Interview

"KamaGames committed to embracing new tech": Studio CEO talks blockchain, Instant Games and player appeal

"KamaGames committed to embracing new tech": Studio CEO talks blockchain, Instant Games and player appeal

It's been a busy year over at social casino games developer KamaGames. Earlier this year the developer delved into the highly competitive slots market on mobile, adding them into its flagship title Pokerist.

The social casino game already boasted a slew of titles from baccarat and roulette to poker and blackjack, with the integration of slots working much the same way with new slot games added each month.

KamaGames also become one of many companies to get in on Facebook's Instant Games platform for Messenger.

It had already previously developed an HTML5 version of its flagship title Pokerist: Texas Holdem Poker for the VK platform. But Facebook's two billion-plus user base, of which over 1.3 billion are active on a monthly basis, is understandably a draw.

KamaGames has now entered into the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency landscape with the launch of its own KamaGames Token (KGT).

Working in a similar method to other tokens, the KamaGames Token will use existing Blockchain technology and the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform.

We caught up with KamaGames CEO Andrey Kuznetsov to get the inside track on what the company has been up to.

PocketGamer.Biz: What’s the thinking behind the continued expansion of the Pokerist app with extra games such as slots and craps? Does that risk dividing your audience?

Andrey Kuznetsov: I do not think so no. Kamagames has always strived towards constant engagement of our players be they fans of poker, blackjack, slots, craps etc.

The introduction of new games to our portfolio allows us to keep users excited and engaged which in turn eventually leads to better retention and loyalty to the game.

Through our research, we have seen that adding new games allows us to increase the overall session duration and also that more than 51 per cent of our players plays at least two games per visit to the Pokerist App.

Another point is that while certain players visit the app to play certain games, it is very easy for them to try games they have not tried before such as baccarat or craps, in fact, we encourage players to try new games through deal quests and achievements and later cross-promo into headline products.

Pokerist

All of these positive influences on our player outweigh any potential negatives through “cannibalisation” and we also see a significant amount of synergy too.

KamaGames is committed to exploring and embracing new technologies and new ways to engage with our players.

As we’ve said several times before, our goal is to be the social casino operator with the most comprehensive portfolio of social casino titles in the world and we are taking some significant strides towards that goal.

Over the next six months, we are going to be launching more new products, several new platforms, some high profile partnerships and of course some portfolio-wide updates too.

You grew revenues significantly in 2017 and in the first half of 2018. What’s powering that growth and how will you continue to do that?

Such strong growth is made possible due to a number of keys factors, which include; the development of new products and features, the superior quality of our new 3D games, aggressive marketing campaigns, international partnerships such as the PokerNight in America Show and Yoozoo as well as the release of our various games on several new platforms such as Facebook’s Instant Games platform and Samsung’s Galaxy App store.

We have a clear vision of what we want to achieve and our development roadmap is planned several years.
Andrey Kuznetsov

We are planning to keep doing that and grow further. We have a clear vision of what we want to achieve and our development roadmap is planned several years.

How do you keep players engaged over time? Liveops is the industry buzzword right now, is that something you’re focused on?

Very much so. Releasing new products is only half of what we do and Live Ops is a huge focus for us as an operator.

It is crucial to provide players with new content, features and other updates to keep them engaged all the time.

To stay competitive with not only the rest of the social casino industry but also the wider mobile games industry as a whole we drive daily quests, launch special playing modes with their game mechanics, host themed events and also hold some player tournaments every week too.

To complement this already strong existing LiveOps strategy we are not only creating an opportunity to purchase our in-game currency at a significantly lucrative rate which will already boost player retention, we are also arranging for the players holding KGTs to receive additional bonus chips every day for the following six months.

Pokerist

Finally, over time, players will be able to exchange KGTs for higher and higher numbers of chips the longer they hold them.

Players will be rewarded with a maximum 11-fold growth for leaving their tokens untouched. All of these activities are focused on keeping our player engaged within the game ecosystem.

We were the first social poker game to be launched on the messaging app platform so we are continuing to build our core audience at a strong and steady pace over time.
Andrey Kuznetsov

If they have not played for a short while, we’ll re-engage them with Push Notifications, emails and other types of retargeting and generally make sure they are kept up to date with all of the new games, features and different ways to play within the Pokerist app.

