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Online bingo is an undoubted success story but, unlike much of the i-gaming
industry, it has struggled with the move to mobile. As this threatens to hold the
bingo sector back, iNTERGAMINGi talks to some leading industry figures
SER experience. This, more than
anything, is key to success of
online bingo, whether on desktop
or mobile.
In fact, making the leap to
mobile has proved especially challenging for
some. There are the familiar challenges of screen
size and the vast range of mobile devices but
for bingo, with its chat component and mini
games, the four or ĮveͲinch screen can seem
especially limiƟng.
INTERGAMINGi asks just what can be done
to bump this most social of games into the onͲ
theͲgo arena. Time and again we hear of bingo͛s
unique demographic, the social aspect of that
group and how bingo appeals to both.
Is the player base really so clearly deĮned
and if it is how does that inform the online
bingo oīer͍ Dontse Wuig, KK at kamon
Entertainment, says: “Yes, bingo has a very well
deĮned demographic proĮle and this is really
helpful when it comes to designing an engaging
experience and a successful product.
“The biggest challenge might come if your
product is present in diīerent markets with
34 Issue 2 2014 iNTERGAMINGi
using the mobile
device as
diīerenƟated cultures. Then you must focus in
understanding what the locals expect from your
product and deliver a fully localised product Ͳ not
simply translated.”
^o what are the “soŌ factors” that are
important in aƩracƟng players in the online
bingo market͍ :ohan >aurelli, head of product
management at gaming systems supplier NYX
InteracƟve, says: “sibes and atmosphere make
a great diīerence. :ust recall a Ɵme where
you had a good restaurant experience. I can
guess that the food was great, and that all
supporƟng services were present and according
to expectaƟons, but I bet that what contributed
most in making this a memorable and rewarding
experience was the overall experience.
“The people present, the overall feel of the
venue, the discussion over food choice with the
waiƟng staī and the way they worked to best
please audience and Ɵme of day just mixed
perfectly, right͍
“The same goes for a solid bingo experience.
Equally important as having interesƟng
bingo games and aƩracƟve prizes are the
accompanying supporƟng services. There needs
to be a good audience of your online friends, a
chat manager hosƟng the event that can relate
the site.”
The online gaming sector has seen a dramaƟc
shiŌ to mobile and tablet gaming in the last
year or two. ingo has, for the most part, lagged
behind. Wuig: “ingo mobile products have to
fulĮl two objecƟves: adjust playing session Ɵme
to mobile, which is slightly shorter than browser
games, and also oīer aƩracƟve gameplay for
passive players using the mobile device as
secondary screen and don͛t want to pay extra
aƩenƟon to daubing their cards or chaƫng with
other players.
“This is quite challenging and hence there are
not many good mobile bingo games available in
the market.”
So are there realisƟc opportuniƟes for crossͲ
plaƞorm realͲmoney bingo accounts and games
that run from the local bingo hall to the second
screen at home͍
“You must
the basics there
feel at home
kamon͛s Wuig thinks so: “Yes, deĮnitely Ͳ as
long as the balancing of these games is well
adjusted and players in bricksͲandͲmortar
bingo halls don͛t feel they have a compeƟƟve
disadvantage against online players.”
How will the industry rise to these challenges
Ͳ what are the emerging trends, as Wuig sees
them͍ “There is a huge oīer of online bingo
games so you need to build a strong brand and
also have a fresh product that is challenging your
players and engaging them by oīering secondary
gameplays, like mini games or any other game
mechanic that causes a player to value her
account with your product.
“ingo now represents ϰϱ per cent of the
company revenue at kamon, being one of the
games that moneƟses best,” says Wuig.
“So we expect to increase this number and
speciĮcally for our bingo on mobile, as it will
conĮrm our transiƟon to mobile ʹ something we
are conƟnuing to work on.”
Dimmi Sandberg, product manager Ͳ bingo
at SwedishͲlicensed operator Swedish Wostcode
>oƩery, outlines a suitable approach to aƩracƟng
players: “DarkeƟng and product goes hand in
hand when you oīer a digital product,” she says.
“Wlayers expect and appreciate when you
oīer them campaignͲthemed games ʹ both in
design and game conĮguraƟon. &or us it is very
important to have the tools inͲhouse in order
to swiŌly create new games in line with our
markeƟng and ZD acƟviƟes. then you create
a bingo game, all components contribute to the
experience͖ game conĮguraƟon, graphics, sound,
caller, chatͲhost etc.”
