The Bangalore office of Flipkart, which has done well from online sales. Photo: AFP

E-commerce major Flipkart has acquired the intellectual property of the gaming startup Mech Mocha for an undisclosed sum, as it looks to increase user engagement and turn gamers into online shoppers.

The Walmart-owned company will take over the games developed by Mech Mocha and its gaming team will join Flipkart. Mech Mocha runs Hello Play, a regional language social-gaming platform in which multiple players can take part online.

Hello Play offers 10 games in seven languages and the popular ones include Ludo, Carrom, Snakes and Ladders, and Cricket. It has a good following in smaller towns.

Mech Mocha, founded in 2014 by Arpita Kapoor and Mohit Rangaraju, is backed by investors such as Accel Partners, Blume Ventures and Shunwei Capital. Flipkart had invested an undisclosed amount in Mech Mocha’s funding round in 2015 and the startup has so far raised around $6 million.

With this acquisition, Flipkart intends to develop newer formats on its own GameZone platform and attract casual gamers to its online shopping platform. It hopes to tap Hello Play’s users in small towns to build customer loyalty and provide them with a gateway to e-commerce.

In India, online gaming was growing steadily with the increased penetration of smartphones. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has provided a fillip to the industry with increased usage and normalization of online games as people spend more time indoors.

Gaming companies are witnessing a surge in downloads and an increase in the amount of time spent by users playing. A report by Kantar has indicated that 50% of smartphone users play mobile games and the average time spent per day exceeds an hour.

The Indian e-commerce space is currently dominated by Flipkart and Amazon, but a widespread shift is expected soon. Reliance Industries may expand its portfolio to include electronics, fashion, pharma and healthcare.

Salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group is also planning to roll out a super app to capture the e-commerce, streaming and tech services landscape. It may also pick up a stake in leading e-commerce grocery firm Bigbasket.

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