The demand for 'new' within the online world has seen IWG respond with a new content delivery platform, allowing us to work more closely with our platform partners and lotteries in getting content to players quickly and efficiently. Read the full article to find out more...
There is a huge appetite within the lottery industry to obtain a better understanding of the digital consumer and what they mean to the lottery business. Consumers of lottery are of course consumers of many other ‘products’ and the evolution of e-commerce, casual and social gaming, online entertainment and social media are key indicators of how people are consuming content online. Trends that have prevailed in the online world are informing us greatly on the behaviour of the online lottery customer, and we are taking these preferences on board as we continue to roll out our products to customers.
One of the most interesting and unique aspects of digital lottery is the way it combines the worlds of e-commerce and entertainment. We make lottery products that are expected to offer consumers the chance to win money but also to entertain them in the process. One factor that clearly unites both of these insights is the demand for ‘new’.
The appetite for ‘new’ in the online world is universal because digital consumers consume content at a much faster rate than in the offline world, and this has only been accelerated by the growth of mobile, which has seen consumers consume online content at a faster rate than ever before. This almost insatiable thirst for new and frequently updated content throws down a significant challenge to the lottery industry that has so far proven difficult to overcome.
This understanding of the digital consumer landscape has greatly informed our strategy for taking games online. Our mantra over the last few years - and our customers will verify this - has been that any lottery launching an instants platform needs access to a large amount of diverse content, and they will need to update and refresh it frequently. In every territory we have launched, the player data has unanimously backed this up. To engage, retain and, more importantly, grow a player base, you need to meet its appetite for new games, new mechanics, new themes and innovative content.
Equally important is the ability to react quickly to player behaviour, and this is where the capture of player data and the ability to analyse it is absolutely crucial. Your player base will change and grow over time, and they are the people who will best inform you about what is working by either buying or not buying your products. It is incredibly important not to overlook the data. Instead, it must be harnessed, shared and discussed, and your strategy needs to be adapted to address the insights you obtain from your analysis. Never before have lotteries been in a position where they can understand and react to their consumers, and this will be a huge factor in the success of any lottery online.
Facilitating the growth of a huge market like this presents a host of logistical problems. The creation and distribution of the amount of content required to meet the needs of the market has pushed game developers and platforms to the limit of their abilities. Additionally, we have been waiting for years for mobile to mature and settle in order for it to take its place at the table. Now that it has arrived, it is proving to be a needy guest with a huge appetite. In every territory in which we have delivered mobile content, we have had to support and test on numerous devices, all of which is adding precious time and effort to the distribution chain.
As it stands, the amount of time needed to get new content to market is far greater than the market is prepared to wait. In most cases there is little or no flexibility to allow lotteries to quickly change or update their game offering to react to the all-important player data. Instead of a reactive, streamlined process there are bottlenecks and delays, and the consumers, not to mention sales, are suffering as a result.
As a game developer, we have had to push very hard to try and ensure that we can meet our strategic ambitions for our customers by giving them the content they need as quickly as possible. In trying to find a better way of achieving this, we decided that we have to take on more of the responsibility of distribution ourselves. There is no point observing the supply chain and complaining about its frailties if you aren’t prepared to step in and help solve the problem.
IWG’s response to this has been to build our own content delivery platform for mobile and desktop and take on a significant amount of the responsibility for getting a high-quality product to the end customer. Our belief is that content creators should not constantly place a burden on our platform partners by pushing them for a greater bandwidth of support in delivering the required volume and innovation. At IWG we fundamentally believe that we have to be responsible for this and find a solution that works for all of us. Clearly we are all striving towards the same goal of growing a healthy player base and healthy sales, and by taking some responsibility for the delivery of content, we are helping take up some of the slack. In our relationships with platforms, partnership is key. We want to be able to do our fair share, whomever we are working with, and believe that, as in any relationship, both sides have to put in the effort to achieve the best results.
Our content platform allows us to offer as much content as the market demands, and by opening up our portfolio of over 100 games on mobile and desktop through an RGS we are able to empower lotteries by giving them a much wider choice. We also have access to data that allows us to better understand what motivates our players - not just in terms of sales but also very important data on how players are interacting with games. Crucially, we can now innovate on our own platform without our platform partners having to do the hard work on our behalf. We design and build all of our own game mechanics, more of which will now see the light of day because we would be able to rapidly market A/B test any of these for any lottery that chooses to deploy them
The opportunity to work more closely with our platform partners and lotteries in getting content to players quickly and efficiently is one we all need to embrace. If we can release platforms from the burden of building and distributing our content, it will allow them to focus on vital innovation at a platform level, optimising the player experience in a variety of other ways. Everyone benefits. We don't need to look too far to see this example working well in other markets, of course. Game developers in the commercial gaming market have long been supplying their content to exactly the same platforms remotely via their own platforms, and this kind of relationship is working very well indeed.
IWG will be rolling out a new content platform this summer with key clients in Europe and N. America, and in doing so we hope to lift the burden of development from our platform partners. More importantly, it gives lottery clients immediate access to our entire back catalogue of games and a fast, constantly updated pipeline of new game mechanics and innovations.
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