Leo Burnett's Venkat Mallik to join Level Up! as MD

MUMBAI: After a one and a half year stint with Leo Burnett as national director, Venkat Mallik has put in his papers at the agency to join a new gaming company called Level Up! in the capacity of managing director.

Mallik's last day at Leo Burnett will be 5 January, 2005 and he is slated to join Level Up! on 14 January, 2005.



Level Up! is the first Filipino online gaming publisher with presence in three countries namely Philippines, Brazil and India. In India, the company has pioneered the first massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG). For the first time, thousands of players from all over the country can play together in a virtual world, in real time, over the Internet.



The first game that the company has introduced in India is called Ragnarok Online, which has already begun its free Beta testing period to adapt to the local style and culture, including technical testing for connections to the game. The service will officially launch in early 2005.



Speaking about the same to indiantelevision.com, Mallik says, "Gaming is a new craze around the globe and we are looking at tapping the youth in a big way with our games. Our first game - Ragnarok - teaches strategy, word skill, reading comprehension and unlike other games, is not just about violence. It also has universal appeal to boys and girls alike."

Talking about his shift from Leo Burnett, Mallik says, "Just like in an ad agency, here too a significant amount of brand building is involved and we will be looking at creating online and offline relationships with our target group."

Level Up! is headquartered in Manila and was started by a group of entrepreneurs based out of Philippines. In India, the company has a presence in four cities - Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai. Mallik says, "As of now we are present in four cities but we will be looking at extending our operations to the other metro and non-metro towns of India."

While the gaming business is only a few years old, it sure is becoming the next big thing. Mobile gaming has already picked up pace in the country and online gaming is not far behind, with Reliance Web World gaining steady popularity among the youth. Mallik's game plan, on the other hand will be to 'level up' to the challenge.

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