Sandberg conƟnues: “ll these components
should be created within the theme, to have
perfectly tailored games so that players get in the
right mood and feel entertained.
“sariety is highly appreciated among bingo
players, they expect new things. Think of it as
a cinema. New posters and new movies every
week, but the seats and popcorn changes
more seldom.
“You must reinvent yourself regularly, but have
the basics there for the players to feel at home
on your site,” she adds. “In general we see that
during lunchƟme the player sessions are shorter
compared to evenings. te oīer diīerent games
depending on the Ɵme of the day. Kn &riday
and Saturday evenings we oīer special games
themed with the general weekend evening feel.
“Wlayers are more in a party mood during
these hours so our games are designed to
enhance that feeling both in graphics, sounds,
game conĮguraƟon and so on. They want to put
their feet up and relax with a bingo game on
&riday aŌer work, and they want to feel energised
on Saturday evenings,” conƟnues Sandberg.
“te oīer games called mingle, party and
aŌerͲparty on both evenings. These games are
highly appreciated by our players, and the energy
in the chat room is much higher than during a
normal evening. te oīer chatͲhosts that serve
and entertain.”
So what environments are the Swedish
Wostcode >oƩery oīering͍ “te work with many
celebriƟes,” says Sandberg. “te have three
celebriƟes that act as chatͲhost one evening each
per week. The celebriƟes have their own ͚brands͛
that we build around Ͳ the rock star, the chef, and
the singer/entertainer.
“The celebriƟes chat about their speciĮc area
of interests ʹ and the games are designed to
enhance their character and topic. &or example,
the chef has a bingo game with her voice as the
caller, sounds from a kitchen in between games,
and graphics from a kitchen. She talks about
food and gives the players handy Ɵps about
their cooking.”
Sandberg conƟnues: “te also have games that
are designed in line with our Ts programmes.
Kur game Yuinjingo is designed in line with our
Ts programme Wostcode Dillionaire. The Ts
studio inspires the graphics, and while the game
is played the chatͲhost oīers more quinj quesƟons
than normally.
“The players appreciate when the game theme
is clear so they know what to expect. te run our
games in a schedule on speciĮc hours. Kur loyal
players have learned this schedule and log in
when their favorite celebrity chatͲhost is online,
and when their favourite game is played.”
NYy InteracƟve͛s >aurelli picks up the story:
“that is important is to deliver appropriate
bingo game play.
“The operators that succeed understand
which game oīering they should make available
at various Ɵmes of the day, and for which player
types: is it quick and rapid, with a lot of winners,
quickly changing game types, lots of chat and
interacƟvity or more relaxed, longer game plays,
focusing on jackpots, enjoying the environment,
the use of wellͲknown chat hosts being there
supporƟng the atmosphere without disturbing͍”
nd how does this marry with the mobile
strategy͍ “tith the advent of mobile,” says
>aurelli, “we now have the ͚on the go͛ player,
thus the need to create speciĮc games for mobile
users like &riend hallenge or High Speed ingo.
“I would say that you should try stuī that
you know works to keep interest in the game
play. eing in bingo is the most rewarding job
there is, since you are always close to feedback.
Use that!”
He conƟnues: “Your players expect you to
be close. You just need to turn that into an
advantage. Try stuī, but remember also to
check how it works. Use your audience. They
are there. They react and have opinions but
most of all ʹ they are most oŌen very happy to
contribute. Dake use of the ability, and in many
cases players expect diīerent promos or games
to be tried.”
The most social of games requires a socialͲ
style approach, says >aurelli, who thinks
operators and developers should be engaging
with a player base that is oŌen happy to
reach out.
“Try diīerent game types at diīerent Ɵmes
for diīerent player segments,” he says. “Try
diīerent promoƟonal campaigns. hange the
look and feel, but do it with a clear intent. nd
as always, do evaluate. Indeed give the feedback
to the players so they can see what the rest of
the players thought, make votes open. on͛t just
keep the results within the business Ͳ include
your customers in the feedback loop.
“<eep it simple,” enthuses >aurelli. “Start
small, but if anything ʹ begin trying it all out!
Kf course to be able to do all this, you need
soŌware that is Ňexible to frequent changes on
the Ňy. Something we at NYy are very proud
to deliver.” iNTERGAMINGi Issue 2 2014