The Business Year

Badr Almarshoud

SAUDI ARABIA - Sports

Badr Almarshoud

stcplay Head, stcplay

Bio

Badr Almarshoud is the head of stcplay. Prior to his role at stcplay, he was looking after the growth strategies in the media & entertainment industry at the corporate development sector within stc group. Also Badr used to manage the digital products for the B2B segment within stc solutions, and before that, he was in charge of the value added services for the consumer segment, focusing mainly on non-core revenue. Badr holds a bachelor degree in MIS and a master degree in management specialising in digital product marketing.

“At the moment, and after 17 months of launching stcplay we have over 1.2 million registered users on the platform.”

Badr Almarshoud, stcplay Head, talks to TBY about the company’s activities, the National Gaming and Esports Strategy, and cyber security.

Can you give our readers a brief overview of stcplay?

stcplay is an incubated startup within stc, that looks after accessing the inorganic potential growth in gaming under digital platforms. stcplay is the number one gamers engagement platform in the Kingdom, and in simple words it is the gamers Super App that brings all types of gamers, players, content creators, and influencers together, also it offers the gaming ecosystem service providers the opportunity to get connected with an engaged gamers base under one digital user experience. We have started by introducing three main experiences inside stcplay, the first one is a social engagement experience that allow gamers to create their gaming profile, post UGC (user generated content), comment, like, and share as well as the ability to follow users and accounts by adding them to their gaming network. The second experience is online eSport tournaments, where we give users the ability to create community level tournaments, select the game and bracket types, assign prizes, and set rules, also the ability to participate in these created tournaments, win prizes and show their skills in a specific game. The third experience is the shop experience, where users can buy digital gaming vouchers and have them delivered digitally by email/SMS, also it’s a sales channel for voucher providers to list their offerings. All of that is coupled with an experience points that users collect based on their engagement level, and these points entitles users to win gaming giveaways on weekly and monthly bases.

What are the cutting-edge technologies that stcplay is offering its customers?

stc is a one of the largest digital enablers in the region, with the ability to build digital ownership and relationships with customers, with the belief that digitization has disrupted the user experience in many industries. The advanced network infrastructure, data processing and analytical engines, reach of consumer (mobile/fixed), and the communication power are all built on cutting-edge technologies that is being utilized while developing stcplay. A prime example was the establishment of stcpay, where stc should a great model of how can it digitally enable a non-core industry and capture a great market share. At stcplay we are doing the same for gaming where stcplay is considered as the first local grown unicorn. Moreover, we have created different gaming experience functions within the stc group units just to ensure that gamers experience comes on top of our priorities, an example of that can be the establishment of gaming experience function within the technology, where games latency and download speeds are measured to serve gamers on our networks. “We want to understand the language of gamers, the requirements, and how we allocate future investments toward gamers”. This has resulted in stc winning the MCIT platinum operator award multiple times in a row and that confirms clearly how much dedication stc has as a digital enabler for the gaming industry.

How is stcplay capitalizing on the growing demand for competitions and events in the gaming sector?

One of the key elements in gaming is competitions, and these can be held online or offline (in-person) at gaming venues. Since we launched stcplay we have over 5,000 online tournaments being created on our online platform as we have allowed our gaming community to create these tournaments digitally, inviting other gamers, and establishing their own set of competition rules for the tournaments. When it comes to offline tournaments and competitions, we believe that stcplay complements the growth of competition and events by connecting digital engagement on stcplay platform with the physical engagement happening on these events. Also, we enable our partners from different brands to sponsor such events and offer the winners products and services as prizes. Through these initiatives, we incentivize brands to engage in a new type of revenue stream and become part of the journey of advancing the gaming industry.

How are you leveraging the opportunities of the National Gaming and Esports Strategy?

Our strategy was to always play on the digital element and become the platform that connects the physical world to the digital world. The Kingdom announced SAR142 billion in investments to accelerate the sector and stcplay fits within this strategy in different ways. First, we as stc are going to double down on strengthening our infrastructure, connectivity and be the digital enabler with the focus to achieve the goals set forth by the government. Our recent investment in technology across cloud services and cyber security is an example of how we can leverage this opportunity and provide the desired products and services towards the strategic goals. On the other hand, with the evolvement of stcplay as a social gaming platform we can better understand gaming requirements from different angels and that will ensure providing the best infrastructure geared towards the industry. We are also looking at the establishment of gaming related programs that focuses on unlocking the potential gaming talents in the kingdom on the shape of incubation, acceleration, and potential investments. With such great strategy and support, as well as the positioning of stc group, stcplay will double down and expand in the gaming value chain to serve the wider space of the ecosystem.

What are the next steps for stcplay for the year ahead?

At the moment, and after 17 months of launching stcplay we have over 1.2 million registered users on the platform. Our activity rate has risen to 30% and around 5,000 tournaments have been created on the platform. Multiple date points have given us a wealth of insights to better understand our next move. As a result, we have developed a new roadmap of features that focuses on gamers social engagement, we will leverage the existing digital capabilities that stc group has and have it offered towards gamers, we are also continuing our commitment on enhancing our users journey and experience and finally, we will be expanding within the gaming value chain to extend the value that stcplay can bring to the ecosystem’s players. stcplay has the mandate to be the gamers super app and potentially another home-grown unicorn by stc.

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