Who would have thought that a game app which effectively encourages users to hunt down virtual creatures through utilising the camera and GPS on their smartphones would have created the biggest pandemic since swine flu?
Despite being launched in barely a third of the markets in which App Store and Google Play operate, it has been estimated that Pokémon GO has already been downloaded in excess of 75 million times.
It would be foolish for any company not to attempt to learn something from this craze in terms of ways to boost their own business exposure and success. Here are nine points that online casinos may want to consider as a way of making their product more universally popular.
The Need for a Social Experience
Most casino games may effectively be a 1v1 situation of a player taking on the establishment in the hope of winning money. But in a live casino environment, the atmosphere and social experience can be just as essential for many visitors. For example, waiting for a shooter to shake and throw dice at craps often generates a positive buzz.
Pokémon GO provides a social experience by having friends go out in search of new creatures through their phones and it is this form of interaction which is a big reason for its success.
Online casinos need to find a better way of making gameplay much more reminiscent of real-life visits or allowing players to have better camaraderie with each other.
Developing a Successful Slogan
Whether it be a memorable phrase such as “It’s Good To Talk” from BT or something that provides a specific goal like Pokémon’s “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”, a target audience can be lured in by a successful slogan.
“You have to make one bet each day, otherwise you could be walking around lucky and never know it”, is a quote from former cult leader Jim Jones, but is something that could be worked into an attractive slogan to encourage people to gamble.
People have the goal of placing a bet on a daily basis and the motivation that it could lead to a big payday.
Use of Augmented Reality
Reducing the gap between the digital and real world isn’t easy and Pokémon GO does a good job at making the creatures feel more alive.
The use of camera angles, the ability to walk between game rooms, the way dealers scoop losing chips off a roulette layout or the manner in which players push chips into betting circles could all be made to look more realistic.
Incorporating the latest technology to help with this goal is a must.
Easy to Play
As long as players have a smartphone containing a working camera and GPS, it is possible to load up and begin collecting on Pokémon GO. Nothing new needs to be learned, as players are already familiar with these technologies. Even those unfamiliar with the Pokémon brand can quickly work out what they need to do.
Most casino games at their core are quite basic (get as close to 21 as possible at blackjack, bet on red or black at roulette etc), with the more knowledgeable able to incorporate strategies to boost their chances of winning. Finding a way to make these games as simple as possible to understand and enjoy is critical.
When playing any sort of game, players need to feel motivated to come back for another go and achievements are a strong way of securing this.
In Candy Crush Saga, players want to reach as high a level as possible, while in Pokémon the intention is to collect creatures.
Obviously, when visiting a casino, the main achievement is to make a profit, but others could also prove lucrative. These may include getting a free bet for winning three blackjack hands in a row.
Setting up variable rewards when a player anticipates a prize can be a powerful tool to encourage more gameplay.
Pokémon GO has been a major success, but, with so many people wanting to play it, there are issues that crop up. One is that some players are simply unable to participate because the servers go down as such a vast number of people attempt to connect at the same time.
Another is that updates to the game have caused some players to lose all of their achievements and effectively need to start from scratch.
Online casinos will need to have plans in place for a substantial number of users all looking to connect simultaneously.
Pokémon is a brand that various young adults remember from their childhood and this factor encourages them to play, in the same way that adults now may choose to buy music albums from the band Take That.
Few casino brands can appeal in the same way, but allowing players to step into the shoes of famous gambling scenes and stories could be one way of reminiscing.
This could be playing the role of a lead character in a big gambling film scene or taking on the role of chip leader at the final table of the World Series of Poker.
Timing of Launch
Pokémon GO couldn’t have launched at a better time, with the summer bringing longer, brighter nights and teenagers having more free time as schools break up for the six-week holidays.
Launching an online casino app or alike around the Christmas or New Year period wouldn’t initially seem like a sensible plan, given this is when most people have money tied up elsewhere.
Planning in push notifications is one way casinos could encourage players to return to place additional bets. An alert that says “log in during the next 20 minutes and deposit £10 to receive £5 free” could be enough to lure someone to bet again.
Rewarding loyal players with improved bonuses and offers would also be a productive ploy.