the local IT (information technology) industry.

The investment commitment was made by the company as part of an effort to make a comeback in the Indian market, following last September’s ban on its flagship game PUBG -- which halted its operations.

Just a week ago, it had launched the initial beta of Battlegrounds Mobile India, a slightly modified version of PUBG created especially for the Indian audience. 

“At Krafton, we believe gamers appetite is only increasing in consuming live video game content and Loco is best placed in India to provide a world class game streaming platform and it has built a passionate community around itself,” Sean Hyunil Sohn, head of corporate development at Krafton, said while commenting on the latest investment.

“Krafton plans to keep investing heavily not just in gaming, but also tech, media, and other related areas to support and participate in the growth of these sectors in India,” he added.

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