Swarmio Media: Gateway to Monetizing the World’s Three Billion Gamers
The global market for video games is enormous. This isn’t exactly ground-breaking news, but the numbers really are staggering. With 2.8 billion gamers worldwide generating revenues close to US$200 billion dollars in 2021, gaming is by far the biggest media category by revenue. In fact, it’s bigger than the global music, film, sports, and on-demand entertainment sectors combined. While the traditional media and sports sectors have stagnated during the COVID-19 pandemic, gaming and esports have thrived. And with an annual growth rate of around 10%, gaming is projected to get even bigger in the coming years.
But some legacy media companies are missing a big opportunity when it comes to gaming. Telecom operators for example, or telcos, are being left out of the gaming equation entirely – and it’s not the first time they have failed to capitalize on new user trends.
Telcos have seen their profits steadily decline over the past decade as over-the-top (“OTT”) service providers including content streaming platforms, online conferencing platforms and messaging apps have emerged, eating away at telcos’ once lucrative cable and long-distance bundle packages. Having been reduced to merely providers of the internet services that OTT companies use to operate, telcos have been left scrambling to find new revenue streams.
“If you look at the telecom operators globally, their revenues are stagnating,” explains Vijai Karthigesu, CEO of Swarmio Media (CSE: SWRM), a Canadian gaming and esports technology company that’s bridging the gap between telecom operators and the world’s nearly three billion gamers. “They lost music to Spotify, they lost movies to Netflix, and they even lost voice/video conferencing to Microsoft and Google.
The telcos are spending the capital to build and upgrade the infrastructure that the OTT service providers are using to make money, but the telcos don’t get to keep their fair share of the revenues. Swarmio is building the runway for these telcos to land in the gaming industry, and enabling them to monetize their gamer customers.”
To do this, Swarmio recently rolled out a proprietary digital gaming and esports hub called Ember, which telcos can offer their customers as a new add-on service. Ember gives gamers a full end-to-end user experience, including access to competitive tournaments, exclusive content, an on-line store, and a gamer e-wallet that allows them to make in-game purchases without the use of a credit card.
Swarmio has strategically targeted telcos in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Latin America – home to two thirds of the world’s nearly three billion gamers, who mostly don’t own or have access to a credit card. Through payment solutions including Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) and e-wallet options, Swarmio allows gamers to seamlessly pay for in-game purchases and access exclusive gaming events and e-tournaments. Additionally, Swarmio’s patented Latency-optimized Edge Computing (LEC) technology helps reduce lag (cited as the number-one reason gamers quit a gaming session early) and improve the overall user experience for gamers.
Karthigesu elaborates: “Our unique approach is bringing edge cloud, gaming, e-commerce, and payment solution together in one integrated platform. Ember harnesses the power of telcos’ reach, brand, infrastructure, and payment processing capabilities to give their customers a better gaming experience that they can’t find anywhere else.”
Ember is already proving to be a very attractive proposition for telcos, who get to keep a portion of the monthly subscription fees their customers pay to use Ember. Swarmio has contracts in place with three major telcos – Sri Lanka’s SLT Mobitel, Bahrain’s Batelco, and Saudi Arabia’s Mobily – with more than ten other deals in various stages of the pipeline. Karthigesu is confident that Swarmio will have 250 million telco users in their target markets using Ember by the end of 2022, providing enormous revenue generation potential (a few dollars a month per user adds up quickly).
But Swarmio also generates revenue through transaction and payment processing fees from each in-game purchase made inside the Ember gaming platform, with the rest going to the game publishers. That’s not small potatoes. According to Newzoo, 74% of the nearly $200 billion in annual revenues the gaming industry generates come from in-game purchases, or “microtransactions”. Game publishers and developers have also historically struggled to engage and monetize users in the markets that Swarmio is targeting. By aligning with telcos to penetrate these coveted user bases and incorporating credit card-free payment solutions, Swarmio is enabling game publishers to directly reach and sell their content and products to more gamers in these hard-to-reach markets.
For CEO Vijai Karthigesu, that’s the company’s main value proposition – the potential penetration of these untapped markets and the huge numbers of young gamers that live there. While larger companies like Sea (NYSE: SE), and Akamai (NASDAQ: AKAM) are also attempting cloud-based solutions for the gaming industry, none of them are specifically targeting the telecom companies and their hundreds of millions of gamers as part of their business plan.
“Gaming has become a lifestyle, and we are capturing that lifestyle through our platform,” says Karthigesu. “Our target is to get to these regions and sign up as many telcos as we can, because we have a unique solution. Nobody has the solution that Swarmio has. The market is up for grabs.”
And with a massive gaming market that’s only getting bigger, that could be very good news for Swarmio Media.
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