SuperGaming CEO Roby John Talks Mobile Gaming and Crypto

Roby John is the CEO of Pune-based gaming company SuperGaming.

Together with Sanket Nadhani, Navneet Waraich, Christelle D’cruz and Sreejit J, he co-founded the company in 2019.

In 10 years, the founders have created several game startups.

And SuperGaming was one of the first Indian companies to enter Y-Combinator, an American tech startup accelerator.

SuperGaming has since created many mobile games that have millions of players.

Roby John leads the company as CEO and he spoke to DESIblitz about his adventure in mobile games, SuperGaming and crypto game development.

Tell me a bit about yourself – background and education

I have an engineering background. I have completed my BE from Pune College of Engineering.

I worked for AmberPoint in Silicon Valley for almost five years. Everyone there had been writing code for many years and there was a culture of it.

In India you have to point a gun to someone’s head to write code whereas in the West what we saw was people writing code for fun, like singing, paint or make music.

What we realized working at AmberPoint is that just making a great product is enough to create a great business. Writing code that others can’t write was the real jugaad.

These experiences helped me when I founded June in a bungalow in Pune in 2009.

We first created a nightstand app for iOS and had 900 downloads on day one.

Seeing the response, we decided to launch on the App Store. With the launch of the iPad in 2010, our team of 5 people developed educational games for it under a brand called ‘TapToLearn’.

The project has been a resounding success with more than 30 million downloads of its games like Math against zombies and Small countries.

TapToLearn ran from 2011 to 2015, after which June transitioned from educational games to making real free games.

What inspired you to create SuperGaming?

We wanted to create games that would be played for years and by global audiences.

Our goal has always been to put India on the global map.

The country is known for its massive player base but never known for game development. We want to change this perception.

How long did it take to launch the business and were there any challenges?

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We started in 2009 in June. In the beginning, we made iOS games and had great success.

We have decided to continue developing games exclusively for the App Store.

With the launch of the iPad in 2010, we developed educational games for it under our TapToLearn label which garnered over 30 million downloads of its games like Math against zombies and Small countries.

“TapToLearn ran from 2011 to 2015, after which we transitioned into developing free-to-play games as June Gaming.”

There was no turning back after that.

In 2019, we launched our games publisher brand SuperGaming to better fulfill our guiding principle that people play games for years.

When it comes to challenges, the important factor that most outside of space don’t realize is: an increase in installs and players doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in revenue.

The concept of paying for apps and making in-app purchases has yet to catch up. Increasing revenue was the main challenge for us.

Who is your main audience?

Our audience is wide and crosses age groups.

Silly Royale for example, has 16 million players worldwide. The majority of them are children and adolescents who use Silly Royale as a game and a social platform to hang out with their friends through features like voice chat.

MaskGunon the other hand, has over 60 million players with a community that cuts across the usual demographics of age, location and race.

Considering their size, both games have players in India as well as other countries.

What was your introduction to the game?

I joke around and tell my mom that I’m finally doing what she persuaded me NOT to do.

My bucket list item is actually making the game PAC-MAN for mobile platforms today in the world, which I think was the first game I played as a kid.

I grew up playing on a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) where I played endlessly. I’m assigning port specs because I used to play an NTSC console on a PAL TV with horrible contrast.

I realized that playing games brings me the best in terms of perseverance, never giving up, not being afraid of failure, strategizing and collaborating with others.

I believe games make you the best version of yourself and somehow the endless game I did in college also led me to a gold medal in engineering.

Today, I see the same with my kids (8 and 11) who started making games naturally like many of their generation (and my mom is still yelling at them for playing for so long).

What do you think makes mobile games more popular than console games in India?

The large number of smartphone users coupled with cheap data plans is why mobile games are so popular.

Most Indian consumers use a smartphone as their primary device for accessing the internet.

It also helps that the competition between smartphone manufacturers is fierce and offers consumers devices with high-end specifications at an affordable price, which allows them to enjoy graphics-intensive games.

That’s not to say there’s no merit in making games for the console audience.

“Both PS5 and Xbox Series X have seen higher than usual growth since launch.”

And for many, consoles and PCs are the most ambitious part of the gaming ecosystem right now.

In fact, that’s why we’re building our Indus battle royale for console and PC as well, in addition to mobile.

Have mobile games evolved over the years and how?

Mobile games were once seen as casual experiences, to be consumed in short bursts. Usually while on a commute or in a queue. It changes.

Now, the biggest and most successful games are high-fidelity, console-quality experiences with top-notch production values ​​and deep gameplay and story.

Add robust online features that drive social interaction and it’s no surprise that mobile gaming is more important than console and PC combined in terms of revenue.

Mobile platforms have embraced the best of their larger-screened counterparts, with affordability being their main differentiator – more often than not, access to the best that mobile has to offer only costs your data cap and nothing else.

Can you tell me more about the development of your crypto games?

We recently announced Tegro, a comprehensive Web3 games ecosystem enabling gamers, game developers and investors to unleash the potential of Web3 in the best way possible – sustainable, transparent and fair.

We have partnered with Siddharth Menon, co-founder and COO of WazirX, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

To add to its knowledge and experience of building a sustainable market, SuperGaming brings its expertise in creating games with over 300 million players and nearly 100 games developed.

We’re hard at work developing our first games for Web3 and the Tegro Marketplace and we’ll have more to share soon.

What future for SuperGaming?

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Our teams are currently working on the recently announced game, industrialan Indo-futuristic battle royale for PC, consoles and mobiles.

The game will be playable this year.

There are few battle royale games that prioritize lore and history and none that approach Indian culture with a futuristic twist.

“So, industrial will be a one-of-a-kind experience for players upon release.

We will continue to bring new modes to Silly Royale.

The ‘Squid Royale’ mode has been a huge success for us bringing players together to hang out and try out some of our new experiences, be it social deduction, hide and seek, cops and robbers or even our vision of the survival genre based on squid gamewhich was well received and a huge success.

Finally, we’re starting something new with our approach to Web3 games via Tegro.

SuperGaming seems to be working on a lot of exciting projects, including a move into the cryptocurrency space.

With over 120 employees, Roby John and the other co-founders built SuperGaming from the ground up to create enjoyable and immersive mobile games.

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