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UGC games platform YAHAHA powers up with $40m investment offering a host of new experiences to players

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UGC games platform YAHAHA powers up with $40m investment offering a host of new experiences to players
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YAHAHA, the community focussed user-generated content (UGC) games and entertainment platform, has announced it has secured a Series A+ investment of $40m to continue to grow its player experience. The funding will be used to improve the platform on every level, from content to events and competitions. With 100,000 users flocking to the platform since its Early Alpha launch in April, players can look forward to a host of new features, game modes, additional genres, and more, as the continuously evolving platform launches itself to new heights. Players can enjoy thousands of cross-platform high-definition games and social spaces that allow them to jump in anywhere and instantly interact in real-time for free, with no download required, seamlessly realizing their dreams in a digital reality.

A vocal champion of democratizing 3D game development, YAHAHA’s community of creators ranges from indie studios to students, to hobbyists and players. One of the core tenets of YAHAHA is that anyone can make 3D content, and its tools make it easy for anyone with a creative mindset to make quality cross-platform experiences for players to explore. YAHAHA makes creating a game or social space as easy as drag and drop, with extensive templates, toolkits and easy-to-use tutorials. This evolving stream of content gives players an array of unique and bespoke gaming experiences, created by a dedicated community of game lovers.

Dual-Headquartered in Finland and Shanghai, YAHAHA was founded in 2020 by an expert group of Unity veterans. YAHAHA’s thriving ecosystem invites players to take part in games and socialise with friends in real time, in worlds that have been crafted by its growing community of talented creators. There are infinite opportunities with YAHAHA – and with this new round of funding, players can expect more high-quality experiences in both the racing and shooting genres, which are being made possible for the very first time.

Chris Zhu, CEO at YAHAHA, said: “We’ve seen fantastic growth in YAHAHA throughout the Early Alpha stage, with over 100,000 people signing up. We are building on a strong foundation of talented creators, and bespoke, expertly crafted games, experiences and social worlds for players to enjoy.

“A litany of opportunities await us in the virtual world, and we want to be on the cutting edge of it with YAHAHA. To do this, it’s imperative we continue investing in our platform and in the community that got us to where we are right now. We are welcoming more players, and continuing to pioneer by investing in our platform and by building relationships with brands that share our values. Together, we will make YAHAHA the go-to platform for players to enjoy user-created multiplayer games and to socialize with friends in real time.”

Determined to fully support its community, YAHAHA hosts frequent in-platform events where creators can win real cash prizes. These events act as a way to mobilize the community to create experiences around specific criteria, which have seen great success in the platform’s Early Alpha stage. With this investment, YAHAHA hopes to take these events further, with game jams and Creator Houses to continue fostering a community of creators.

YAHAHA was founded by Chris Zhu (CEO), Pengfei Zhang (COO) and Hao Min (CTO) to give creators the tools to unleash their creative talents on a new digital frontier. This investment follows a previous Series A raise of $50 million, taking total funding secured by YAHAHA to almost $100 million in two years.

Gaming

GALAXSYS and PIN-UP PARTNERS Unveil an Exclusive New Game

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Hayk Sargsyan, Chief Executive Officer of Galaxsys
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Galaxsys and PIN-UP PARTNERS have collaborated to launch a new exclusive turbo game – Hamster Mania.

Galaxsys, a pioneering gaming studio, continues to deliver exceptional gaming experiences with its latest collaboration with PIN-UP Partners to launch Hamster Mania.

Hamster Mania, a fun and user-friendly turbo game, offers players a straightforward and engaging gaming experience. The objective is to secure the highest possible winnings by tapping on the hamster character within a circular frame, earning odds with each tap. Unlike traditional turbo games, players place bets directly on the hamster, with winnings displayed instantly. The game features multiple difficulty levels, affecting both risk and potential rewards.

Hayk Sargsyan, Chief Executive Officer of Galaxsys, expressed his enthusiasm about the launch of Hamster Mania. He commented, “We are always innovating and collaborating, and this time, we’ve teamed up with PIN-UP Partners to bring a unique offering to the industry. Our teams have worked closely together to ensure seamless integration and make this collaboration truly exceptional.”

The PIN-UP Partners team is also very excited about the upcoming launch of Hamster Mania. They commented, “At PIN-UP Partners we always strive to offer our affiliates and partners the best and most exciting developments in the industry to take their revenues and profits to the next level. We deliver outstanding results and foster stronger partnerships through innovation, transparency and expertise. By supporting and partnering with companies like GALAXSYS, we stay at the forefront of the industry with unique games and the best offers for our affiliates.”

