Bwin co-chief executive Manfred Bodner insists that the future of egaming lies with technology and innovation, rather than branding.
On the day his company won the award for EGR Operator of the Year 2009, Bodner explained to delegates at the EGR Live egaming conference in London, including your trusty Calvinayre.com staff writer, that the industry’s major players had got to where they are today through aggressive marketing and expensive brand-building exercises.
But Bodner added that success any future success would be determined by which company becomes the next Apple of the industry rather than who throws the most money at self-promotion.
“The next 10 to 15 years in this industry will be about innovation,” he said. “The last ten years have been about big branding and being the industry’s Red Bull, but the next ten will be about being an Apple, and offering consumers something new that revolutionises the market. Media spending will not be the answer.”
Bodner added that live gaming has changed the face of online gambling, and predicted that massively multi-player online games (MMOG) such as World of Warcraft offer egaming operators the chance to re-define online betting as we know it.
“Live betting has transformed betting from being a transactional interaction to being an entertainment transaction. MMOG offers us room to move because people spend longer online.”
This line of thought would explain why the Vienna-based egaming company bought a majority shareholding in UnitedGames, the European MMOG publisher and developer.
Ed Andrewes, the CEO of Ladbrokes, said that the speed of growth and flotation of PartyGaming was a key indicator of how egaming has developed in importance over the last 10 years.
“In the midst of the whole online boom and bust online gaming was the one sector that lived up to the hype,” he said. “The float of Party and how quickly it grew into a billion dollar company showed how this sector [egaming] really fulfilled the online boom.
“How quickly these new products have been adopted and how quickly they’ve grown could only have happened online. So the next milestone for the next ten years will be whatever is the next poker.” Andrewes concluded by adding, “and if anyone knows, can they let me know, please.”