Synthesizing the new gaming landscape

* Article of Vicky Velitsou, Commercial Manager of Intralot Interactive, at EGR North America magazine

Vicky Velitsou is the commercial manager of INTRALOT Interactive. With a professional background focusing on online advertising, she has been with INTRALOT for more than 5 years and has experience in launching successful online marketing campaigns for INTRALOT Interactive Operationsin various geographic territories. Vicky holds an MSc with Distinction in Operations Research and is a Marketing graduate.

Games of chance have an extraordinary long history. They were invented in antiquity, passed on to the Romans, then on to the Byzantines, and finally reached modern times. Remarkably, Greeks worshiped Tyche, which was the goddess of fortune and prosperity. Gaming is an act of everyday life, commencing from the very past and still alive and relevant to modern societies. Its core nature has experienced evolution over the years and nowadays there is a profound need for those engaged in the gaming industry to understand the continuously changing playing pattern of the people that participate in the games of chance.

In order to understand the role of games and design new models of playing we need to re-think gaming and re-approach the lottery player. First to decompose gaming in parts and then to synthesize it in a whole. Decomposition may be the outcome of external imposed key drivers of change. Drastic changes are occurring in the gaming industry as the wave of regulation and advanced mobile technology are making the gaming experience more attractive to a wider demographic and fuelling the exponential growth of the gaming market.

The first thing we need to do is to ask what do people feel when they play; what is their intention, their journey and their destination. We ask the questions and we seek the answers in order to design something new.

What if gaming was something more than choosing numbers?

Excitement is the core reason that a player chooses to consume the gaming services offered by a lottery operator. It is the game itself and those elements that make a successful game stand out and be consumed for a longer period of time compared to others.

We expect an abundance of new gaming concepts, which will combine traditional RNG gaming with elements that extend the game-play, make “progress visible” and involve player’s friends and his wider social graph. The longstanding experience of lotteries in the gaming industry in combination with the social gaming trends can lead to new game concepts that can either revitalize and enhance the already existing lottery concepts or generate entirely new ones aligned with the online gaming best practices.

Also, new technologies will render the visual appearance of games with the introduction of 3D graphic assets to complement the game mechanics and produce an aesthetic result that appeals to the new, savvy players.

At INTRALOT, we define all aspects that surround the game and its mechanics as the ‘Games Ecosphere’, focusing on player behavior and preferences. The primary consumption product is the game itself but differentiation comes to a large extent through the design, mechanics, and delivery method of the surrounding Games Ecosphere. In effect, emphasis is placed on creating a Universal Gaming Experience (UGE) for customers; this is what ultimately defines successful online gaming operations.

What if people were playing exciting games in their own comfort zone?

Gaming content distribution takes place anytime and anywhere as the lottery player may be a retail user, a desktop user, a wireless user or even a “home user” who buys his lottery ticket or his subscription plan through his Smart TV.

More specifically, mobile gaming gross win is expected to reach 45% of total interactive gambling gross win by 2018, the new report by H2 Gambling Capital reveals. Smartphone and tablet penetration levels have enabled this new channel to develop into a major growth area for interactive gaming over the past few years and the shift from early adopters in Asia continues to be experienced across Europe and the upcoming regulated US market. The number of mobile users presents a profitable opportunity for the lotteries as the 18-35 years old male demographic, which is considered to be a prime demographic for gaming, will or already owns one or more mobile handsets.

The most inherent advantage of the mobile platform is the convenience of use and access enabled at all places and times. The term convenience also encompasses new and emerging technology concepts such as the QR Codes that allow for personalized and location based marketing communications and the Near Field Technology (NFC) that enables the mobile wallet embedded within the device.

Mobile gaming is also advantageous in that it attracts the more casual gamer. This casual player now has the option to ‘try out his chance’ from the privacy of his home or the local bar. However accessibility to this consumer base is also a challenge for the operator since evidently the consumer desires different gaming and information content while he is on-the-go compared to the state of relaxing at home.

And what about the good, loyal brick and mortar player?

The advent of technology and the registered gaming influences not only the interactive lottery offering but also the traditional, land-based channels. We are already experiencing the new retail. Modern technology, such as digital signage and paperless gaming concepts introduce innovation in traditional Points of Sales allowing players an exciting experience which combines visual entertainment, self service mobile terminals and information rich content delivered in a highly personalized manner, extending the time spent within the lottery point of sales.

Re-think Gaming

Given the extreme mobility and connectivity, consumers are constantly experiencing gaming in different touchpoints of their everyday lives and they expect a holistic and consistent experience to be provided to them as opposed to a device-based experience. Consumers nowadays are rightfully very demanding and well informed. Consequently, when they don’t find what they are looking for their player lifecycle gets shorter.

Re-thinking gaming is not only about the plethora of games that a lottery offers but also about the ecosphere that connects them all together and builds upon successful games and creates loyal relationships with the players. This is the reason why we need to seek diverse business models that focus on the customers, optimize our relationship with them and offer a truly omni-channel user experience.

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