You’ve released Pokerist on some messaging apps. How have these platforms, such as Instant Games, performed for you regarding attracting users and generating revenue?

So far the numbers are looking promising and we can see that there’s a huge potential for growth.

We were the first social poker game to be launched on the messaging app platform so we are continuing to build our core audience at a strong and steady pace over time.

Do you see a trend in general of social casino games continuing to become more popular on mobile and messenger platforms?

Looking specifically at mobile, this is the main platform for us and will continue to be due to its high market penetration and global availability.

We are seeing an increasing number of reports that are showing a very clear increase in mobile gaming's overall market share as well as a continued decline in desktop gaming.

Pokerist

I have no doubt the mobile platform will be the most dominant among social casino developers for sure.

I have no doubt the mobile platform will be the most dominant among social casino developers for sure.

When it comes to messenger platforms, by their very design, social casino games are deeply intertwined with multiplayer features, such as chats, rankings, invitations to play, private tables etc. which all resonate well with the instant messenger using audience.

That said, messenger gaming is not without its issues. While there is a huge audience that can be reached, there are still some monetisation challenges yet to be overcome on these types of platforms.

What’s attractive about blockchain technology that has led you to this token sale?

We have found that more and more of our players are asking if they were able to buy chips with cryptocurrencies and so we wanted to look into what the potential options were and how viable it would be.

As an operator we are committed to constantly looking at new ways to improve our games and innovate in the social casino industry, trying to offer something new and exciting to our players, and the launch of the KGT is a perfect example of this.

The overall KGT strategy is that we are actually executing a marketing / promotional campaign to attract new players and to reward our existing ones by giving them the opportunity to buy our in-game currency, virtual chips, at a more lucrative rate and to also receive additional bonus chips during the first six months.

Pokerist

The objective is not to raise funding, nor are we looking for any form of investment, the KGT is simply a “proxy” to purchasing KamaGames’ virtual currency at the most lucrative rate.

It's possible for anyone to buy a KGT and exchange it for virtual chips via an official KamaGames player’s account. KGT holders who have a player account can link their tokens to their account and receive daily bonus chips and any other discounts, bonuses or services that we may make available exclusively to token holders in the future.

It's a well-known fact that the cost of acquiring new users in the social casino genre is becoming challenging and incredibly expensive.

If they do not have a player account, they can create one easily via the Pokerist app.

It's a well-known fact that the cost of acquiring new users in the social casino genre is becoming challenging and incredibly expensive.

With this in mind, we believe that the KGT sale will help KamaGames potentially reach a whole new audience through crypto/blockchain technology as we will be speaking to untapped areas of players globally that have not heard of KamaGames or Pokerist before.

From a players’ perspective, do they understand enough about it to know the benefit for them?

We are going to be doing a significant amount of outreach to our player base to ensure they are 100 per cent informed on what we are doing and that the messaging is clear.

We have a dedicated website containing all of the details both our existing and new players could need.

We do see a significant percentage of the KGT we make available at launch being purchased by our top tier, VIP players. Our players know the value of chips and they can estimate what KGTs can give them over time.

The players who keep their tokens the longest (up to three years) will receive the most benefit since their value will increase by 25 per cent per month for 36 months. Players will be rewarded with a maximum 11-fold growth for leaving their tokens untouched.

We are obviously interested in attracting new players too. We already have eight games within the pokers app and we aim to launch more games and several new platforms before the end of the year.

If you consider the host of new features and content that we regularly add to our existing portfolio combined with this great opportunity to purchase our virtual currency at a reduced rate, this should be more than enough to entice new players to come and give us a try.

The KGT will not be affected if something happens to the main global cryptocurrencies such as ethereum and bitcoin.

New players simply have nothing to lose if they want to give any of our games a try as they are of course free to play but if they want to join in the token sale, each KGT costs just $1.00.

Senior Editor

Craig Chapple is Senior Editor of PocketGamer.biz and InfluencerUpdate.biz. He was previously Deputy Editor at Develop and Online Editor at Nintendo of Europe.

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