India-based Games24x7, a digital-first company, believes that \u201cthe best gaming experiences are created at the intersection of entertainment and science.\u201d With a portfolio spanning skill games (RummyCircle), fantasy sports (My11Circle), and casual games (U Games), the company banks firmly on technology to build a highly scalable gaming infrastructure that serves more than 100 million registered users across platforms.\n\nIn a conversation with CIO.com, Games 24x7 CTO Rajat Bansal throws light on the importance of hyperpersonalization in gaming and how the company is manifesting creative ideas for gamers by leveraging cutting-edge technology, including data science and AI.\n\nThe success of a game hinges on meeting the players\u2019 needs and expectations. How do you ensure this through technology?\n\nBansal: We believe that the most important thing is to understand the users as early as possible in their gaming lifecycle. The success of a game depends on two factors: content and the delivery of that content. This is where hyperpersonalization assists in meeting player needs and expectations. The concept of hyperpersonalization is picking up pace across the globe. In a diverse country like India, there are multiple demographic factors, like region, age, and more, that affect users\u2019 preferences and consumption behavior. When this variation is combined with a player\u2019s individual preferences, a totally different level of hyperpersonalization is achieved.\n\nThe personalization journey begins from the moment a user enters the game. When players are served offers based on their profiles and preferences, our data science models help us identify their inclinations and preferences. For instance, two players from the same demography may have significantly different skills and so their expectations from the game will be different.\n\nWe leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics to offer a hyperpersonalized, immersive, and entertaining gameplay experience to our users at every stage of their gaming journey in real-time.\n\nGiven that the player load can fluctuate greatly, how do you ensure your platforms are able to handle sudden spikes in player load?\n\nBansal: Games24x7 has a highly scalable gaming infrastructure that serves more than 100 million registered users across platforms. With a strong passion for cricket in India, user engagement on fantasy sports platform My11Circle is high, especially during the IPL [Indian Premier League]. However, our focus on technology and the models we spoke of earlier, allow us to preempt and prepare. For managing increase in workloads and user base, we have created a complete science-driven automated scaling pipeline. Given the nature of business, there are spikes for special events like IPL. To take care of such situations, we leverage data science for forecasting load at match-level and using this forecast to proactively scale up\/down our fleet in a completely hands-off-the-wheel way.\n\nThere are safety risks associated with gaming. What tools\/solutions have you deployed to offer a safe and immersive experience?\n\nBansal: We also use AI to assess gameplay patterns. Our sophisticated models can identify a deviation from the right gameplay at any given stage of the game. Such deviations are immediately flagged.\n\nSome of the AI tools that we integrate to deliver an immersive, safe, and entertaining game play include data ETL and feature preparation pipeline for capturing user behavior for responsible game play; explainable AI for actions based on the results; domain expert-based rule engine for checking behavior patterns over time, money, and urge to play; local expert for wallet recharge patterns and game entry fees; counselling process for reporting accurate gameplay status; cognitive neuroscience for mapping telemetric data; sequential modelling for journey and evolution of users; reinforcement learning for hyperpersonalization; procedural content generation for generating content as per level; and computer vision for art, design, content, and creatives to make games exciting. \n\nData is the key for making informed decisions and building customer experiences. What\u2019s your strategy for democratizing and managing data?\n\nBansal: For any data-driven organization like us, the consistent and reliable flow of data across people, teams, systems, and business functions is crucial to an organization\u2019s survival and ability to innovate. At Games24x7, we see data management as all disciplines related to managing data and it includes collecting, processing, governing, sharing, analyzing it \u2014 and all of this in a cost-efficient and reliable manner.\n\nDepending on the use cases, we are using two platforms for data management. We have adopted Databricks as a data management platform for all our hourly\/daily data processing, analysis, and reporting. Generally, this covers most of our current data consumption and analysis and it is very mature. We use Tableau as our visualization tool on top of Databricks for all business users to make informed decisions on the fly.\n\nWe have also built a data-as-a-service (DaaS) platform for all our real-time\/near real-time data processing and inferencing needs for hyperpersonalization use cases. This platform is built and managed by our own data engineering team.\n\nThis free-flowing access to data results in providing customized user journeys at every step. For example, it enables the marketing team to provide offers based on customer preferences, the product team to come up with new, innovative meta games, and the science team to provide responsible game play models.\n\nWhat are your future business and technology plans?\u00a0\n\nBansal: We are continuously investing in new technologies and business intelligence systems to analyze players\u2019 behavior, customize their gameplay, and provide them with the most intuitive and safe gameplay experience. We are also working on developing fresh and unique content revolving around casual gaming business. We are looking forward to diversifying our skill gaming portfolio and building new and robust gaming platforms for our users. As we grow our technological capabilities, we will invest in other synergistic platforms to facilitate increased accessibility of online gaming in India.