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KamaGames: Machine learning to drive personalisation – CasinoBeats

In a year that demonstrated “exceptional” growth, with revenue rising 18.3 per cent from $76.4m to $90.4m, social mobile poker operator KamaGames has switched attention to the year ahead and securing a larger chunk of the global market share.
Lauding an increased development spend in both new and existing products, the company also revealed record revenue for the final month of 2019, a figure which has subsequently been surpassed in January 2020. Each month of the past year also recorded rises when compared to the corresponding time period from the previous year. 
Among the targets for the year ahead KamaGames reveals that it’s “in the early stages of utilising machine learning models,” emphasising that it forms a key area of development for the firm as it strives to heighten player personalisation.  
“I think it’s safe to say that, in recent years, the gaming industry has begun to fully realise how important personalisation is, especially as a tool for growth,” Andrey Kuznetsov, CEO, KamaGames, commented on how these moves would lead to a deepened sense of personalisation for players. 
“This is particularly true in the case of social casino games and KamaGames’ apps specifically. Effective personalisation features within a game can cause players to behave differently and more positively in terms of session frequency, length and payment behaviour, along with their interaction with other features and events within a game. 
“In regard to approaching personalisation with machine learning, our goal is to utilise this technology to facilitate the most convenient and efficient user journey for our players. However, we are under no illusions that machine learning is full proof and, as a result, we know it will not always work effectively.
“Machine learning cannot solve every issue that could possibly arise. Therefore, as a rule, any task is initially solved through conventional algorithms and then we turn to machine learning once we have exhausted other routes.”
“In-game advertising is an alternative method of generating revenue from the high percentage of non-paying players”
Adding: “That said, there are numerous examples of situations where machine learning can be legitimately effective such as when we need to garner additional data from a product. 
“It’s clear that as user acquisition in social casino becomes increasingly expensive and the cost per user grows further, organisations should begin to explore machine learning and its potential benefits. As KamaGames has continued to grow for the last four years, we believe machine learning will contribute to how we understand our increasing audience of players.”
Providing an insight into its future outlook, KamaGames asserts that a number of strategic partnerships are to be entered during 2020, including one such link-up alongside “an iconic American brand”. The inclusion of advertising is to also be tested, despite an admittance that it “does not provide a particularly strong revenue stream for social casino operators”.
With this in mind, Kuznetsov elaborates on why the decision been made to test the waters of in-game advertising, and what the expectations are in regards to this: “For many mobile games, monetisation through in-game ads is a significant revenue channel. This is especially true in the casual and ‘hypercasual’ gaming arena where the percentage of paying users in free-to-play games rarely exceeds five per cent. 
“In this case, in-game advertising is an alternative method of generating revenue from the high percentage of non-paying players. We are constantly experimenting and innovating at KamaGames and that includes advertising methods. While we look at in-game advertising, we’re also keeping our focus on the rewarded video format, where a player receives rewards for watching short videos, which is still our core advertising. 
“We do not want to employ any kind of format that distracts too much from the game and taints the playing experience for our audience. We succeeded in this respect with rewarded video, as the player has control over whether or not they want to engage with it, and we hope to do the same with other forms of advertising in 2020.”
“Our goal is to give our players a fully-fledged casino experience of the highest quality”
Among all the potential introductions throughout the year the company, KamaGames also asserts that concerted efforts have been made to ensure that players can move seamlessly through its catalogue of titles. 
“At KamaGames we know that, if a player avidly engages with one casino-style game, the odds are that they also enjoy others,” Kuznetsov commented. “Some poker players like blackjack but those who play blackjack are highly likely to engage with roulette too. 
“Therefore, our goal is to give our players a fully-fledged casino experience of the highest quality. Players can download our Pokerist app and play 11 different games, all in one place. At no point during the playing experience do they have to disengage from the app in order to switch to another section or game within Pokerist. 
“This helps keep the player immersed in the casino environment, engaging continuously and seamlessly with games and fellow players. This has been a significant factor in KamaGames retaining a high percentage of our players throughout the years.” 
Before concluding with a brief insight into what future innovations are on the cards to ensure that the company achieves its core objectives for the year: “While we can’t reveal all of our secrets just yet, it’s safe to say that a core goal for KamaGames in 2020 is to further increase the monetisation of players, along with retention rates. 
“Therefore, players will witness the introduction of a host of new mechanics in the coming months, along with some unique game modes that are sure to set up apart from other operators in the social casino genre. As always, we’re aiming to deliver the most expansive, high-quality mobile games on the app stores.”