Karen Seror, CMO, Gamestream

Gamestream: Leading the Cloud Gaming Space

Did you know the first electronic game was invented in the 1950s? With the video games reaching mainstream popularity, in the early 1970s came the first video game named Pong, a table tennis-themed arcade video game.

With the technological evolution, today individuals have it easy to download and play games on their personal devices, any time anywhere. However, what was thought of only as a pastime, video games emerged as among the huge means of entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when all the entertainment and leisure activities were put to a halt.

Sell, a French Leisure Software Publishers Union published a survey in 2020 that showed one-third of French gamers play more than before the first lockdown. This shows the need and rising demand for video games by the individuals to help them get through this uncertain time. However, what is crucial is for the game developers and publishers to be more focused on therapeutic or educational games.

Realizing the need for ‘games for good’ Gamestream ventured into the cloud gaming space delivering its clients’ white-label cloud gaming services along with web APIs, servers, web catalogues, and streaming technologies.

In the latest edition of Insights Success Karen Seror, CMO of Gamestream, shared her views, “Cloud gaming offers a differentiation factor, while also creating synergies with other revenue streams. In the hospitality and health sectors, guests or patients at hotels and hospitals often need to stay entertained, and cloud gaming can support this.”

Keep on reading the following interview to know how Gamestream has established itself as the leading cloud gaming solution provider for ‘serious games’ with focusing on therapeutic or educational value and Karen’s role as a CMO in the company’s success saga.

Brief our readers about Gamestream, its vision, and its niche market.

Gamestream is the world’s leading provider of cloud gaming solutions for the telecom, hospitality, and entertainment industries.

We offer turnkey, white-labelled cloud gaming solutions for professional and consumer markets that cover the entire cloud gaming value chain. This includes the provision of high-performance servers for client data centres, innovative proprietary streaming technology, a vast catalogue of video games content, and big data monitoring and analysis.

We’re an ambitious French startup employing around 40 people, half of which are devoted to R&D. In less than two years, our cloud gaming solution has been deployed across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia through white-labelled versions of our service, and under our company’s own consumer cloud gaming brand, Pleio®.

Our mission is to democratize the joy of video gaming. Our value proposition is based on an unlimited service, multi-device, and an affordable model that empowers subscribers to dispense with the need to purchase costly individual games, and for our B2B customers to sell these offerings more easily, by integrating Spotify or Netflix like business models.

What makes Gamestream a preferred choice over your competitors?

A lot of service providers and industry players are looking for tailor-made and added value turnkey solutions with no CapEx investments, best-in-class cloud gaming technology, a premium games catalogue, and insightful data reporting, all through a single point of contact.

This is where Gamestream steps in, providing the entire value chain to our partners without requiring them to invest significant resources. This makes our customers’ decision-making processes much easier, increasing value-added service offerings and increasing loyalty, reducing churn, thus boosting overall ARPU.

As far as our technology is concerned, we have developed our own IT environment early on around a video coding/compression standard called H265. This technological choice allows us to offer users an optimal gaming quality, with a low latency rate with a throughput of only 6 m/s, whereas a conventional platform requires a bandwidth of 15 m/s.

Cloud gaming provides a clear and obvious proof point, due to the connection requirements needed for the experience to be smooth and enjoyable. By partnering with us and offering their own cloud gaming service, telcos can tap into the fast-growing games market and engage with new audiences. Moreover, they are often among the first providers of such services in their countries, which becomes a differentiating factor from competitors.

Regarding our business model, each customer pays an installation fee for the solution and we then share the revenue from the subscription packages with the telecom operator and the game publishers.

We also offer an installation fee to hospitality players to enable free access to our catalog in lobbies and/or a payment per room.

How CMO, Karen Seror, has contributed to the company’s success?

I joined Gamestream a year ago as CMO. Before this I was focused on taking startups to the next level, becoming leaders in their market, for example, Amen was acquired by Dada Group, and Fotolia was acquired by Adobe. I specialize in accelerating technology startups with a clear vision before acquisition or significant investment.

At Gamestream, my main challenge is to generate revenue by increasing sales through successful marketing tactics for the entire organization using market research, pricing, product marketing, marketing communications, advertising, and public relations. However, all this is geared to focus on “games for good”, working deeper with the health department, and enriching our catalogue with “serious games” which can be therapeutic or educational.

What is your opinion on the necessity for gaming companies to align their offerings with the latest technological developments, especially when it comes to catering to the ever-evolving consumer needs and preferences?

The video game market is in a transition phase. We are seeing technological innovation driven by visionary startups, and we’re now entering a phase of structured offerings from key players, with GAFA who are now positioning themselves in cloud gaming.

However, the major challenge lies in content. Many publishers have not yet made the shift to cloud gaming by adapting their games to streaming models, which has been the case for music and films. But the future of video games is the ability to play video games anywhere, at any time, on any device, as is the case for music or movies. Business models that offer unlimited access to games via a monthly subscription will be the winning models, even if it means offering premium on-demand content.

As an established business leader in the gaming space, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the gaming industry?

New cloud gaming entrepreneurs should focus on what value they can add to the cloud gaming ecosystem, whether they want to be part of the technology solution side, the licensing part, or the content side. The cloud gaming universe offers incredible opportunities in the business world. Companies need to think hard about their market position and identify the right segment of the cloud gaming market within which they can provide the best value.

While stepping into the gaming industry, budding entrepreneurs should also:

  • Consider international deployment with local content.
  • Internalise technologies.
  • Investigate lucrative B2B cloud gaming opportunities and not just consumer platforms.
  • Try to reach self-financing or Series A quickly
  • Don’t spend more than necessary on video game licensing.

How do you plan on scaling Gamestream’s operations in 2021?

We aim to focus on developing our hospitality segment in 2021, as this market is expected to come back to life following long dormancy due to COVID-19. Our partnership with the Accor Hotels Group is the first step, but this market is not limited to tourism. It also includes the entire health sector, specifically via therapeutic games.

This year, we also plan to scale up into the entertainment industry i.e., media brands that want to assert a position of being an entertainment provider with a new value-add service such as cloud gaming. We are also expanding our foothold with publishers as contributors to ensure we continue offering best-in-class solutions with a strong video game portfolio. Publishers are also our future customers, as they are interested in cloud gaming for technical, marketing, and business purposes.

Some video game publishers such as Gameloft are switching their infrastructure to the cloud, to design, launch, and maintain their video games by choosing a type of offering that is appropriate for a game. Cloud offerings can be easily configured to improve the efficiency of the infrastructure and thus, the gaming experience.

In the rising competition in the cloud gaming niche, publishers with a strong brand and an engaged community will be able to offer their own community-based cloud gaming platform, running on white-labelled cloud gaming technology infrastructures like that of Gamestream.

Many publishers and media brands are approaching us to expand their audiences and generate new sources of revenue since we offer remuneration for time spent on each game and commission on revenues generated.

Lastly, to support our rapid and ambitious growth, we are focusing on recruiting more talent, particularly developers. We are planning to double our team by the end of 2022.