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Quentin Staes-Polet

CEO | 08 Jul 2008

The medium is very effective because it is an immersive and ‘lean forward’ media, unlike TV or radio. Studies have shown that games are a more trusted and less intrusive to users and, therefore, much more efficient in communicating brand USP and core values. Recall is much higher and ad avoidance is almost non-existent. In established markets, CPM rates for in-game ads are typically priced at four times the price of web ads because of this efficiency.

Quentin Staes-Polet, CEO and Co-founder of Kreeda Games, was earlier IBM’s Media and Entertainment Practice Leader for Asia Pacific Media and Entertainment. As Asia Pacific head consultant for online games, M&E and triple play, Staes-Polet had helped clients across the region set up their business strategies.

Prior to joining IBM, he had spent 10 years in the music industry across Asia. His experience and knowledge in marketing and sales of consumer goods and online services adds to his passion for online games as a business and as an agent for social change.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Pallavi Goorha, Staes-Polet shares his passion for gaming and India as an emerging market for online games. He also speaks about Kreeda’s first game, DanceMELA.

Q. How has the journey been for you at Kreeda Games? What challenges did you face in this journey?

The journey has been great and is only getting better. The audience loves our first game, DanceMELA, and the online gaming community is growing constantly. We have great expectations for the Indian gaming market in the next few years. The challenges have been to educate gamers on the virtual world of DanceMELA. Although the game is very simple, the virtual world concept is very new to India. Also challenging have been the very varied and fragmented media and distribution landscape, which makes it difficult to communicate to the audience and give them access to the game.

Q. What is the scene like for in-game advertising in India?

Only advergaming and casual game site advertising has been explored in India. No in-game advertising has been explored yet in India. Media buyers and brands are keen to explore, but the current base of the medium is still too low to really do more than test marketing at this point.

Q. Who is your target group?

Most games are focused on the youth. DanceMELA’s core demographic is the 17-21 age group, but we have gamers as young as eight years old and as old as 40 years old. Boys are typically more associated with gaming, however, DanceMELA has 40 per cent girls playing too.

Q. How effective is gaming as a medium and how different is it from conventional medium?

The medium is very effective because it is an immersive and ‘lean forward’ media, unlike TV or radio. Studies have shown that games are a more trusted and less intrusive to users and, therefore, much more efficient in communicating brand USP and core values. Recall is much higher and ad avoidance is almost non-existent. In established markets, CPM rates for in-game ads are typically priced at four times the price of web ads because of this efficiency. As it is interactive, we can also targets ads and record brand exposure as precisely as for Internet advertising. We are also able to serve different ads to each user according to their demographics.

Q. What has the advertisers’ response been to this medium?

Good. Most advertisers are interested to test and explore, but it will take time before the communities are large enough to compete with other mass media.

Q. What are trends in online gaming in India?

All forms of gaming are growing at more than 40 per cent CAGR in India, and we expect the same to continue at least for the next five years.

Q. Who are your competitors in India? How do you differentiate yourself from the other existing competitors?

We have several competitors like Games2Win, Zapak, and Indiagames, but at this point, we have all chosen different gaming genres and business models. We often try to work together to expand the pie rather than really compete. Kreeda’s focus is on mass multiplayer online games (MMOGs) and virtual worlds.

Q. What are your future plans for Kreeda Games?

We plan to grow our community and add more game properties to our portfolio. The market is very promising and the audience’s pent up demand for gaming is very high. The company, which currently has a team of 55, would expand the team as the market grows. And with the Indian online gaming industry expected to exceed $200 million by 2010, that expansion will come sooner than later.

Q. NDTV Imagine and Kreeda Games have entered into a strategic partnership for ‘Nachle Ve’? How is the partnership going?

The partnership is going well. We tremendously enjoyed working with the NDTV team and are looking at more ideas to integrate these two very different media. It is an exciting challenge and our customers require all media to work together to deliver a 360-degree approach. As part of the association, various activities, including online national dancing tournaments, have been planned. A special ‘avatar’ for choreographer Saroj Khan has been created in the game. This avatar would teach players how to dance online and even hold special tournaments in the game, where the winner would be featured on television.

Q. Are you looking to tying up with more such media companies? If yes, who all?

Yes, we are always looking for partners to tie up with. Our goal is to expand the customer base for Internet and gaming in India and find innovative ways to communicate to and with them. Games, especially ones like DanceMELA, because of its Bollywood content and associated social networking platform are very suitable for creative and exciting partnerships.

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