Hyderabad: Online gaming company Junglee Games has put Hyderabad on its radar to set up a game development and technology centre here. Availability of engineering and animation talents are the key reasons for it consider Hyderabad for its next phase of growth, according to its founder and Chief Executive Officer Ankush Gera.

Also, Telangana State has already drawn up a blueprint for an IMAGE Tower (Innovation in Multimedia, Animation, Gaming and Entertainment). This will bring together a host of gaming and animation players and will aid in fostering a conducive environment, he said.

"We want to come to Hyderabad. When we come, we will have a requirement for software engineers, animation personnel and people from liberal arts to support our plans. However, Hyderabad will not support our immediate growth plans. Telangana is one of the few States that does not allow Rummy, which is our flagship programme. Though it is a skill-based game, a few States are seeing it as online gambling. We have been working with authorities at various levels to explain our stand. Rummy is a game of skill, of strategy and is based on math-logic. Yes, there is an element of chance as well. We hope that there will be a common understanding soon what qualifies as a skill-based games and what as gambling," said Gera.

According to him, the card game is popular in South Indian states with Tamil Nadu leading the pack. "The number of players is rising from Tier II and III cities. This can be attributed to the faster internet speeds and higher penetration of smart phones. We are now focused on developing content in local languages including Telugu, Kannada, Marathi and Punjabi among other languages" Gera said adding it now has more than 25 million users and is hoping to cross 40-50 million users this financial year.

Founded in 2012, Junglee Games mainly operates from San Francisco and Delhi and has presence in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Austria, India, Vancouver, Argentina and Poland, he said adding the key products from his stable include Rummy, Eatme.io and Howzat Fantasy.

"We monetises skill games and tournaments like Rummy and Howzat Fantasy through a service fee and social games like Eatme through in-app advertisements and purchases," he said adding that there is no grey economy here as all users have to comply with KYC norms and all transactions are recorded. It is now working on a bird-themed casual game for the US market, carroms and ludo for Indian market.

The online Real Money Gaming (RMG) market in India is estimated to be worth around Rs 2,200 crore and is growing around 30 per cent per annum. In India, online Rummy has a huge share of the gaming market, followed by fantasy sports and poker respectively. A skill-based game, Rummy has seen tremendous growth in its online variant in recent years, the company said in a statement.

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