Ganapati Crossing Borders And Breaking Moulds
The Ganapati Group has been present in the iGaming space since 2016, providing European and latterly Asian online casino markets with its distinctive slot games.
We spoke with Ganapati’s Taku Sawada and Juliet Adelstein about the company’s global expansion and how it’s bringing Europe and Asia together with its unique content.
Taku Sawada is the CEO of MGA licensed entity, Ganapati Malta Ltd, and is currently based in Ganapati’s Taiwan office where he oversees the Asian side of the business. With over a decade’s experience in sales and management, Taku is the head of sales for Ganapati PLC, and is the driving force behind Asian online casinos’ acquisition of Ganapati games. He is soon to become the group’s Chief Commercial Officer to reflect this.
As the CEO of Ganapati Europe Holding Ltd, Juliet Adelstein oversees all of the group’s European companies and offices, in Malta, Estonia and the UK, where Ganapati PLC is publicly listed. With 7 years’ experience living and working in Japan and three working at Japan’s top advertising agency out of London, Juliet’s expertise lies in bridging Eastern and Western cultures. She is also the COO of Malta-based subsidiary, GanaEight Coin Ltd, which produces the G8C token and blockchain platform for the online casino industry.
Ganapati has been live in European markets for approximately a year now and you’ve managed to make quite a name for yourself there – is the plan to become as big in Asia?
Taku Sawada: We are actually already making a name for ourselves in Asia, too. Since going live here in Q3 2018 we’ve been overwhelmed with the response our games have received and the demand for them has really accelerated lately. Our games are already live with a whole host the largest operators and platforms in Asia, and the numbers keep growing.
Juliet Adelstein: I think we are popular in both Europe and Asia respectively but for slightly different reasons – in Europe we are first and foremost known for our Japanese essence which is apparent in all of our games; the anime and manga style graphics are still admired in the West for their exoticism, whereas in Asia I think the game logic itself is mainly what impresses players.
Since going live you’ve been going from strength to strength – what have been some highlights for Ganapati over the last year?
JA: We have had so many over the last year – we keep surpassing more and more of our own milestones. Going live in the first place, signing some big names, expanding our slot library, winning the 5 Star iGaming Media Starlet Award for Game Innovation of the Year – to name a few!
TS: In Taiwan, we’re soon to open our brand-new office in Taipei 101, alongside our game studio, and have an incredible, fast-growing team of talented individuals who are really pushing our Asian operations in the right direction.
JA: In terms of the whole group, the launch of our blockchain project, G8C, at the end of last year was a very significant event which is set to have a very positive impact on the future of the iGaming industry. This year, we embarked on a world tour of all the big blockchain events to exchange industry insights. I was lucky enough to be asked to make keynote speeches at a lot of these events all around the world, which was a fantastic opportunity to share our passion for blockchain and bring it to the iGaming world.
One of Ganapati’s unique selling points is the idea of bringing Japanese culture and design to the West through slot games – is there as big a demand for this type of content in Asia?
TS: I think there is, yes. Japanese culture is popular all around the world and I think anybody who sees our games for the first time can’t help but be impressed by the striking graphics and animations, no matter where they are from.
JA: I completely agree – I’ve never met anyone from any part of the world who dislikes Japan, its culture, products or visual creations. Ganapati games embody all this in such an appealing, fun package, that I honestly think they are marketable anywhere in the world.
TS: We do also have some Chinese themed games in our portfolio which are hugely popular in Asia, such as Great Beauties of China and Journey to the Gold.
What do you think the main differences are between European and Asian players and how do you produce games which cater to both?
TS: European and Asian players are entirely different. If you go to a land-based casino, the differences are immediately apparent – you see Asian gamblers noisily playing popular games such as Baccarat, hitting the table and shouting out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such raucous scenes in European casinos. Asian people are natural gamblers.
Western players and Eastern players prefer totally different types of games. At Ganapati, we have a solid understanding of both and are constantly trying new things to appeal to each market.
As Juliet previously touched on, Asian players’ main focus is usually on the gameplay. Of course it differs from country to country, but generally speaking, online casino players in Asia prefer quick, simple games, with lower volatility.
JA: European players, on the other hand, tend to go for a more varied gaming experience – they are more impressed by complex math models and different, interactive features within slot games, for example.
TS: Our job as suppliers to both markets is to make sure our games suit both types of players’ tastes, and we are doing so by having a mix of games available. While Sushicade is an example of a simple yet effective game, our 2019 flagship game, Neo Tokyo, is definitely an example of the latter – players learn the game’s exciting backstory through a series of videos revealed throughout, and there are a number of engaging features in it never before seen in slots. Until now, having games available which have been created with both European and Asian players in mind has worked well, but going forward we are really going to focus on producing games which specifically target each market.
The Ganapati Group has ventured into blockchain with Maltese subsidiary, G8C – what is G8C and what will it mean for the future of iGaming?
JA: G8C is an exciting project which aims to address a longstanding issue within the iGaming industry by using blockchain. This issue is, of course, transparency. At G8C we are producing a utility token which is designed for use in online casinos, as well as our own blockchain-based online casino platform, on which the G8C token can be used to bet directly as a casino chip.
TS: We are in a unique position as an existing, well-established iGaming company, with a global network of contacts. This means we have not only the expertise but the incentive to try and make a change to the industry.
JA: Exactly. We’re aware that other people in the industry may be trying to achieve the same thing, but G8C’s features are truly unique. For example, it will be a stablecoin, which means that its value will not be inflated artificially, instead creating its own, true value. Watch this space!