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State of Slot Gaming – Part Three

Thu 14 Mar 2019 @ 11:14

William Hill has obviously made the decision to use Jackpots as a key pillar in their gaming brand appeal. This is an approach adopted by many and will undoubtedly become more and more important as regulation on bonusing takes a tighter grip on the ability of Marketing teams to incentivise their players. Delivering jackpots can only be achieved with the right tools. And the way that William Hill have chosen is to have a single, central pool to build a massive jackpot, one large enough to split between differently skinned games. But the strength of this approach hides a fundamental flaw. Using the same RNG or fundamental gameplay is literally taking one step forward and two steps back.

Think about it, to the player you are essentially saying “Come, look and play our exciting content on the game you want to play, it is varied, and you can win big in different ways to the shared content that everyone has!” (Here’s looking at you, Mega Moolah and Starburst.) Hey, look that’s a decent proposition. Take one step forward.

But at the same time you are saying “However if another player wins on another of our games, the jackpot on your game drops right back.” Oops, now take two steps back.

It gets worse, once they twig what William Hill are up to and some will, they’ll realise that “These are just skins of the same game and they don’t think that we are clever enough to see they haven’t put enough thought behind the content.” Nightmare.

There is a way out. Prize insurance. Here at PIMS-SCA we are uniquely positioned within the IGaming industry to be able to offer the operator, the aggregator and the game developer the ability to have individual jackpots for each progressive.

We can use policies that are unique to the client to arrange the cover that they specifically need rather than a one size fits all approach. This could be marketing campaign led or part of general inventory management to boost new or underperforming gems. Customers can now seamlessly connect the individual gameplay of progressive slot games with jackpots and gaming lobbies suddenly looking truly varied and interesting. We know that large jackpots drive higher customer participation but only if process is managed with nuance.

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State of Slot Gaming – Part Two

Thu 14 Mar 2019 @ 11:13

In 2018, the online casino world was awash with articles about the jackpot size of several progressive jackpot multi-operator games. It felt that almost every week we were seeing ever larger jackpots and even more grinning winners. Of course, this was excellent PR for the publisher and for the well-established game developer who could then proudly but erroneously claim that it was their unique gameplay features and market placing that was driving the constantly building progressive.

And then, as the year end approached, industry attention was drawn to newer games from different providers, each also building massive jackpots. Industry speculation was rife as to which games would be next. Which supplier would be able to unlock the ‘magic’ formula and build a game of such appeal that it was capable of growing organically while building its progressive jackpot to levels capable of driving player participation even further? The world over, game developers were falling over themselves to say that they had a game with the right design, and it would be their gameplay and theirs alone that could crack it. And operators the world over were buying this because they too had bought into the myth of the magic formula (and in any event they had to try something), This truly seemed to be the only game in town.

Nonsense.

I have touched before on the appeal of technological mysticism in our industry, after all, it has been said that it is far easier to have a firm foothold in nonsense than to set out on the troubled seas of thought. We should be asking ourselves, if it was so easy to predict success based purely on game design, format and market placing why aren’t we seeing game after game regularly drive up the jackpot? Because the truth for success is more simple, we’ve seen it come from luck – successful games have had no early winners of the seed jackpot. No great secret there. The reality is that the tools to deliver an attention grabbing jackpot based game already exist and the opportunity to do so from within your own inventory is already there. Anyone can place a jackpot behind any strong game tomorrow and, with appropriate gameplay and design, stand a far better chance of success than by simply hoping that you don’t get an early winner.

So am I worried about, or giving any headspace to, the question of which long shot game will be next? No. because it’s looking for an answer to the wrong question.

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State of Slot Gaming – Part One

Thu 14 Mar 2019 @ 11:12

We all work in an industry that bases its identity on the concept of ‘show’, of big wins, of life changing impact, of beating the house. We peddle old school razzmatazz, flashing lights, dazzling colours around big numbers and dramatic sounds. We deliver escapism through the hope and dreams of a new life.

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, we’re in showbusiness.

But we’ve gone native. And like most entertainers we have forgotten that there’s more to showbusiness than show. Of course, we need to get players’ attention to drag them in, to ‘acquire’ or ‘re-engage’ them, but we should remind ourselves from time to time that this also a business. How do we make business decisions that make commercial sense? This is where we lose our way. We have as an industry convinced ourselves that the margin is in the mystery or the magic. The magic provided by new gameplay, by new formats, by new platforms, by technology.

This technology provides us with a comfort blanket. We wander open-eyed around large halls showcasing new revolutionary platforms, swallowing wholeheartedly complex mathematical algorithms along with their promise of better margins. We may then haggle and concede a per cent here and gain a per cent there of our precious margin in order to access the next versatile solution for modern iGaming. But its’s a fools’ paradise.

This is smoke and mirrors. The next big thing that is essentially the same old thing that we have seen year after year. I choose to reject these false gods. The alternative solution may be less exciting, less showy but it’s way more reliable and more commercially astute – traditional, reliable and regulated insurance. I don’t need to dilute narrow margins still further with yet another platform that I need to integrate with. I simply need a reliable policy from a provider who knows what they’re doing, that is tailored to my business and covers me for what I need to be covered for.

Sometimes, just sometimes, business is business and show is show.

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