When it comes to an ‘esports experience’, the mobile gaming market already offers far more than one might expect.
It’s a part of the industry that has seen unprecedented growth over the last few years. Titles such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang or Garena Free Fire are reaching exceptional numbers in terms of both viewership and player base, and the enormous prize pools in PUBG MOBILE’s esports circuit are enviable by almost all established titles and scenes. Furthermore, the skyrocketing popularity of newly released mobile titles, such as Riot’s League of Legends: Wild Rift, indicates that mobile gaming looks to continue developing in the near future too.
Evidently, there is a market opportunity here, for both existing and growing audiences worldwide. As a result Gamerpro, a mobile-only platform where gamers compete against each other to compete for real money prizes, was created. Players are required to top-up and deposit real money before playing. After games are completed and the victors are determined, winners can quickly and easily make withdrawals.
Because the application only works with mobile games, that are both skill-based and have a PvP gameplay mode, it is positioned as more of a casual alternative to professional esports, allowing players to back themselves only, and earn money from mobile gaming.
Moreover, Gamerpro partners with a variety of mobile game publishers to connect the platform with their games, thereby creating a new revenue stream thanks to the firm’s revenue share model.
Speaking to Esports Insider, Gary Sonyak, the CEO of Gamerpro, outlined the firm’s ambition: “Our vision is opening up the esports industry as a new revenue stream for mobile game publishers whose technological foundations are already in the alpha phase.”
The London based company launched its services in 2018, however, Gamerpro initially focused on sports-based console games. A couple of months later, the firm introduced its first mobile title to the platform, Clash Royale, and it was that decision which started the application’s rapid growth.
With games like PUBG Mobile or Wild Rift being specifically built towards mobile platforms, the mobile gaming scene has exploded in recent years. Aligned with the general rising interest in its esports scene, the company’s decision to introduce a mobile title resulted in significant growth, tripling all of Gamerpro’s metrics the day of Clash Royale’s implementation.
According to Sonyak, it was at this point that the company understood the power of the mobile gaming market. He said: “It was a significant milestone and largely what started us off on the path to focusing only on mobile games.”
In early 2019, a new version of Gamerpro, specifically optimised for mobile games, was released. The platform’s numbers in 2019 have seen 500,000 application installs, $1m (~ £739,000) in transaction volume and paying users spanning across 160 countries, confirming that this focus shift was the right move for the company. “These numbers were evidence of our belief that there is significant demand out there for the Gamerpro service,” shared Sonyak.
However, despite its rise in demand, one piece in the puzzle was still missing. “During this period, the user journey had several manual steps, since we did not have any direct contact with game publishers,” he noted.
Starting off 2020, the team developed a business model that would allow the platform to integrate mobile games which are both skill-based and have a PvP gameplay mode, offering mobile game publishers a new revenue stream via its competitive P2P service. Even though an awareness drive, via outreach to the publishers, had to be postponed due to the global pandemic, the initial interest in Gamerpro’s service was considerable.
“Thanks to social distancing, the demand for PvP mode has increased significantly in mobile games,” said Sonyak. “The timing of the outreach in the summer was perfect, since we created a new revenue stream for the mobile gaming industry, focused on integrating our esports service. We signed LOIs with the selected early adopters after just four weeks.”
To further accelerate and fast track its development, Gamerpro is soon launching a campaign on Seedrs. The equity crowdfunding round opens on January 11th and will go on until February 2021. Explaining the company’s decision to opt for the crowdfunding route, Sonyak emphasised the importance of community.
He explained: “We’ve long understood how the community is vital for gaming companies, that’s why we’ve decided to go all-in and offer mobile gamers and publishers a seat at the table. We will be part-owned by our players, as we look to stay true to our message: ‘Make Every Game Count’.
“It was along with this idea that we chose Seedrs, through which we can keep the acquisition process within a regulated framework and international standards.”
According to Sonyak, taking part in the second edition of ESI’s pitch investment competition The Clutch back in May 2020 also helped with setting up company’s investment plans: “The Clutch was a great opportunity to map out the challenges that we face in the new circumstances caused by COVID. There’s no doubt the pandemic is changing the entire global economy, not only industries.
“That being said, the gaming industry has come to the fore and the investment landscape is evolving positively. We believe that collaboration will be the new key to success.“
Gamerpro plans to use the finances it raises to accelerate the firm’s application programming interface (API) development, as well as expand the partner processing team and optimise its skill-based matchmaking systems.
“Collaborating with several mobile game publishers will ensure us more knowledge about the needs of both publishers and gamers in this new concept,” said Sonyak. “Moreover, it will help us further develop our thin API connection.
“Based on our current market research, social distancing accelerates multiplayer mobile gaming. That’s why we will continue to focus on mobile games which are both skill-based and have PvP game modes. We will make every game count!”
Gamerpro looks to firmly plant itself into the mobile esports ecosystem and its crowdfunding venture will not only help the company in terms of investment, but it will also highlight to the company if there is a need for its mobile platform. However, given Gamerpro’s early success in the space, it seems that the desire for this casual competition platform is already apparent.
Alongside the growth of mobile esports, Gamerpro’s Seedrs campaign could continue the string of successes that crowdfunding has given to other entities such as Fnatic and esports jobs platform Hitmarker.