Turning Boring Office Tasks Into Games Got This M’sian Startup RM1 Mil In Their First Year
Dale John Wong
Gameka are a Malaysian game development company that creates games for mobile and console, with their game Kluno: Hero Battle being nominated for an award at Casual Connect USA 2018.
Gameka also heavily specialises in gamification for businesses, with solutions developed to improve areas such as employee satisfaction, training, and marketing. Gamification is a market that is expected to be worth US$11.1 billion globally by 2020.
Gameka were inducted into the TENxCLUB in 2017. Their inclusion into the club is a recognition of their work and success by the Global Entrepreneurship Movement (GEM) and by association, the Malaysian government.
When the founders of Gameka first decided to launch their game development business in 2015, it was all about the visceral joy of building and realising a digital world that people could explore, interact with, and immerse themselves into.
“As kids, we always dreamed of that one game idea, but failed to pursue as we grew older,” said Narishvin Sukumaran, Head of Marketing Communications at Gameka. “But one day, we sat down, had a chat, and said ‘why not try?’”
“Let’s make the game that we really want to play. A game that we can be proud of.”
Founded by Jason Yuen and Ho J-Son, Gameka was founded as a game development company focusing on creating their own intellectual properties in game genres that include Roleplaying Games (RPGs), digital collectible card games, and competitive multiplayer games.
But over time, they have moved from being a traditional developer to building games in a way that goes beyond the typical creation of single-player or multiplayer videogames.
Now, Gameka dabbles heavily in “gamification”—the concept of incorporating game-design elements into simple tasks. In the case of Gameka, they offer gamification to companies to improve engagement between employers and their staff, or between brands and their clients.
“The inspiration behind the conception of Gameka was the desire to build a triple-A game title that is wholly Malaysian,” said Narishvin. “We not only have the drive, but also the core belief that as Malaysians, we too can make it to the world stage by building a very good game.”
“But our unique selling point dwells in our ability to design gamification concepts.”
Games As A Tool For Growth
In describing how gamification works, Narishvin gave the example of a company that Gameka served who were in the middle of a transition that saw changes in its vision and values.
Instead of using more traditional methods such as plastering posters describing new values around the office, this client engaged Gameka to design an app that would encourage the real-life practice of these new values through mobile game dynamics, peer feedback and reward systems.
After a period of two months, all 120 employees had committed the new values to memory and were actually practicing them daily.
“Gamification is an innovative and cost-effective way to disseminate culture and training to a large workforce when compared to traditional classroom training,” said J-Son.
“This means that corporations now enjoy a more productive workforce that also feels rewarded and satisfied.”
The gamification service that Gameka provides can work to improve various different aspects of a business including KPI management, marketing, onboard training, and cyber security education—all through gaming elements.
They currently gear this service toward the B2B market, with multinational corporations and government companies among their current crop of clientele. But regardless of whom the client is, Gameka always caters their solutions to fit the need and problem in question.
“Our goal is to help businesses grow,” said Narishvin. “We share with them what they need to do and put in place before thinking of digital transformation.”
“If a potential client comes to us looking for a customer engagement app, we ask first what is their value proposition. If they haven’t yet figured that part out, we advise them to start with that before embarking on digital transformation.”
Receiving Critical Acclaim
But while their expertise in gamification is Gameka’s trump card, that’s not to say that their work in developing traditional games has taken a back seat. In fact, Gameka place alot of detail and care on the games they create.
One of their titles—Kluno: Hero Battle, was recently nominated for the Best Multiplayer award during the Indieprize awards ceremony at Casual Connect USA 2018, and they have also recently signed with an international publisher to have the game ported onto the Nintendo Switch.
Additionally, one other achievement that the Gameka team is extremely proud of is their acceptance into the TENxCLUB.
The TENxCLUB is an NGO created by the Global Entrepreneurship Movement (GEM), and recognises Malaysian startups that have hit RM1 million in revenue within their first year of inception. Gameka was officially welcomed into the club just last December, with Prime Minister Najib personally welcoming the team into the fold.
“To be recognised by the Malaysian government for our work and success is one of our greatest achievements,” said Narishvin.
Building upon this, the Gameka team are hoping to become a team player within the TENxCLUB by partnering with existing club members and affiliates. The founders hope that by doing so, their business will be better equipped to target and service clients on a global scale.
“We look forward to compete with American, French, and Australian companies to capture the gamification market for training and development,” said J-Son.
Playing The Game Right
As for the future, Narishvin says that Gameka plans to take advantage of the large growth that is expected to happen within the gamification market globally.
The gamification market worldwide is expected to be worth US$11.1 billion by the year 2020, and Narishvin said that they are ready to tap into that rapidly growing demand all while maintaining the quality of their service and products
He also thinks that the level of excellence associated with their services has become a marketing tool in itself.
“In 2016, we had no gamification customers. In 2017, we had three. And while it’s only been two months into 2018, we now have five new customers with eight more in the pipeline,” said Narishvin. “This was all accomplished through word of mouth alone.”
Gameka now has plans expand their services to the rest of Southeast Asia, Australia, and potentially to the USA, with plans to leverage upon the resources received from the TENxCLUB to eventually enter the B2C market.
Additionally, they also hope to develop more new game IPs, such as an upcoming game called NETTWORTH that will coincide with a competition featuring a US$10,000 prize pool at launch.