Hamster Mania will be available exclusively at PIN-UP for the first two months following its launch, before becoming accessible to all network partners. More information about the game will be presented during the iGB Live event in Amsterdam.

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Gaming

Swedish Games Industry Announces 15 Culturally-Significant Games

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Dataspelsbranschen, Sweden’s trade association for video game companies, has revealed a list of 15 gaming treasures which have deep significance in Swedish culture. The games were selected by an expert jury of historians, industry leaders, and academics, following hundreds of nominations from the general public. 

It was in December 2023 that Sweden’s minister for culture Parisa Liljestrand gave a committee the assignment to develop an official culture canon. Whereas it was not specified which artforms should be covered, Dataspelsbranschen took the initiative to develop one for games.

Celebrating Sweden’s rich gaming history over almost 50 years, the ‘game culture canon’ includes a range of genres, platforms, and release years. Alongside classics such as Stugan and Europa Universalis, the list also includes newer releases such as The Battle of Polytopia and It Takes Two. 

The full list, which can be found below, was created in response to plans by the Swedish government to create a cultural video games canon of the nation’s artistic achievements. To encourage the games industry to be included in this initiative, the ‘game culture canon’ was handed over to the chair of the official canon committee, Lars Trägårdh, in the presence of minister for culture Parisa Liljestrand at the policy summit Almedalen on the 26th of June. 

This seminal list of Swedish gaming treasures is released at a time when national games industries are fighting for governmental recognition of their economic and cultural significance. Likewise, debates over video game preservation continue to grow louder, with the Video Game History Foundation noting that 87% of classic games are not accessible to play. 

Per Strömbäck, Spokesperson of Dataspelsbranschen, commented:

“Games should be recognised as culture for several reasons: games are culture to the players, who relate to them similar ways as audiences in other art forms. Games are culture to the game developers who have the same drivers as other creators: the will to express, create something new and communicate with their audience. Games are also culture to society as they reflect the world we live in and have a rich history which is now being recognised by museums and other institutions. Also games are unique in that they are interactive. For these reasons, we think it is fitting that games have a canon too.”

Christian Lövstedt, General Manager at Midjiwan, the creators of The Battle of Polytopia, added:

“Sweden has a rich and diverse gaming history which has shaped many of today’s most popular titles. We are both honoured and excited that The Battle of Polytopia has been selected to this list. Gaming is an indispensable contributor to the Swedish economy, reaching audiences across the globe. We hope this list will continue to highlight the significance of this industry to decision-makers.”

According to Dataspelsbranschen’s 2023 Game Developer Index, the nation’s games industry revenue grew to EUR 3.1 billion in 2022, with 8,445 people working in Sweden’s games industry during the same year.

 

Selection in full:

  • Stugan, Developed by: Kimmo Eriksson, Viggo Kann, Olle E Johansson, 1978/1986

  • BackPacker, Developed by: Tati Mixedia, 1995

  • Europa Universalis, Developed by: Paradox Interactive, 2000

  • Ground Control, Developed by: Massive Entertainment, 2000

  • Battlefield 1942, Developed by: DICE, (Digital Illusions CE) 2002

  • Amnesia – The Dark Descent, Developed by: Frictional Games, 2010

  • Minecraft, Developed by: Mojang, 2011

  • Toca Tea Party, Developed by: Toca Boca, 2011

  • Candy Crush Saga, Developed by: King, 2012

  • Star Stable Online, Developed by: Star Stable Entertainment, 2012

  • Goat Simulator, Developed by: Coffee Stain Studios, 2014

  • The Battle of Polytopia, Developed by: Midjiwan, 2016

  • Budget Cuts, Developed by: Neat Corporation, 2018

  • Sayonara Wildhearts, Developed by: Simogo, 2019

  • It Takes Two, Developed by: Hazelight, 2021

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Asia

National Video Game Day 2024 – The mainstream breakthrough of Indian esports and Olympics aspirations

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The video gaming and esports industry in India has witnessed a meteoric rise in the last few years. With a rapidly growing audience and player base, the industry has commanded attention from brands and investors alike.

According to a FICCI-EY report, total esports tournament participation is projected to reach 2.5 million participants across various titles, compared to 1.79 million in 2023. Additionally, airtime for esports broadcasts is set to increase to 8,000 hours from 6,500 in 2023, with a rising average minute audience.

Tournaments such as the Battlegrounds Mobile India Masters Series (BGMS) have recently announced their third straight season being broadcast on a mainstream sporting network, changing the way esports is consumed and marking a significant milestone in the sector’s acceptance. India’s participation in major multi-sport tournaments such as the Commonwealth Esports Championships 2022, where the nation’s DOTA 2 team won bronze, and the Asian Games 2022 where esports debuted as a full-fledged medal sport, has further validated its competitive stature.

