The Global Mobile Market: Tailoring for success: (Gambling Insider week44)
3rd November 2017:
GI Friday Guest Column
Calvin Kent, CEO, ReelNRG
ess: (Gambling Insider week44)
The global mobile market: Tailoring for success
There can be no doubt that the influence that mobile devices wield over our lives is becoming ever more pronounced. So much of how we go about our day-to-day existence has been transformed by a wave of mobile technology that only really began to take on its current guise ten years ago with the release of the first iPhone in June 2007. Everything from keeping up with current affairs and shopping to navigating your way around a new city and perusing entertainment options has been delegated to devices like phones and tablets, which we carry on us at all times.
Needless to say, the potentially transformative nature of mobile technology on igaming was the topic on everyone’s lips along the halls of gaming industry conferences the world over from the year 2006, and mobile has risen to be the dominant channel for many operators, with several in western European jurisdictions noting that mobile users account for more than 70% of their total user engagement. The same is increasingly true globally, the adoption of mobile phones continuing apace throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia.
For slot developers like ReelNRG, these developments in both the widening of regulation and greater mobile adoption globally brings with it challenges and opportunities. The days of being able to put out a one-size-fits-all online product are well behind us, and it was a recognition of this that led to my founding ReelNRG with Amit Majumdar in 2015. The flat nature of content being released online based on land-based legacy software presented a problem, and it is increasingly clear that optimisation cannot be considered from a purely demographic or channel perspective. A sound appreciation of both is necessary in order to achieve success.
Delivering the perfect mobile experience
For players in all markets, ensuring that the game can be controlled in a slick and intuitive manner remains utterly crucial. With on-screen real estate at a minimum, making sure that navigational controls are obvious and intuitive while remaining unobtrusive represents a major challenge. Taking a desktop interface and expecting it to work with touchscreen controls on significantly smaller devices is unlikely to work.
However, this is a hurdle that providers must clear in order to ensure the mobile experience is as engaging as possible. Delivering a tailored interface that translates well in both portrait and landscape modes remains hugely important if players are to respond positively to your games.
Celebration messaging on mobile is also a factor that has not received enough attention as the channel has risen to dominance in recent years. Celebration messaging is something that needs to be looked at, with a view to ensuring that such messaging is proportional to the size of the win. Put simply, on-the-go mobile players don’t want to have their experience slowed by long celebrations for a win twice their stake. An easy step to improving mobile gameplay is to save the largest celebration messaging for the biggest wins and jackpots.
It is important to remember that mobile development is an ongoing process, as the technology developers can use grows in power. Developers such ReelNRG must always be aware of slowing the performance of our games by bogging them down with too many features and excessive graphical technology, especially in light of several studies which have underlined that loading times of more than a few seconds can lead to players turning those games off. As mobile technology grows, so will the complexity and experiences of the games that we are able to deliver.
The challenge of global optimisation
While optimising for mobile remains a challenge, it must not be allowed to completely dominate a slot developer’s technological and manpower resources. Providing games that are tailored to the needs of different players in different regional markets must retain a significant part of an operator’s focus.
By way of example, at ReelNRG was have placed emphasis on targeting Asia, having recently agreed a deal with leading operator BetVictor to provide Shanghai Respin and Goddess of Asia to their customers before expanding to Europe later this year. Volatility is key for the Asian player, favouring medium to high volatility games, whereas European players tend to favour games with an increased number of bonus features. Turbo play is also growing in popularity with players across Asia in a number of different territories. It is a great way of allowing players to search out the most exciting features and bonuses, and it has exhibited a great track record in driving player engagement.
In summary, the ever-increasing prominence of mobile technology is undeniable. Online casino players are increasingly at home playing in an on-the-go environment, a trend we are witnessing on a global scale. For developers, the importance meeting the demands of this growing marketplace with optimised mobile content tailored to the preferences of individual markets is now to big too ignore.