On the back of a recent deal with Woohoo Games, CasinoBeats caught up with Ulf Norder, CCO at QTech Games, for his latest views on this exciting growth market and others…
CasinoBeats: India has become a key target for QTech, simply put, what opportunities does the country present?
Ulf Norder: QTech Games has developed quite a track record for developing a packed pipeline of partnerships, opening up emerging markets with our nimble proprietary platform technology.
Of course, we already enjoy a progressive footprint across growth territories in Asia and the Subcontinent, but we are presently witnessing the greatest growth in India. That’s no surprise considering its ramping population of 1.4 billion and near universal 4G penetration, not to mention diminishing costs for smartphones and the internet.
That said, the cat is well and truly out of the bag as far as India’s enormous potential goes. Which is why the online sector has welcomed a raft of acquisitions over the past year or so, as operators plant their flags in the sand ahead of the coming crescendo. So, while the opportunities are tangible, the strategy and path to market must be more nuanced and localised.
Happily, after years of regulatory roadblocks, Indian regulations around online casino are finally beginning to be relaxed. The current coronavirus pandemic will simply accelerate this ongoing trend, as the shift to digital entertainment becomes all the more pronounced and timely.
“…it’s vital to corral a customisable suite of games which can speak to cultural taste or regulatory demands”
Accordingly, QTech Games has been offering operators the chance to become the integration partner for new content or studios, removing the hassle of integrations in order that internal tech teams can concentrate on value-added processes. It’s all part of our broader company slogan: one effortless integration for all growth and ‘margin’ markets.
CB: How does the Indian market, and crucially its players, differ from some of QTech’s other strong jurisdictions?
UN: Slots are in demand wherever you stick your pin on the map so far, but it is table games that are proving the definitive driver here, majoring in the mobile domain where QTech Games excels. From classics like blackjack, roulette and baccarat to regional regional favourites such as India’s Andar Bahar or three-card poker.
As with any Asian territory, it’s vital to corral a customisable suite of games which can speak to cultural taste or regulatory demands. The Subcontinent is no different. What works in Europe, won’t naturally migrate here. After all, the fragmentation of Asia for game design and regional differences (be they the result of player preference or regulatory requirements) can always surprise.
Thankfully, QT Play, our breakthrough recommendation engine, harnesses the ability to recognise local needs, suggesting a targeted portfolio that tracks user choice or prevailing market conditions. It achieves this by employing tech techniques similar to those digital-content giants over at Netflix and Spotify.
“…let’s just say that lazy assumption can be the mother of any mistakes and missteps”
CB: Recently you said that “many studios and operators have tried to implement their own Asian strategy but underestimated the time it takes”, why do you believe this is so?
UN: While many Western studios have been hesitant to enter the Asian markets directly, positively affecting the aggregation game, those operators that have tried have often misjudged the effort and time required to foster effective relationships in this part of the world. I can’t necessarily unpack all the misaligned motivations, let’s just say that lazy assumption can be the mother of any mistakes and missteps.
Naturally, there is also often a language or cultural barrier that can make it harder to gain legitimate footing, turning deal-making into a long drawn-out affair that frustrates or founders. QTech’s localised experience and multi-lingual network, though, seamlessly take the pain out of such problems.
CB: How does the recent Woohoo Games partnership enhance your presence in the country?
UN: Woohoo Games is a wonderful partnership in cementing our first-mover advantage in India. We’ve already touched on this importance but it’s well worth repeating that their localised suite of games for India – featuring Teen Patti and Andar Bahar – provides an eloquent example of how we’re appealing to different cultural tastes.
Alongside those core card games, there are also new RNG additions like Cricket Kings, whose sublime graphics and gameplay are tailored to give players an exciting experience in a country where cricket is king. Indeed, we’d like to think our combined ground-level insights are second to none for what operators and their players want.
“What works in Europe, won’t naturally migrate here“
By logical extension, this content also lets our operator-partners improve their acquisition and retention methods, leveraging bespoke marketing promotions and campaigns around these games to drive engagement. Ally them to other localised functionality (e.g. INR currency for deposit and withdrawal transactions) and these partners can quickly steal a march on their rivals.
Beyond India, what other emerging markets are catching the eye of QTech?
UN: It’s not my job to pick favourites! But having previously been more active in Europe’s margin markets, this wide-ranging panoply of possibility around emerging territories is one of the principal reasons why I joined QTech earlier this year.
QTech Games is the only company that’s active in all these markets. So, we’re not just the leading Asian aggregator but are also attracting clients from all over the world – Latin America, Eastern Europe and, as we’ve discussed, India. It’s an exciting time – particularly with the aforementioned trend towards the digitization of entertainment.