NODWIN Gaming Talks About Turning Its Obstacles Into Opportunities

Abhimannu Das
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>NODWIN Gaming Talks About Turning Its Obstacles Into Opportunities</p></div>
NODWIN Gaming Talks About Turning Its Obstacles Into Opportunities


AFK Gaming

NODWIN Gaming raised $28 million USD in a funding round with participation from new and existing investors.
AFK Gaming and The Esports Advocate talked to NODWIN co-founder and managing director Akshat Rathee and learned more about the current state of esports and the organization’s plans for the future.
Rathee revealed that NODWIN has been able to turn some of the Indian esports industry’s obstacles into opportunities.

NODWIN Gaming raised $28 Million USD in a funding round from new and existing investors to boost its presence in the industry. Sony Group Corporation and Innopark joined NODWIN’s existing lineup of investors and the Indian tournament organizer is looking to use the funds to expand and incubate newer Intellectual Properties (IPs), grow the emerging market footprint of the organization and make strategic acquisitions. AFK Gaming and The Esports Advocate talked to NODWIN Gaming’s co-founder and managing director Akshat Rathee, who shared his company’s vision and gave us insights into the current state of esports.

NODWIN reveals that it turned Indian esports’ obstacles into advantages

The last few years have been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for the Indian esports industry and its stakeholders. PUBG Mobile, Free Fire and Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) were all key players in the Indian esports market and they were all forced to cease operations by the government of India on different occasions. 

BGMI is poised to make a comeback in the near future but its absence for 10 months has left a dent in the industry. Esports organizers have tried diversifying by shifting to other mobile titles like New State Mobile, but there was a significant difference between the viewership metrics. For comparison, ESL and NODWIN Gaming hosted the ESL Snapdragon Pro Series: New State in India which peaked at 51,177 concurrent viewers according to Escharts data and the total prize pool globally for the title sits at over $684,000. Despite being an India-only title, BGMI had over $1,136,000 in prize money and peaked at over 537,000 concurrent viewers which is 10X higher than New State’s peak. 

However, NODWIN Gaming managed to achieve almost 70% revenue growth this year despite the absence of the aforementioned games from the Indian esports market, Rathee revealed. In FY23, NODWIN generated INR 388.7 Crore in revenue, which is a sharp rise from its FY22 revenue of INR 210.8 Crore.

Rathee pointed out that one of India’s biggest strengths is its population. According to the International Labor Organization, 40% of the Indian population is aged 13 to 35 years old (defined as youth by India’s National Youth Policy). It translates to a market size of around 570 million. The number of Indian gamers is expanding at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% and is expected to grow to 700 million by FY25, which makes India one of the most lucrative markets for gaming and esports.

He feels that NODWIN’s business strategy aligns well with emerging markets. The company wants to focus on markets like India, Africa and the Middle East and it will be using part of its new funding to expand in the abovementioned markets.

NODWIN wants to focus on consumer-first IPs in its target markets and make esports accessible to anyone. Rathee envisions that esports IPs will transcend “pure esports” the same way Formula One has become a spectacle and not just a sport.

The road ahead for NODWIN Gaming

The tournament organizer seeks to utilize the majority of the investment to grow its existing ecosystem. Rathee revealed, “I am so glad I'm an esports company right now. I am so glad that I am based out of India right now. I am so glad I have investors who understand what I'm doing, and they appreciate me for what we have done and built.”

NODWIN is looking to test new products and services and find out what works best in each market. The company is more than just a tournament organizer with its business expanding to influencer management, esports IPs, music festivals, merchandising and more.

The company has managed to avoid the struggles that other stakeholders in the global esports industry have experienced. He feels that there is a stigma around esports in the west and businesses do not see esports as a profit-making venture. 

Rathee believes that the esports industry is in a “consolidation phase” and it will lead to the industry being smaller but stronger. With ambitious plans for its future, NODWIN seeks to be a part of this new and consolidated esports industry in the coming years.

Disclosure: NODWIN Gaming is a minority investor and a client of AFK Gaming.

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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.