This past month the affiliate team here at Income Access was able to get a chance to sit down and have a Q&A session with NYX Social Gaming LLC about their social brand National League of Poker, a leader in the social gaming sphere. We got some great insights into the world of social gaming. With social gaming steadily rising in popularity we thought it would be great to pass these insights on to our affiliates. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:
(IA) How did NLOP start?
(NLOP) NLOP, aka National League of Poker, was born in 2005 as a free to play online poker application where players could play poker for a chance to win real cash and prizes. NLOP’s purpose was to target the 80% of players who were playing at real money gaming sites (e.g. PartyPoker.comTM ) but were never opening up their wallets to make a deposit. Our thought process was, why not offer them a sponsor supported free-to-play site where people can play competitive multi-player poker and actually win real cash & prizes? Historically, with poker as our only content, NLOP tended to attract a male dominated audience. Therefore in 2013 we expanded our offering to include casino slots, thus diversifying our brand and broadening our reach to include female players. Today NLOP Casino brings 24 slot games to the NLOP brand portfolio and gives our players more ways to play while they’re on the go. NLOP Casino is currently available via Facebook, Apple iOS and Android/Google Play.
(IA) Who are your games targeted to?
(NLOP) Traditionally the slots demographic is predominantly female, ages 35+ and we definitely focus on targeting and monetizing that demographic. However because the original NLOP following was a male dominated poker database, when NLOP Casino first launched we witnessed a more even 50/50 gender split. While we do see men monetizing in NLOP Casino, especially with a handful of games that are targeted at that gender, we do believe we better monetize the female demographic, leaving the monetization of men to be done by cross selling our poker games. Ultimately, we have opportunities for affiliates to drive both genders.
(IA) How many players do you support?
(NLOP) Having just launched the slots offering in May 2013 without any marketing support, we are very happy to have already seen over 1 million installs with 150,000 MAU (monthly active users) and about 15,000 DAU (daily active users).
(IA) How do you engage your players? Also, what is your strategy to keep your players playing?
(NLOP) Active community pages, exciting promotions, and encouraging friendly competition among the other players are a few ways we engage our players. We run weekly email campaigns to keep active players engaged as well as reactivate players who have not played in some time. Providing players with new game content is a great way to keep players coming back for more.
(IA) What, in your opinion sets social gaming a part from iGaming?
(NLOP) From a monetization stand point, social gaming and iGaming audiences are completely different. The motivation behind why someone would pay to play a social game verses pay to wager in iGaming is very different. Social gaming is a much more casual, social environment where players enjoy achieving within the virtual reality of that game. Think of people putting quarters into the machine at the arcade or spending money to buy the latest video gaming title. They don’t expect anything back from the game other than the challenge and the entertainment itself. In general iGaming is a more solitude experience in comparison to social gaming. Having said all that, of those players who do not put money into the social casino games, we do see a larger percentage of them claiming to have visited casinos within the last year. These players are either gamblers in the making, or gamblers who are unwilling to break the law and thus play this offering as entertainment until they can be drive to a physical location where gambling is legal.
(IA) How does the conversion process differ in social gaming as compared to iGaming?
(NLOP) Because there is little or no regulation in the social gaming world, we are required to gather much less information up front. The goal is to minimize any barriers to entry and get the player playing as quickly as possible. Once in the application, we have our own ‘friction’ points built into the game that encourage players to monetize. Players can then decide to wait for more free currency, or they can purchase currency to enhance and speed up their ‘journey’ through the gaming experience. Think Candy CrushTM, but with casino games.
(IA) How have you seen the industry change?
(NLOP) Market share has become increasingly competitive over the last few years. The current players have established themselves and secured a large percentage of the B2C market even though there is a daily influx of new operators in the market. Because of this, it’s become more and more important to provide quality games that have high perceived value to the player. Fortunately for the NLOP brand, we can leverage our parent company’s expertise in this area. In fact NYX Gaming Group has been successfully offering land based and online slots content since 1999. Mix good content with engaging community page programs and sophisticated marketing and one can find a way to survive or thrive in this highly competitive market.
(IA) In your opinion what would draw a player to play a social casino game, rather than a real money casino game?
(NLOP) Higher frequency of wins, for one. Slot games can be configured to produce a few wins with big payouts, or frequent wins with smaller payouts. The attention span of the social player is much shorter than that of the real money player, so you want to grab their attention early on in the gaming session and retain it with a highly engaging UI and audio gaming experience. And continued wins of course. Also if you’re speaking to the true social player, and not the gambler, you must offer something that surrounds the game so that there is a sense of achievement. Overall, the social player is playing for the enjoyment of the game’s ‘journey’ and the successes that comes along with that journey, as artificial as that success maybe. This is vastly different from the motivation behind the real money iGamer.