This is a guest contribution by Slotsquad.co.uk‘s Chief Editor James Isherwood. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
As a consumer, it is the player that has the power to direct the course of the gaming industry, perhaps not alone but certainly in great numbers. Trend setting, greater communication tools such as social media and the general popularity culture can now dictate what is hot and what is not almost like fashion. Games, affiliates, operators and their promotions are now at the mercy of the igaming consumer. Creating a problem for someone now is like creating potential problems for many, players can spread words almost like germs and thanks to modern technology, they catch on like wildfire. Impress the user and you have the potential to impress many users.
It’s not just the bad praise of customer service or a late payout that gets players chatting online. Players are smarter, more informed and they gain experience of which later becomes shared information.
As affiliates, operators, games developers, sales personnel, customer support agents, igaming specialists you name it, we are no longer dealing with the shop visitor who is unsure of what to buy. We are dealing with shop visitors who know of better shops, cheaper products, how good the shop is, problems the shop has, etc. It is knowledge that gives the player immense power, giving the player influence over other players. The only way to combat this influence is to help guide it.
Moving forward, I believe the iGaming industry must adapt as a whole to meet the demands of a well-informed player. Competition is no doubt fierce and players who want to jump ship following initial subscriptions can do it all day long.
It’s keeping them happy that will do that; it’s informing them that will do that.
In terms of small prints, operators need to make them more available, transparent and clear. Wagering requirements need to be reasonable and payout timeframes must join the 21st century. Some operators are putting up new client databases built around integrity because of brutal honesty and fairer pay out time frames. It might be an operator that has little choice and variety of games, but an operator with a reputation for paying its players on that same little variety of games.
Slots and games development will change too; more and more consumers can now relate to slot models and platform design by just looking. Players of the future will not settle for repetition, they will demand variation. Games will, therefore, have to become more original, in-depth and interactive; they will essentially become more user driven. Any developer can offer motion following the spin buttons activation but only involvement will keep those spin buttons activating. Players have glimpsed the spectacular capabilities of some of the industry’s most powerful iGaming goodies, and they will look for more, they expect more. Slots that take the form of stories inside multiple levels and on various platforms will dominate the playing field of tomorrow.
If it’s not igaming on the go, they don’t want to know. Operators will have to work harder to ensure their platforms respond to the likes of IOS, Android and Windows-based operating systems via smartphones and tablets. Mobile opens up another void altogether of how good those operators look in the palm of the player’s hand. Are their favorite games available via their phone or do they need to shop elsewhere, can the read the screen, can they even see it. Operators of tomorrow will need to think heavily about the mobile market and weigh up investment programs to suit the demands of igaming on the go. The operator that can offer an abundance of games to the player wherever and however he/she wants it whether at home or via mobile, will have laid the foundations of the grand design that future players will expect to see.
We can no longer be a car showroom that assumes that every customer knows very little about cars. In some cases, they know more than the dealer and with honesty and integrity, that customer becomes a valuable and happy consumer. The players of today expect more of tomorrow. They expect an industry that’s as cool as it is calculated, games that are as various as they are vast and brands that are as honest as they are successful.
James Isherwood is the Chief Editor at Slotsquad.co.uk and is passionate about igaming and shaping the future of the industry by narrowing the gap between player and provider.