QTech Games CEO Jonas Alm explains why India looms as the most exciting new market for iGaming in Asia.
IAG: Firstly, can you tell us a bit about QTech?
Jonas Alm: QTech is the quickestgrowing game distributor in Asia. Our core aim is to simply source the best online (RNG) games globally and distribute them to operators in Asia. Mobile games naturally represent the cornerstone of the company at a time when the mobile market is ramping exponentially. Mobile growth in Asian gaming is even surpassing our bestcase projections.
In order to best capitalize on this phenomenon, we have built a wholly-owned and tailored technical platform that affords both games providers and operators the fastest, most straightforward integration on the market. Through this platform, clients enjoy the best performance and customer support available, ably abetted by our team who are fluent in English, Chinese, Indian and Korean. It’s all part of QTech’s ultimate goal to become the largest provider of digital entertainment in Asia over the next three years.
IAG: What regions do you see being the next major growth markets in terms of online gaming in Asia?
JA: I don’t think you can look past India’s developing market, which is where we’re seeing the biggest surge at the moment. Slots are perennially popular, but it is table games that are proving to be the clear driver. As with any Asian territory, it’s vital to supply a specific iGaming suite to meet with precise cultural tastes and regulations. The subcontinent is no different in this domain.
Other than India I’d say Japan and South Korea, which are two more roaring territories that have shown their hand for growth in recent years.
IAG: Why India?
JA: It’s a combination of demographics and maturing markets. India, for example, has a population of 1.3 billion presently developing faster than any other country – both economically and demographically. In fact, the World Bank expects India’s economy to also be the fastest growing over the next 12 months. It’s worth noting too that 87% of this keen gambling nation now have access to fourth generation broadband. You don’t need to be a statistician to decipher those numbers, even in a territory where most forms of gambling are still to be properly regulated.
IAG: What are the particular trends that you’re seeing in India right now?
JA: Baccarat has always been the answer in the back of the book for Asian gaming generally – certainly when comparing tastes with a western audience. When it comes to India-specific table games they mainly play Teen Patti, rummy and Andar Bahar while they also enjoy globally offered games roulette and baccarat. However, with the aforementioned escalating mobile levels and general availability of 4G, we’re seeing our RNG portfolio grabbing market share from “live” table games, as the random number generators slowly but surely earn trust and authenticity. Culturally speaking, it’s been far harder in India than East Asia to acquire that trust, but the tide is only running one way. In the long run, it’s just a matter of time before these dependable, immersive RNG games outstrip their more pedestrian forerunners for player engagement and sheer creativity. It’s all a question of the best content.
In short, Indian habits will gradually inch westwards in their appetite as the data comes in and players become conditioned to a good faith relationship with RNG and its ensuing possibilities.
IAG: How is QTech positioning itself to take advantage of this, and facilitating this change and demand?
JA: We’ve just launched QT Play, the first cross-provider recommendation mobile app tailor-made for the gaming industry, designed to meet this spiraling mobile demand. In an overcrowded iGaming marketplace, with an unrelenting flurry of new game releases, it’s easy for players and providers to feel flooded, even overwhelmed by the scale of choice and competition. QT Play swiftly distils this range with its cutting-edge recommendation software, whose machine-learning algorithms utilize similar technology to digital-content giants Amazon, Netflix and Spotify.
Players are accordingly suggested games commensurate with their personal favorites, which readily enhances their overall experience. These recommendations are based on familiarity of profile, content and playability, and perfectly capture individual user taste. In short, QT Play’s unique auto-curation algorithms match the right game to the right audience. It’s another industry first from QTech and is game-changing both literally and figuratively! Its potential application in a developing region like India is as huge as it is distinct.
IAG: How does the Indian market differ from other Asian markets, both in terms of the regulatory environment and also the characteristics of the players themselves?
JA: Widespread regulation is slowly arriving in Asia, but it’s a gradual process. India is, of course, an eloquent case in point. However, after a successful 2017 of tripledigit growth, improving the speed and performance of all games on the QTech platform, this recent launch of QT Play has seen us hit the ground running in 2018 with another tool that ensures our partners here are able to outstrip their rivals.
And while we’re currently seeing the biggest growth in India’s rapidly emerging space, it’s vital – as with every Asian territory – to supply the precise gaming portfolio for disparate cultural taste and regulation. The subcontinent is no different in this regard. QT Play’s ability to partition this Pan-Asian variety and parcellate it according to player preference and respective market requirements allows our partners to target any region with precision and confidence.
As I’ve said before, these neighboring evolutions across the continent come at their own pace and culture. There is no one overarching characteristic or regulation catch-all solution. Yet technology is the common lightning rod which conducts all the brightest sparks of progress. So no matter what the prevalent societal norms in India, these will invariably be overcome by the price and accessibility of tech and the fresh digital content opportunities they bring.
IAG: People often talk about the need to tailor products to the “Asian market” but the Asian market is quite broad and diverse. What about tailoring to the Indian market specifically – how important is this and what is required?
JA: It constantly surprises me to encounter even industry veterans who still seem bewildered at the patchwork multiplicity of the largest continent. Regulation and appetite may be temporary, even complex challenges. However, they are not immovable obstacles. Naturally, harnessing the untapped potential of almost 4.5 billion people is never going to be simple. That said, the Asian market is now projected to reach a worth somewhere north of US$18.5 billion based on a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% by 2022. So these are challenges well worth persevering with!
At QTech Games, we’ve made it our mission statement to understand and unpack these nuances and quirks, ensuring full compliance and the deepest levels of player engagement. As for India, teaming up with a domestic partner makes sense for garnering trust and local validation through the overlapping magisterial of competing rules and markets, such as working with the current Nagaland-Sikkim two-state solution.
IAG: Where does the Indian gaming market currently stand in terms of their adoption of the latest technology?
JA: At QTech Games, we’re dedicated to corralling the top RNG games and distributing them throughout Asia. It’s that simple, and it’s getting more simple with the advances to which I’ve already alluded: 4G and rising smartphone-adoption to name two telling trends.
As you might expect, the players themselves are the best exponents and stewards of this tech boom, especially the core 21 to 35-year-old bracket. Here, the gender divide between men and women gamers also continues to narrow, so a cutting-edge product range which speaks to gender equality in terms of thematic content and software will soon become the only game in town.