Andrea Boratto, Executive Director of World Match (WM) and Gabriele De Lorenzi, WM Games Development Manager, speak about the next trends of the gaming industry.
“The branches of the gaming industry –land-based, online and mobile –, which once used to be separate business units, are now all converging in one business synergy: this is the trend of the field and the operators shouldn't get caught unprepared for this new challenge”, Andrea Boratto, Executive Director of World Match, maintains.
The company, which provides cutting-edge gaming solutions since 2003, is already able to offer omni-channel game products, that is to say games that are available for desktop, mobile and Apple TV and grant a truly seamless game experience on all the devices.
World Match owes its success mainly to the deep analysis of the habits and preferences of the players and the picture that is going to be clearly outlined is that of a player who is progressively more oriented to play on different devices, switching quickly and frequently from one device to another.
Speaking about the Italian market, where the Company boasts all the biggest operators as its customers, the statistics point out that touch screens are becoming the favourite devices for online gaming. Furthermore, when it comes to young players, mobile devices have already passed over desktops.
According to Audiweb Trends, in December 2015, 41.5 million Italians can access the Internet from any device, i.e. 86.3% of the population between 11 and 74 years.
Moreover: 35.2 million connect from their computer at home (-25.5% in the last two years), 10 million use a computer at work (-6.3% in the last two years), 32.7 million connect from their smartphones (+45,3% in two years), 12.9 million from their tablet (+83.6% in two years), 3,4 million from TV (+63.2% in two years) and 6.1 million use a console (+33.7% in two years).
According to a survey about online gambling carried out by Audiweb in partnership with Memis, Doxa and Nielsen, 55% of the 18–24 age group prefer to play on mobile devices and 90% of the players of this age group already define themselves as multi-platform users.
“Today the player wants to feel free to start playing on the laptop, then lower the lid and carry on the game session on his tablet while waiting for the bus, or traveling the city by subway. Eventually, once he gets home, he wants to lye on the sofa and complete the game on his Apple TV”, explains Gabriele De Lorenzi, Games Development Manager at World Match.
Today, therefore, omni-channel is the new watchword for the online gaming industry and it has already become the current market trend.
Gambling analyst predicts that omni-channel strategy will generate at least 30% more revenue (ARPU - Average revenue per user ) if the operators succeed to offer seamless experience on all the devices.
According to De Lorenzi the game experience should be essentially cross-platform and “this means that the players who change device should be able to resume the game exactly wherefrom they left it and, above all, they should be free to do so without any difficulty. The game experience should be equally engaging on all the digital channels, desktop and mobile and, in the not-too-distant future, on land-based Slots as well: it should offer the same emotions to the players, irrespective of the device they're playing on”.
Back in 2013 World Match was one of the first providers to launch a game suite for mobile in native technology and it is still continuing on this path, because it provides Slots with highly detailed graphics and best animations.
“Our Slots in iOS and Android native technologies are top-of-the-range products, which cannot be missing in the offer of any regulated operator, but that also have a basic weakness, since the access to each Apple Store is allowed only to the operators who hold a licence of that specific country. HTML5, on the other hand, is an ideal platform for the development of mobile games and it allows .com operators who are operating in a number of markets to cope with this restriction. From a commercial point of view, then, we aim to allow our customers to make the right choices, according to their target and the markets they address to”, Boratto explains.
“In a technological perspective, we can say that we're going through a transition from Flash to HTML5 technology, which is going to become our only platform for the development of both desktop and mobile games. Flash has now become obsolete and it has also caused a few security problems, therefore it has already been removed from the standard configuration of many browsers. I reckon Flash is going to disappear from the scene in two years, or so”, De Lorenzi reveals.
According to Boratto, HTML5 is a further advantage for the operators who are already burdened with expensive running costs.
"It is unreasonable to ask the operators, especially to small-sized ones, to certify both the mobile and desktop versions of each game, thus increasing the costs. In this case HTML5 is really worthwhile as it allows to avoid this problem, by reducing the burden they bear”, the Executive Director says.
World Match has just released the HTML5 version of 17 of its most popular Slots that can be tested at www.worldmatch.eu/html5