Amit Kushwaha, Head Brand Strategy, Gameskraft, in an exclusive chat with Mediabrief, speaks about Gameskraft’s popular offering RummyCulture, how it has been building healthy perceptions about rummy, and its recent campaign Culture of Champions. He addresses the challenges that lie ahead for the gaming industry and outlines how a regulatory body would benefit the industry.
Kushwaha’s career spans more than a decade across sectors like Agri, Rural, FMCG, Real estate, and eCommerce. Before joining Gameskraft he has worked with respectable brands like IMRB International, Nielsen India, Jabong, Oyo among others.
Tell us about RummyCulture, the motive behind choosing rummy as an online game, and what sets it apart from its competitors?
Launched in October 2017, RummyCulture is the first product from the house of Gameskraft. In a short span of four years, we have become one of India’s leading rummy platforms providing a seamless and safe gaming experience.
We chose rummy as a game to launch because of its rich cultural history in India that already enjoys good popularity. We also saw an underlying opportunity in the way other major platforms were operating at the time. We realised that we could improve the gaming experience for our users by using tech intervention at each stage, thus resulting in higher gameplay.
What was the strategy used by RummyCulture to onboard users during its launch?
During our launch, we focussed on a few differentiating factors. We have been giving instant fund transfers to our users since we started and have had the lowest time gap between withdrawal requests and the amount being credited to the players’ accounts.
Another major point we focussed on was the RNG verification & other tech interventions that we implemented. Our priority was turning the game into an enhanced and smoother experience which helped us not just in acquiring more users but also in achieving higher gameplay per user compared to the industry benchmark.
What are the DAUs and MAUs RummyCulture caters to, and has that number remained consistent post lockdown v/s pre lockdown?
Our Monthly Active Users ranges between 3 ~ 4 million and Daily Active Users ranges between 0.3 ~ 0.5 million.
RummyCulture has onboarded brand ambassadors like Harbhajan Singh, Mahesh Bhupathi, Abhinav Bindra, and Pankaj Advani. What results has their association yielded, and how involved with the brand are they?
We onboarded four sporting legends as our brand ambassadors and launched the ‘Culture of Champions’ campaign with them. The idea behind the campaign was that every player on RummyCulture is a champion and the skills used by these legends in their respective sports are also used in rummy.
We have seen good numbers in terms of participation as an impact of the association and the overall campaign. We have witnessed more than a 50% jump in website visits, healthy growth in google searches as well as CTRs on our all-digital campaigns.
Moreover, our digital mentions saw an increase of more than 100% and we noticed a strong association between RummyCulture and a positive perception of it being akin to a champion platform.
RummyCulture recently launched its ‘Champions ka Culture’ campaign. What was the driving message behind it?
With the campaign ‘Champions ka Culture’, we wanted to establish that rummy as a game requires skills that are also a prerequisite in playing sports like shooting, cricket, snooker, and tennis.
We want to dispel the assumption that rummy is just a game of luck. It requires a lot of skills such as concentration, strategy, proper planning, and calculation to succeed and that is what we wanted to put across. To bring this point home, we could think of no one better than these sports legends.
The coming together of these legends for the game itself strengthens the point we are trying to make – rummy is not a game of luck and requires skills. Anyone that has these skills can become a champion on RummyCulture.
A lot of users are hesitant to try out real-money games due to malpractices and credibility issues. How has RummyCulture been keeping its platform secure from these threats?
At RummyCulture, our constant endeavor is to make the platform most secure for all of our players, and keeping this in mind, we have taken multiple steps to ensure their safety. We always focus on making the game incredibly user-friendly so that our players can enjoy all that the platform offers without worrying about encountering malpractice. Here are some of the initiatives we have taken to increase the trust on our platform –
- ISO Certification- The only gaming platform In India certified by ISO 9001:2015
- RNG verified platform
- Limit daily & Monthly Add cash and we won’t allow one to add more cash on the platform
- History feature, allowing users to see their last 5 games and improve
- Instant withdrawal using IMPS & UPI
- 24×7 customer support in multiple languages making us the only platform which gives customer support to all users irrespective of their gameplay value
- A minimum distance of 1 Km checked before making the player sit at the same table
- Checking the profile of players, one is playing with to ensure they are not playing with any bots but real players.
What are your views on a regulatory body? Do you think with the growing popularity of online gaming, it would be required?
As a platform, we are always in favor of regulation. We strongly believe that proper regulation will help grow this segment more and give more trust to the players. As the segment grows, the need for regulators will increase as well. This will help put a curb on the fly-by-night operators which brings a bad name to the entire segment.
What do you think are some of the challenges surrounding the gaming industry? How do you plan to overcome them?
There are quite a few challenges the gaming industry is facing right now. Some of these include a lack of central guidelines as each state has its guidelines which makes it difficult to grow. That being said, as a responsible entity, we abide by all rules set by various government bodies.
Additionally, with the current users having access and experience to ultra-modern international gaming, their expectations from games have also increased considerably. To match up to this, it has been our constant endeavor to enhance our gaming experience and adapt to the ever-changing technology.
Factors such as low trust due to the negativity around the gaming segment have also been an issue, but through various technical interventions, we are making the online gaming experience 100% safe for all players.
What are your plans for RummyCulture’s expansion and growth?
We have seen healthy growth post lockdown and have been able to sustain that momentum. There has been good growth from the western and northern parts of India. We also aim to continue looking for new opportunities in various markets.
We have been constantly making efforts to change the way rummy is played and perceived to further increase its popularity in India. With campaigns like ‘Culture of Champions’, we would like to focus on the growth of the overall Rummy segment and gain more trust for rummy as a game.
We strongly believe that if we can build the healthy perception and positivity around rummy that it deserves, the growth of this game and our platform will automatically follow. Thus, instead of just focussing on the growth of RummyCulture, our focus will be on the overall growth of Rummy.
What are some trends in the online gaming industry that we should look out for in the future?
The online gaming industry has grown immensely in the past few years and its popularity will only increase in the future. Online gamers in India are projected to reach approximately 510 million, making India one of the highest growth markets in terms of the number of players joining online gaming.
Of course, better quality and affordability of smartphones, along with increased internet penetration, are key drivers behind this trend. Moreover, the market value of the gaming industry is expected to grow by ₹250 Billion by 2024.
Anything else that you would want to add?
We as a platform are committed to providing the best quality gaming experience to all our players and will keep working on improving the game to make it more enjoyable and trustworthy. Above all, we want our players to focus only on playing and enjoying the game.