Buzz words aside, the convergence space is not only exciting, it is the opportunity that everyone in the gambling industry is trying to get a share of and rightly so. But it is not as simple as getting gambling players LTV’s at social gamer acquisition costs. It will take good content, innovative design, good tech, relevant products and of course a lot of luck.
Design for the platform you are on and know what value each platform offers. IE. If you are designing for Facebook, you should know things like over 70% of time users will re-engage through app news feeds.
Get focused on your product offering and know it inside and out from all sides before moving on to another product line. ie. If your main product offering is Texas Hold’em ring games, don’t waste your time on creating Omaha tournaments. Many first time social casino start-ups feel they need to offer every casino game to make their players happy when actually it is more important to offer quality over quantity.
Don’t over design the social features. Trying too hard to be creative not only makes you look gimmicky but will overkill features that will overwhelm player experiences rather than enhance them. For example, don’t design features that players do not even care about such as useless achievements like ‘2 wins in a row’ or ‘make a flush’. Design features that align with what casino players value. Do not design just for the sake of having content.
Target your market and break down the player behaviors of into cohorts if you can by motivators. In order to design game features that players care about, you need to look at the psychology of your player base. This is a general rule that goes for all game design but it may be even more important for social and real money gambling convergence design because of the big range of motivators involved. What are player behaviors in social casino gamers? What are subconscious patterns in a gambler? What motivates them? What brings them joy/frustration? Questions like these need exploration because gambling convergence crosses over many demographics and not much data currently exists for it. When I design, I find it very helpful to look for overlaps between both industries. With these overlaps I then scope out game features which I will build prototypes for. I use these prototypes as mainly data collection and from there pivot my designs based on learning and user interaction.
Knowing how to use the data you collect. So now that you have collected all this great data, you have to figure out what to do with it. Deciding which useful bits to extract from your sprints can be a challenge. The way data analytics is used in each industry differs considerably; in real money gambling, the focus is on revenue generation such as ROI on bonus offers, etc., while in social casinos the focus is still ROI, but leans on players behaviors, patterns and actions.
Be cross platform. The reason why the social casino is the most lucrative social gaming sector is because it is driven by consumer demand and has a longer shelf life. With consumers increasing their mobile usage you need to be where your customers are. Choosing a technology such as HTML5 is a quick and fast way to be cross-platform immediately. Be available on desktop, mobile phones, social media… etc.
•The industry experts have said that the social gaming sectors has a long-term opportunity
•The global social games industry generated $8.2bn in revenue by 2012, according to Thinkequity, and is estimated to grow to $14.6bn by 2015
•The online social gaming market was worth $2.02 billion in 2013 and expected to reach $2.84 billion by 2015
•There are approximately 240 million online social gamblers worldwide in 2013, and that number is estimated to reach 360 million in 2015
•Social gaming platforms are used by many gambling operators to increase their user base
•North America has captured the major market share for Social Casino Games with a revenue of $659.8 million (40% share of the market)
That’s all for now! Good luck designing! Next post, I will talk about how to socialize the real money experience for real money players.
Over the next few months I will be blogging in-depth about gambling convergence topics such as these ones and more. How do you go about a good game design to cater to the ‘creation’ of a new landscape and player segment? How do you create great content that will entertain different customer segments in different markets? How do you stay relevant? How do you monetize free-to-play players as lucratively as real-money players? Is there such a thing as social casino gambling convergence?