Zupee’s Dilsher Malhi on responsible gaming, Ludo in the digital age and more

Dilsher Malhi, Founder, Zupee discusses Zupee’s focus on skill over chance, the 28 percent tax on online gaming, responsible gaming practices and more.

By  Indrani BoseMay 11, 2024 9:16 AM
Zupee’s Dilsher Malhi on responsible gaming, Ludo in the digital age and more
Dilsher Malhi, Founder, Zupee

There is increasing popularity of indigenous and traditional Indian board games, fueled by nostalgia and cultural affinity. Tier 2 and 3 cities are currently leading the charge, with a surge in online gaming adoption. Enter Zupee – with games like Ludo, it’s aiming to make family games more appealing for the digital age.

By instilling Ludo with skills and rewards, Zupee has made online real-money gaming an engaging experience for its players. Currently, Zupee now has over 80 million registered users and has emerged as India’s largest skill-based Ludo gaming platform.

Dilsher Malhi, Founder, Zupee discusses Zupee’s focus on skill over chance, the 28 percent tax on online gaming, responsible gaming practices and more.

Take us through Zupee’s growth journey?

Zupee was founded in 2018 with a vision to revolutionize the skill based online gaming landscape in India. Zupee identified an opportunity in the Real Money Gaming (RMG) industry, which is primarily divided into three segments: Fantasy, Card, and Board games. Despite the dominance of fantasy cricket and card games, there was a noticeable demand for traditional Indian board games among users.

Recognizing this gap, Zupee seized the opportunity & became the first company to introduce skill-based elements to Ludo, creating a new category of skill based ludo games. This innovative approach paid off as Zupee's flagship game, Ludo Supreme, quickly became one of the most popular games in terms of active users.

By instilling Ludo with skills and rewards, Zupee has made online real-money gaming an engaging experience for its players. Currently, Zupee now has over 80 million registered users and has emerged as India’s largest skill-based Ludo gaming platform.

How is Zupee innovating Ludo with focus on skill over chance?

At Zupee, we place players at the heart of our innovation & growth strategies. Zupee has infused Ludo with skill elements, transforming it into a more strategic and engaging experience, some of the variations are :

In some game formats offered by Zupee, there's no dice involved, adding an intriguing twist.

We've introduced time-based formats combined with point scoring, testing players' motor skills and strategic thinking against opponents.

Another innovative format replaces opponents with obstacles, challenging players to maximize scores by overcoming hurdles.

In Zupee’s Ludo Supreme, all four tokens are open to play from the start, eliminating the need to roll a specific number to begin.

Zupee's Ludo variations (Ludo Supreme, Ludo Supreme League, Ludo Turbo etc) incorporate features like time limits for strategizing, option to skip moves adding depth to the gameplay & maximizing player’s skill.

How is Zupee promoting responsible gaming practices?

At Zupee, we've taken proactive steps to ensure a safe, fair & enjoyable experience for all players. We provide a wealth of resources and information on our platform to educate players on healthy gaming habits. Our platform includes a Responsible Gaming Module allowing users to set limits on time and money spent on our platform. Furthermore, we have integrated blockchain technology into our gaming platform, this ensures fair & tamper free outcomes and creates a level playing field for all players.

Our games are RNG (Random Number Generator) certified, offering players reassurance of fair and transparent outcomes. Zupee's games are deliberately designed to be short, typically lasting only 8 to 10 minutes, ensuring players don't get too engrossed in gaming.

Moreover, we prioritize the well-being of our users by enforcing an age restriction—only those 18 and older are allowed on the platform. We cater to a wide range of players with both ‘free-to-play’ and ‘pay-to-play’ options ( with entry fees as low as Rs 1).

Where is the business coming from the most?

The charm of classic board games like Ludo, combined with the accessibility of mobile gaming, is driving growth across all demographics! While Tier 2 and 3 cities are currently leading the charge, with a surge in online gaming adoption, we're thrilled to see an upward trend in Tier 1 users as well. This tells us that Ludo's appeal transcends age and location – it's a game families have enjoyed for generations, and Zupee's format makes it perfect for the digital age.

How is Zupee working around the 28% tax on online gaming?

The introduction of the 28% tax on online gaming has undeniably posed challenges to the industry as a whole. At Zupee, we take a responsible and compliant approach to navigating this new taxation landscape while striving to minimize any impact on our operations and our users' experiences, by sharing some of the burden.

Looking ahead, we believe recognizing online gaming as a category can be seen as a positive development. It signifies the government's acknowledgement of the online gaming sector's potential, paving the way for clearer regulations and industry legitimacy.

What market trends and consumer insight have you been noticing?

Firstly, with the rise of skill gaming & growing demand for mobile gaming, there's a noticeable convergence of skill and entertainment, creating a unique intersection that's resonating with users.

Additionally, the emergence of gaming as a legitimate profession, with increased interest in the sector as a lucrative career path, contributes to its exponential growth. We're also tapping into the growing adoption of online gaming in tier 2 and 3 cities, ensuring accessibility for all.

Moreover, it's fantastic to see more women not only enjoying gaming, but also emerging as leaders in the space. We're also integrating AI and cloud gaming technologies to enhance user experiences and stay ahead of the curve.

The increasing popularity of indigenous and traditional Indian board games, fueled by nostalgia and cultural affinity, is also noticeable. Moreover, with the shift towards online entertainment and gaming, fueled by increased smartphone penetration and affordable internet access, Zupee is well-positioned to meet the evolving needs of our users.

What’s the area of focus in advertising and marketing for Zupee in 2024?

Zupee’s prioritization of channels is based on the resonance with the target audience. Channels typically include a variety of digital platforms, social media, influencer partnerships, TV advertising, and strategic sponsorships.

At Zupee, our overarching aim is to enhance brand recognition, drive user acquisition, and foster meaningful engagement with the skill based gaming community, while solidifying our position as India’s largest skill-based Ludo gaming platform.

First Published on May 11, 2024 8:07 AM

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