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Caleta Gaming: The Challenges Of Developing a Reliable Platform
Friday, 5 March 2021
In an exclusive interview with GMB, Paulo Nova, founding partner and Chief Technology Officer of Caleta Gaming, a prestigious game developer in Brazil, talks about the challenges of developing a reliable platform and ensuring security for customers. “They want to have confidence, and that includes transactions in the customer’s portfolio, RNG that generates unpredictable and error-free results, transparency of information, checking of plays, etc.” With regulation in Brazil, the executive says that Caleta is studying this possibility of becoming an operator as well.
GMB – How did you build your career in the field of gambling technology, in a country where activity is not allowed, knowing that at the beginning of your activity you worked on the development of Show Ball, one of the most iconic machines of the golden age of the videobingo?
Paulo Nova – Although the operation of gambling is illegal in the country, the entire development part aimed at the export market is perfectly legal. I ended up entering the area of video bingo by pure luck, the course coordinator at the university indicated me to one of the students who was looking for new talents and with that I ended up working at the company that developed the Show Ball. The company was huge, and I had a little contact with the development, assembly of machines and operation, I found everything very fascinating. Despite liking the company very much, I wanted to act as a game programmer and so I ended up moving away a bit from the gaming area to work in other entertainment game companies. And so I developed my career as a programmer, until 2010 in Florianópolis I returned to my origins in the gaming area, developing videobingo games and slot machines for a company in Florianópolis, where I came to know my partner Fabiola.
Was it a fright the end of bingo and videobingo or was it a challenge for you to continue acting in a segment that had suffered the impact of the end of the activity?
Yes, at the time of the ban I was trying to leverage my own company in the area of Advergames, but I was shocked because with the closing of the bingo halls many friends were losing their jobs, the creator of Show Ball employed more than 300 people. This whole situation was really a pity and if, instead of the ban, the government had made a regulation, the situation would have been quite different.
At that time, the world was different and there was less talk of online casinos. What has changed since then?
It is true that 10 years ago there were already online casinos, but the access was very bad, in addition they needed a lot of data for registration and it was necessary to install dubious applications on your computer. This alienated new players who are afraid of having their information stolen. Since then, in my opinion, many technologies have appeared that made online casinos viable, some items in particular: evolution of smartphones, the 4G network and the emergence of HTML5 that generated a concept of play anywhere. Before, the casino that used to be in an establishment could now be in the palm of your hand. Right after that came the cryptocurrency boom and now the player doesn’t even need a strict registration, he can just create a username and transfer his favorite cryptocurrency to the platform and that’s it, making the whole process less bureaucratic, this undoubtedly leveraged the online market.
How to specialize in such a sensitive area and win the trust of customers, since in addition to the quality of the games themselves, there are issues of information security?
There is no easy way, it is necessary to make difficult choices on a daily basis, set priorities and know how to assess risks. Customers want to have security and trust, and that covers a lot: transactions in the client’s portfolio, trustworthy RNG that generates unpredictable and error-free results, transparency of information, verification of moves, efficiency, and agility in support. Gradually we are improving each of the items so that we gain more trust from customers. To increase this confidence, we decided to submit our RNG and 16 games to obtain a report based on the GLI-19 in the Colombian market and we were very happy to be approved in all requirements. This really gives a lot of consistency to our work.
When you founded Caleta in 2013, did you imagine achieving success so quickly?
We are happy with our recent achievements, but we know that we still have a long way to go. For now, we are enjoying the journey and constantly setting our next goals.
What were Caleta’s main technological achievements in these seven years under your command in the development area?
In these seven years we have already done a lot and we are always ready for great challenges. Our first projects were based on social casino platforms within Facebook with a focus on videobingo and slots. In 2017 we created our game engine in HTML5 that we call Caleta GP5 (Caleta Gaming Platform HTML5) which today helps us to develop complex games in a very agile and efficient way, depending on the characteristics a slot game can be developed in two weeks only. At the end of 2019 we developed our own RGS and RNG system which allowed us to have more flexibility to integrate our games with customers. In all the projects mentioned in addition to being a leader, I played the role of developer together with the entire technical team, I like to be hands-on!
How to create games that suit customers’ tastes?
It is difficult to get a global taste right, so I still don’t have a definitive answer to that question, but analyzing the data we saw that some games have worked very well in certain regions. We want to continue analyzing this data to arrive at new conclusions and to plan future games. We are also in dialogue with our customers to find out which games the players are playing the most and analyzing the competitors. Anyway, we have learned that a game alone is only part of the success, another part is the marketing of that game, working on the engagement of the game, this requires additional work together with the operators. We are also planning other engagement tools, one of which will be launched in April that I cannot reveal at the moment, but I guarantee that they will make a big difference and take the entire content of Caleta to a new level.
Was the integration with multiple operators difficult to implement?
It was not difficult, we have our own Seamless Wallet API which is extremely simple, safe and well documented, our team is very agile in answering our customers’ questions, always trying to facilitate the work of those on the other side. On some occasions, when the client has a very large integration queue, we can do the reverse integration, connecting to its API, the process has been very smooth until then. Today we are present in more than 200 casinos.
How many countries are Caleta Gaming games present in and how was certification in such different jurisdictions?
We are currently present in many countries and we are already on all continents, we localized our games to 11 languages in order to achieve greater distribution. We are still entering the certified markets and that is why we have not had any great difficulties yet, but we will need a lot of flexibility to serve several markets at the same time and the strategy we will take will define the success of operations going forward. It seems to me that it is common at this point for companies to crash because they are unable to change their platforms to serve the X or Y market, we have an advantage of being born with a Flex DNA.
How to stay at the forefront of the gaming sector and keep growing in such a competitive market?
I believe that everything depends on a good strategy and a good game. There is room for big and small, we have our differential and we show a lot of initiative. Last year we focused a lot on enriching our portfolio with a lot of games and diversity, launching slots, videobingos, kenos and lotto. This year, in addition to new categories of games, such as scratch cards, we will also develop tools and strategies to engage our players.
Do you believe in a soon regulation of gambling in Brazil?
Here in Brazil, unfortunately, everything is very complicated, but I’m hoping this will happen soon. In the meantime, we work to enrich our products and position ourselves to achieve a prominent position for when this happens.
With the regulation, does Caleta also intend to become an operator and not be restricted to development?
Yes, we are studying this possibility and the development of a medium / long term platform, so that we can have a broader view of the games and then improve our products.