If you can move fast and keep your head while doing it, you’ll be light years ahead of the competition." --That’s just one of the wisdom nuggets dropped by Anirudha Pandita, the founder of Loco, at our recent Twitter Spaces.
Loco is the biggest game streaming platform in India, and we heard that they’re going Web3 with their new project - Legends. So we invited Anirudha in for a chat to talk about everything Loco, Streaming, NFTs, Web3, community, and much more.
Here’s a recap for ya!
Loco came about from the other company that Anirudha founded, called PocketAces. Anirudha and his team saw that interactivity at the level of consumer internet was an untapped market for India and built Loco as an answer to that. The team wanted to create something that was interesting, interactive, and could be used by millions across the country.
Loco’s genesis coincided with the dramatic boom in the Indian gaming scene, fuelled by the rise of mobile arcade games in 2019.
The company and its founders were really in the right place at the right time with the right skillset. They had experience in building consumer-facing internet products(PocketAces) and also in dealing with creators. They understood that gaming has the potential to bring out talent from pan-India and did not limit their product to any regions or demographics.
Building for the Community
Loco was able to speedrun becoming the biggest streaming platform in India because the company learned from the mistakes of its global competitors(Twitch mainly). Anirudha gives the example of obvious features like scorecards and a rewind button that were missing for years on Twitch, but were available on Loco right out of the gate. The ability to move fast and the humility to really listen to their community is Loco’s secret sauce, apparently.
Here’s a fact for you—Loco is bigger than Twitch in India. Anirudha credits this to Loco’s community-first philosophy. Loco deeply understands the Indian market and believes that mobile gamers can become just as big as desktop streamers if given enough support and opportunity. Plus, it’s also a smart business move to build for mobile, as "Digital India" has 400% more mobile users than desktop users.
Quote from the convo: "Loco’s a place where people go from being normies to gaming superstars."
Loco just opened up the waitlist for their first NFT project, called "Legends."
What’s Legends, btw? One of the core values of Loco is to supercharge the interactivity between creators on its platform and their fans. Legends is the latest extension of that value which leverages Web3 technologies like NFTs. The new platform will allow fans to support their favourite creators by buying their cards or virtual merchandise that they put out. It’ll also enable the creators to build special experiences for their biggest fans. Previously, we've seen major football clubs do something similar, but Loco is bringing it to India through Legends.
What has changed since Twitch popularized game streaming a decade ago?
According to Anirudha, the most important drivers of esports and game streaming growth in India were increasingly intelligent mobile devices, faster internet, and the UPI payment system. These technologies enable millions to connect, share, and transact at a speed never seen before. What’s even more mind-blowing is that these systems are getting better by the day.
We have gradually digitized every aspect of human life. In the past, it was common for people to go to a stadium to support their favorite sports team. Now we see people logging into streaming platforms to support their favorite streamers playing a digital version of that game.
Gaming and Web3
Anirudha explains why ownership tokens(FTs, NFTs) are a game changer for gaming through this: if you’re a big Liverpool fan, God forbid if the club shuts down tomorrow, you’ll still have your club related paraphernalia(caps, cards, jerseys) with you. But imagine if your favorite game shuts down tomorrow. What happens to all the virtual assets you collected there? They’ll vanish, Poof!
For the first time in gaming history, Web3 allows gamers to truly own their in-game properties.
Web3 is a set of technologies that enable creators to design novel fan experiences. For example, say you buy an NFT share in Kanye West’s next album. Using the Web3 stack(NFTs in this case), Kanye can not only share the ownership of his album with the fans but also provide special perks to the holders, such as backstage access, concert tickets, etc. The possibilities are only limited by the creator’s imagination.
Anirudha said that Web3 will also enable interoperability between games. He says right now, two games don't really connect with each other due to IP rules, business models, etc. If we remember correctly, this was also the case with legacy(movies, art, songs) media, but with the rise of the internet(memes, youtube videos, digital art), that changed. Anirudha believes Web3 has the potential to do the same for gaming.
Gaming and blockchain-based assets are a natural fit. As gamers are already accepting of the idea of virtual assets compared to other demographics, Gamers have been dealing with in-game assets and virtual currencies since the dawn of video games, essentially. The only change web3 brings to this experience is that now these assets will also have value outside the game’s economy.
Loco plans to lead the Indian game streaming market with Web3 technologies, and we’re here for it. If you believe you've got what it takes to entertain Indian gamers, then join Loco and start stream-rolling the competition. You can also just enjoy the content put out by their amazing creators, too.