In recent years, the gaming industry has seen an amazing rise in popularity, with online games becoming more and more popular among users of all ages. Making a contribution to the gaming industry, RummyCulture is a popular online platform that offers rummy games and tournaments to players in India. With a focus on providing a safe and enjoyable gaming experience, RummyCulture has now become one of the most loved online gaming platforms in the country.
We at StartupTalky interviewed Amit Kushwaha, Head of Brand Strategy, RummyCulture (from the house of Gameskraft), to learn more about the company's journey, challenges, and strategies. In our interview, Amit shared his insights into the rapidly-evolving gaming industry in India, how RummyCulture has contributed to industry firsts and the company's commitment to enhancing customer experiences.
Let us now look at Amit's responses to see what we can learn from our conversation.
StartupTalky: What does RummyCulture do? What was the motivation/vision with which you started?
Amit: RummyCulture is one of India’s leading skill-based online Rummy platforms. Since its launch in 2017, our aim has been to give every player a premium and hassle-free rummy-playing experience across our website, android, and iOS app. Our games are designed in a manner that anybody can play without facing any difficulties. We operate Rummy in multiple variants like Pool, Points, Deals, and multiple tournaments.
The key motivation with which we started, was to provide the best user experience to Rummy players. While there were several other platforms offering the chance to play rummy, we saw a unique opportunity to enhance user experiences in myriad ways such as introducing instant cash withdrawal, multiple variants, and a lot of features to boost user trust including the likes of round-the-clock customer support. We provide 24x7 support to not only VIP or high-value players but to all users. With such meaningful enhancements, we wanted to change the gaming landscape for online Rummy players in India.
StartupTalky: What is/are the USP/s of your products?
Amit: Our biggest focus area has been to provide the best user experience to our players whether it's in the form of game play, adding cash, its withdrawal, or being one of the most trusted platforms in this space.
A few features which really help us stand apart are:
- 24x7 customer support in 6 languages to all users.
- A ‘History’ feature where users can view the details of their previous 5 games to learn from them.
- 3P (Player Protection Protocol) - This ensures that each game played on the platform is safe and secure.
- RNG & No Bots certification from iTech labs.
- We are one of India’s only ISO-certified platforms.
- We have the Guinness World Record for organizing the World’s biggest online Rummy tournament. This is a testament to our technological prowess and capabilities in delivering unique customer experiences.
StartupTalky: How has the online gaming industry changed in recent years, and how has RummyCulture adapted to these changes?
Amit: Online gaming has been a rapidly evolving industry in the last few years and we are immensely proud of being at the forefront of that change. Low internet costs combined with affordable high-specification phones with increasing technological capabilities have really helped gaming players penetrate the Indian market. This has also allowed Indian gamers to be exposed to global games which have accordingly shaped their thoughts, references, and outlook on gaming.
RummyCulture has had a front-row seat in this journey and contributed significantly to several industry firsts. We are amongst the first platforms to offer the instant withdrawal of winnings, providing customer support to players across the board, and hosting game play which also works on lower network bandwidth.
As an organization, we keep our ears very close to customer feedback and continue working towards enhancing their experiences on the platform.
StartupTalky: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the online gaming industry?
Amit: As we said, we keep our ears very close to our customers. Regular customer interactions help us to consistently evolve in line with customer requirements. Features like ‘History’, where players get to study their last 5 games, and ‘Know Your Competitor’ where players can see the profile details of their competitors on the table, were developed post discussions with our players. We also keep a close tab on how the industry is shaping up, not just in India, but at a global level.
As a mantra, we truly believe that we need to be a step ahead of the user need curve to successfully provide them with best-in-class experiences.
StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check the company's growth and performance?
Amit: We are a highly numbers-oriented organization. A few key matrices which are sacrosanct for us include the Traffic on our website, Daily Active users, the Cost at which we acquire users, the Retention Rate of users, and Game play per user, to name a few. There are several other metrics that we thoroughly study, but the ones listed above are non-negotiable for us.
StartupTalky: What were the most significant challenges your company faced in the past year and how did you overcome them?
Amit: The biggest challenge that the entire industry faced at large, is that of the trust deficit amongst the general public. In order to combat misconceptions and tackle this challenge, we have focused on our trust-building features such as the ISO certification, RNG, and No bot certification across our communication efforts.
Along with this, we have also focused on several brand-building measures such as partnering with some of the biggest sporting names like Suresh Raina, Abhinav Bindra, and Harbhajan Singh, as our ambassadors. These partnerships have come as part of our larger “Culture of Champions” campaign. This year, we also collaborated with the Vijay Deverekonda starrer movie Liger as part of our brand-building exercise.
We have seen tremendous positive rub-offs from these activities on our UnAided awareness and our ranking on trust features in the brand track. A look at these results boosts our confidence that we’re on the right track when it comes to choosing and investing in our trust-building measures.
StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack which you pulled off.
Amit: Given the segment that we operate in, growth is significantly dependent on how much trust players have in one’s platform. We firmly believe that the biggest trust factor comes from the product itself, and not just marketing campaigns. That being said, with our strong product, we use various kinds of marketing channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Google ads alongside other tactics such as influencer marketing, movie tie-ups, celeb tie-ups, and playable ads, to name a few.
We don’t really believe in hacks and instead rely entirely on the power of numbers. Our experience shows that referrals have produced very good results not just in terms of the number of users, but also in the quality of users. Good word-of-mouth from players who have played with us is the best form of marketing that we can ask for. We have thus done a lot of work like personalized messaging and personalized offers for players in order to enhance referrals. As a segment, this has seen a lot of traction and growth.
StartupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run your business smoothly?
Amit: Today’s business is indeed dependent on a lot of tools and software and we are not immune to those. In addition to in-house technology, we also use a lot of third-party tools for data enhancement, insights, as well as for player communication.
StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in the gaming industry in India and the world? What kind of difference in market behavior have you seen within states in India?
Amit: As per the 'India Gaming Report FY 2022' released by Lumikai, India's gaming market, which stood at $2.6 billion in 2022, is expected to grow at a
Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27 percent to reach $8.6 billion by 2027. Additionally, for RMG (real money games), future growth is projected to be at a 34% CAGR.
So looking at broad numbers, the gaming industry is really poised to continue being one of India’s sunshine sectors. We are optimistic about the industry’s growth and believe that the Indian gaming sector has the potential to surpass these numbers as well.
In terms of state-level variations, one key trend is that consumers in some of the southern states are more receptive to skilled online card-based games like Rummy as compared to the rest of India, and Fantasy sports have penetrated across the nation.
With the increasing penetration of mobile internet and high-end smartphones, this will increase at a faster growth rate.
StartupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year and how will these inform your future plans and strategies?
Amit: A key learning which we’ve had in previous years and will continue to be relevant for us, is that of paramount focus on player experience. This may sound very cliche but the fact remains that the better our focus is on game play and enhancing overall user experiences, the more we get back in terms of not just higher player retention, but also positive word-of-mouth which in turn helps us acquire new users as well.
Another key learning for us has been to keep a very keen eye on customer acquisition costs. We try to ensure that we do not go beyond a certain value for customer acquisition, which really helps us remain financially sound.