The art of casino portfolio management: an ever-changing game

‘More, more, more’ was the oft-heard cry in the recent years of online casino management.

More titles, more brands, more types of game, more channels, more supplier integrations – more of the time.

However, the online casino is a delicate ecosystem. It needs to be a balanced, flowing environment that presents a unified, clear product offering for the consumer..

Here is how that can be achieved: 

Step one: The road to success

A finely-tuned roadmap and portfolio takes time to craft and must account for a wide range of variables.

Suppliers must keep content fresh. They must constantly analyse their portfolio to see what works – and what doesn’t. They have to plan carefully which new games to introduce, when to release them, and how to do it.

The time of month and year to launch a game is important. Major events – like a blockbuster cinema release or a global sporting event – should be leveraged.

Operators must consider variety and player appeal – vary the schedule so that the types of games aren’t all the same, and space the releases out regularly so players get the chance to enjoy new games throughout the year. Hasty judgements on their commercial success – or otherwise – are also avoided.

Multi-channel releases are now a ‘must’ and demonstrate a joined-up approach to engaging players, hitting both online, mobile and possibly retail too. 

Step two: Support

Players are inundated with new game launches. It’s not just the role of operators to get on their radar, suppliers must help out too.

Games need to be aggressively promoted.  Having made the game, a casino supplier knows the product inside-out and is perfectly-equipped to help sell the game to both the operator and the player.

And the conversation shouldn’t end there, suppliers have to work with customers and their players to help test games and keep them fresh.

We know from our land-based business that it can take time to build a game following, particularly if a player likes similar competitive titles. Take your time – nurture the title, merchandise it, allow the players sufficient opportunity to play and engage. Otherwise, your development and marketing budget will be misspent.

Step three: Stay ahead of technical advancements

What happens behind the scenes is hugely important. What are the latest trends in game development, and how can they be incorporated in order to offer a better product?

Look at the move to HTML5, for example. Its benefits are plentiful, but suppliers needed to be prepared, whereas some are still adapting to it.

Development and deployment frameworks need to be in place that recognise and facilitate trends like HTML5 in new game development, for both desktop and mobile. 

Game consoles (the layers over the games that control the UI) are an increasingly important real-estate, requiring customisation, messaging and personalisation. The best suppliers offer operators flexibility to manage their game consoles for a differentiated player experience.

Step four: Crunch the numbers

Who is playing the games, how often, and for how long? Does this vary during the day? Which types of games are people playing? What are the most popular titles? What are the differences between countries? How about operators?

It requires a concerted effort to analyse performance data and make decisions.

Analysing financial and gameplay data is fundamental to maximising chances of success. For example, we built one game with a great theme, artwork and sound, only to find that the cost to cover was too high for the player, limiting its success despite strong take-up. 

Incredibly valuable insight, both at an operator and player level, can be gleaned by forensic analysis that will help achieve the core goal of constantly improving the management of the casino portfolio.

Step five: Always something new

Keeping virtual casino floor mix fresh is vital to your brand image. Knowing when, what and how to replace a game is just as important as launching new games. Whether the change is voluntary to replace lower performing games or required by regulations or other factors such as licensing, tough choices need to be made.

Being prepared and proactive is the only way to deal with a situation like this. Suppliers can work with operators to create an early customer communication plan providing support in the form of marketing and player reporting that will aid the transition.

Regulatory updates may also oblige changes – portfolios need to be reviewed and re-certified to comply with regularly changing local regulations, particularly when supplying a regionalised, multi-market offering. Sometimes games may not justify the recertification effort and costs.

The art of portfolio management has moved on and curating the perfect offering requires skill, experience and deep commitment from both from suppliers and operators alike.

We must all constantly evolve and adapt to customer, player, regulatory, technical and market needs, with a proactive, calculated – often ruthless – approach. 

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