It goes without saying that the online market for operators is exceptionally competitive and whilst it’s a very large marketplace, it’s important to remember what differentiates one product from another.
My experience in the land based market, both in table games and slots provided me with some really important insight especially during the time when multi game products were emerging and very quickly, players had a choice on a single machine of not only four or six games, but in some markets, with some products, they could choose to play one of over 50+ games – pretty overwhelming for the player: but did such a vast number of games drive incremental revenue or did the 80/20 rule apply?
Content (games), no doubt, is critical to player enjoyment; if you take the satellite TV market as a comparison, in many countries, there are only a couple of choices, so assuming the technology works and is reliable, then what sets one provider apart from the other – content! There’s no point having the best system if the programmes you want to watch aren’t available.
In the same way, what’s absolutely crucial for online operators is the ability to engender a feeling of trust, integrity and familiarity with the games offered. In this way, when players scroll through what could be a very long list of games, they might be naturally drawn to games they have played before in the land based environment, be that a street machine or a jackpot machine in a casino.
In my mind, the marketplace for content is currently split between the very well established land based manufacturers who all have enormous experience and expertise in developing great games, proven performers, titles that players love and have played in a variety of gaming venues. Not necessarily big brands and licensed themes, but quite often proprietary products that are the result of years of Research & Development and some very clever peoples’ work. Graphically, these games might not be anything like other gaming experiences such as Xbox and Playstation products, but what drives their success and the retention of players is the maths. On the other side of the marketplace is the plethora of companies who only produce games for the online market – their products also have their fans who love the modern graphics, sounds and gameplay.
I’m often asked what makes a good slot game, or which games are popular at the moment. I’m not a game developer, but clearly what’s more important is that an operator can offer the right game mix on their virtual gaming floor. In that respect ensuring there is a range of products with a variety of features, game volatility, hit rates and interactivity is crucial. It’s also important not to get hung up on how good game graphics are, or how powerful block busting brand names can be – ultimately (and there are plenty of examples to draw on), while such things might be a useful acquisition tool, players very quickly get a feel for the maths driving the game and will leave the game as quickly as they arrived if they feel it’s not providing the experience they want.
As a totally agnostic content provider, we are able to provide our operator partners with the pinnacle of slot games that are currently available from the leaders in the land based market. With over 200 titles to choose from with a vast array across the game category, volatility and feature matrix, we believe that it’s vital to work with our partners to ensure the very best games are available and the right product is offered for the right market – the basic rules of commerce.
By knowing the market we have become the ‘go to’ option for land based slot manufacturers who want to move into the online market but don’t have the experience, knowledge and skills to do so. In a complex and crowded marketplace you need to quickly and cost effectively move content into that space and then realise the potential of a strong network of operators to drive revenues for the entire value chain.
It would be unfair of me to highlight any particular manufacturers or specific game titles, but in a marketplace where acquiring and retaining players is what drives business then Content always has, and always will be King.