Bengaluru | Kolkata: Online gaming companies, which got their first unicorn in Dream11 earlier this month, are on a talent hunt as they race towards growth, riding high on improved technology, greater proliferation of smartphones, cheap internet and increasing data penetration.
It is the next big thing in the startup ecosystem, after travel, e-commerce and fintech, with the industry seeing quite a few positive developments of late, say experts.
The sector, which is fast catching up with international growth, is set to add 190 million gamers and hit the $1 billion mark by 2021, says the ‘Online Gaming in India’ report by KPMG in India and Google.
The global mobile gaming sector is set to touch $100 billion in annual revenues during the same period, according to the Global Games Market Report by Newzoo, a global provider of games and e-sports analytics.
Not surprisingly, industry players are hiring aplenty, with salaries ranging from Rs 5-6 lakh for freshers and going up to .`1 crore for experienced workers joining from companies such as Microsoft and Amazon.
As they ramp up operations, companies are on the lookout for front-end and back-end engineersNSE -0.31 %, product managers, and those with experience in game logic and graphic design. They are also scouting for branding and marketing professionals, and those with experience in user experience, user interface and game logic.
These companies are offering incentives such as employee stock option plans and joining and retention bonuses to retain talent in an increasingly competitive landscape.
“The industry has always attracted good quality talent but not in the quantity needed,” said Mayank Khanduja, principal at SAIF Partners. “Now, these companies get a chance to scale up, they should be able to attract more and more talent as they give employees a chance to work on world-class products and participate in value creation via ESOPs.”
For instance, Junglee Games and Games2Win are looking to hire at least 100 people each over the next year.
“Phones and data plans have been affordable for a while now, but we’re just beginning to hit the sweet spot of gaming awareness — and this is being driven in large part by the social nature of mobile gaming now, or friends inviting friends to play,” said Ankush Gera, founder of Junglee Games.
Junglee Games is hiring data scientists, mid-to-senior level engineers, as well as marketing, acquisition, and branding professionals. Games2Win, which grew its headcount by almost 40% over the last year, is hiring programmers, graphic artists, game designers, quality testers, game monetisation managers, and product managers.
“We are also hiring for more offbeat roles like automobile engineer — to guide us through the car games we publish,” said Alok Kejriwal, CEO of Games2Win.
PlaySimple is looking to ramp up its team by 50, hiring for engineering, design, and marketing functions. The company is offering ESOPs and other perks to retain talent, says CEO Siddharth Jain. Gameskraft plans to add about 30-odd people to work on its new offering Gamezy, a fantasy cricket game, currently in the beta phase.
“We prefer those who have worked in B2C startups and have experience in scaling up consumerfacing apps. In the past, we have hired from Flipkart, Myntra, Swiggy, and Grofers,” said founder Prithvi Singh.
Octro is looking to hire about 20-odd employees, in business and product management, operations, data and engineering.
The company, which currently has 95 employees, is targeting 5-10x growth in user base and revenues, said CEO Saurabh Aggarwal.
99Games is considering hiring for positions in programming, design, art, and marketing streams. The company is actively conducting workshops in engineering colleges to build awareness about the gaming industry and attract talent, said Anila Andrade, AVP of operations.
Earlier in April, fantasy sports gaming platform Dream11 joined the unicorn club after Steadview Capital invested $60 million through the secondary route, ET reported.
In the last couple of months, others such as GamingMonk, BalleBaazi and HalaPlay have also raised capital. While GamingMonk raised $100,000 from Japanese company GameWith, BalleBaazi got $1 million from Baazi Games, and HalaPlay received Rs 40 crore from Nazara and DeltaCorp.