Interview: CCO Nicola Longmuir speaks with EGR on her industry predictions for 2021.
As the year draws to a close, we start to look towards the future and what lies ahead for the upcoming months. To discuss this further, EGR invited our CCO, Nicola Longmuir, to give her thoughts and predictions for the industry in 2021.
Read on to see what she had to say about this.
With every year comes new changes, and we’ve really started to see the next generation of players getting involved in gaming. Alongside that, as with all advancement in technology, comes the need for speed and strong connectivity. 5G, for example, is really starting to test its capabilities, and I believe there’s going to be real scope for developers to get creative as 2021 progresses, with a far greater demand by the player for entertainment-first content.
Delivering an experience that can really resonate with the player can’t be commodified – and specialised games with top animations and immersive visuals are going to be essential for attracting the interest of a wider player base. I also predict we’ll start to see studios move past the ‘reskin after reskin’ commodity gaming approach. Of course, some have used it as an effective business model for more than a decade, but with players being more discerning than ever, it’s going to be all about fun, edgy and innovative features that can really entertain. Both operators and suppliers who look to provide such content will harness the surge in media interest, as well as building some serious brand advocacy.
Increased streamer influence
The ways in which we consume media are continuously changing, and it’s no surprise to see that the current Covid crisis has undeniably had a big impact – and we’ve seen the usage of media increase significantly as a result.
With this in mind, we need to also be aware of changes in consumption patterns. It seems very likely that we’ll see an even bigger shift towards streamers as part of the social element of gaming. Being part of this is already an essential way of reaching out directly to players, and it will no doubt be an integral part of the future of our industry’s B2C marketing. Already established as an essential acquisition and retention channel for studios and operators, we’re really beginning to see the effect particular influencers can have on driving engagement and retention, and I predict they’ll prove key next year.
Responsible gambling – more crucial than ever
Being big in Europe is all about being live in key markets. With that, however, comes tougher regulation. The UK, Sweden, Germany and Netherlands are all good examples of this – and we’re certainly going to see a more focused presence from each market’s regulators. Creating content that can excite, while adhering to enhanced restrictions will be a challenge that will likely prove healthy for the market in the long-term.
The importance of VIP players will also continue to diminish – especially in regulated markets where max stakes are likely to be enacted. Operators are seeing a systemic shift from a large proportion of their revenues being generated by a small proportion of players, to revenues being driven by players playing for lower stakes. The B2B supplier vertical will need to adapt its game products and marketing to reflect the changes in market.
In effect, this means we’re marketing to a new generation of players with an infinite amount of content to choose from. Operators are, so far, bearing the brunt of these measures, and I expect to see a few studios really differentiate themselves in 2021 by putting players in the driving seat when it comes to customising their own responsible gaming experience.