While states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and others are undertaking various initiatives for the development of esports, the country’s honourable Prime Minister has also advocated for the growth of the sector. With the International Olympic Committee (IOC) also set to discuss the creation of the Olympic Esports Games during the upcoming Paris Olympics, the future looks bright for esports in India.

Sharing his thoughts on the evolution of esports from a pastime hobby to a mainstream sport and form of entertainment, Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder and Managing Director of NODWIN Gaming stated, “More than a decade back, gaming was nothing but a hobby of a few passionate gamers, with small groups of them organising scattered community competitions across the country. We started NODWIN Gaming in 2014 to streamline esports in India with a vision to bring opportunities for video gaming enthusiasts throughout the country. Looking at the scenario today, we can indeed say India has come a long way. The industry has gained immense popularity and legitimacy among the masses, attracting interest from celebrities, brands, corporates and traditional sporting organisations alike. We will continue to contribute to this growing ecosystem and try to further shine the deserving limelight on gaming and esports. In the near future, we envision esports getting the same mantle as traditional sports, especially with the IOC announcing plans to create Olympic Esports Games and we, along with the Global Esports Federation, are honoured to work alongside the industry stakeholders to achieve that common vision!”

In addition to gamers and gaming creators, Indian game developers are also making significant strides with games inspired by the country’s rich culture and mythology. Games like ‘Ludo King’ which recently surpassed 1 billion downloads, and ‘Raji: An Ancient Epic’ exemplify this trend.

Another promising upcoming title that highlights the potential of homegrown developers is the Indo-futuristic ‘Indus Battle Royale’. Developed by Pune-based SuperGaming, the game has recently surpassed 11 million pre-registrations.

“Over the past decade, India’s gaming industry has transformed from a niche pastime into a mainstream entertainment medium. The surge in mobile gaming, fueled by the high number of smartphone users in the country, has made gaming more accessible to a wider audience, driving the industry’s growth. The creativity and innovation brought in by Indian game developers have produced unique and culturally rich gaming experiences, earning international recognition that has placed India firmly on the global gaming map,” commented Roby John, CEO and Co-Founder of SuperGaming.

Despite India being predominantly a mobile-first gaming nation due to high data penetration and affordable smartphones, there has been a noticeable surge in interest in PC gaming. Beyond hardcore gamers, PCs are increasingly utilized by gaming creators and streamers for content creation and editing. The rise of the creator economy indirectly fuels the growth of the gaming PC ecosystem in India.

Recent data from Valve highlights that Asia, including India, is one of the fastest-growing regions for Steam users, with a more than 150% increase in new users from 2019 to 2024. CyberpowerPC, the Number 1 Gaming PC manufacturing brand in North America which recently forayed into the Indian market promises to cater to this growing demand and create an overall thriving ecosystem that caters to diverse gaming preferences.

Highlighting the factors that will accelerate the rise of PC gaming in the country, Vishal Parekh, Chief Operating Officer, CyberPowerPC India said, “The growth of gaming in India, evolving from arcades and gaming cafes to an official sport, is remarkable. While mobile serves as an entry point for gamers entering the ecosystem, the shift towards more immersive experiences on larger screens is becoming inevitable. Additionally, PC-based esports titles prominently featured in major sporting tournaments highlight the importance of gaming PCs for grassroots development and achieving success in these events. At CyberPowerPC, we are excited to support the country’s growing PC gaming community and give them an immersive experience along with a competitive edge.”

Another monumental trend catapulting video gaming into the mainstream is leading streaming and social media platforms increasingly embracing gamification as a strategy to engage users and attract new audiences. Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Google Pay, Zomato, and LinkedIn have all integrated gamification features to tap into a massive and engaged audience.

“I have been a part of the gaming and esports industry for over a decade and it is fascinating to see how the industry has evolved and grown over these years. For example, esports was a niche, limited to a few people and now it is on its way to be integrated as a new-age sport. Today, gamers of all ages and backgrounds have become active contributors to the sector’s growth, and it is amazing to see how gaming has cemented its place in mainstream culture. Through movies, TV series adaptations and gamification via social media platforms, delivery apps as well as streaming platforms, it has become an integral part of our everyday lives, which was almost unimaginable till a few years back. This momentum is only going to grow, and the future of gaming in India looks incredibly bright. Max Level is committed to contributing to this growth and taking gaming to new heights across the nation,” noted Siddharth Nayyar, Co-founder and CRO, Max Level.

Without a doubt, the video gaming sector in India is on an upward trajectory, and looking ahead, the sky’s the limit!

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