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Key focuses for the future: Gamification and social interaction

SOFTSWISS experts have pointed to gamification as a key area of focus for businesses in the iGaming market, breaking down the facts and figures for what gamification can do to increase player engagement. 

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Softswiss experts have identified gamification as a key focus for the future. This shift is a response to the rapidly evolving iGaming landscape, where the distinctions between gaming and gambling are becoming increasingly blurred. What we're witnessing is not just a trend but a move towards a gamified experience that meets players' expectations for engagement beyond basic gameplay. 

The trigger for such modification is obvious: Players require more and a platform with a concrete selection of games is no longer special – it's anticipated.  

In a climate where player engagement is scarce and acquisition costs are rocketing, the strategic pivot is now towards retention and maximising the value of each player. Traditional techniques, particularly the reliance on bonuses with complex wagering conditions, are losing traction as they often lead to player dissatisfaction and mistrust. 

Gamification in iGaming serves a dual purpose: It's a potent tool for player retention and a catalyst for revenue growth. By tailoring the gaming experience to individual player profiles, it not only deepens engagement but also ensures a player's longevity on the platform. This strategy benefits casinos by fostering player loyalty and increasing profits, while players gain a richer, more rewarding gaming journey. 

As we look to the future, the integration of gamification with social media stands out as a particularly promising avenue, despite current gambling-related limitations. Encouraging players to share their wins and gaming milestones can effectively turn each player into a brand ambassador, leveraging their social networks to attract new players. 

In essence, gamification is set to support the iGaming industry, enhancing player interaction and building a future of engaging, loyalty-driven gaming experiences. For those in the industry, it's an opportunity to lead the market towards a more dynamic and player-focused future. 

Esports 

The esports arena is also transforming and presenting the iGaming industry with new possibilities. This change caters to young, tech-savvy users and syncs well with iGaming's digital-first mindset. 

The 2023 landscape of esports betting and iGaming has seen fundamental changes. Entain, post its acquisition of Unikrn and Real Luck Group, the creators of Luckbox, are moving from direct consumer engagement to a business-to-business model. This shift, underscored by the winding down of major consumer-focused projects, signals a strategic reorientation in the industry towards B2B operations. 

Current state of esports in the iGaming industry: 

Audience growth: Esports' global audience expanded to 474 million in 2021 and is forecasted to swell to 577 million in 2024. 

Market value: The esports betting market is poised to reach an impressive $3.2bn by the year 2027.  

Demographic focus: The 18 to 34 age group, pivotal in both esports viewership and online gambling, heralds a burgeoning market for esports betting. 

Key regions: Asia-Pacific, North America, and Europe are the hotspots for both esports and online gambling, suggesting significant growth potential for esports betting. 

Alexander Kamenetskyi, Head of Softswiss Sportsbook, explains the popularity of gamification in esports, betting and other spheres: “We all have this inner child inside us, right? And we often end up telling that inner child to put away the toys. That's where gamification steps in. It's like this cool trick where even apps that have nothing to do with games sneak in some fun stuff. 

“It all comes down to our basic need to play, something we usually hold back on. But when you sprinkle in a bit of fun, engagement shoots up. We start getting into missions and quests, and that keeps us coming back for more. That's exactly what these app developers are after – they want to keep us hooked. So, we keep coming back to take care of our virtual cat or spin that wheel because, let's be honest, missing out on those means fewer bonuses. Plus, we are all in on those weekly missions to boost our ranking. It's all about that core principle – making it fun to keep us around.” 

Social interaction 

The iGaming industry is poised for a transformative shift, with the integration of social elements earmarked as the next big trend in player engagement. Tournaments, challenges, team competitions and social casino interactions are at the forefront, creating a collective gaming experience that resonates with players seeking the camaraderie of offline environments in the online realm. This surge is partly fueled by the increased popularity of live dealer games, which emulate the social atmosphere of physical casinos. 

The crux of this trend lies in the human need for social connection. Beyond the games themselves, players are drawn to the sense of purpose and community that comes from competing, socialising and collaborating. It's a dynamic that particularly appeals to younger audiences who value shared experiences. 

On average, Softswiss Game Aggregator Tournament Tool integration resulted in a 4.23% increase in player spending during tournaments, rising to 9.01% post-tournament. 

Comparing players spending one week before and after tournaments, an overall boost of 13.6% was observed based on analytics from November to January 2024, comprising 36 tournaments of different operators. 

Social casinos, being a fast-developing trend in online entertainment and player engagement, offer a unique fusion of popular casino games and social networking features. Unlike traditional casinos, they operate without real-money betting, utilising virtual currency for gameplay. Social сasinos revenue primarily stems from virtual goods sales, enriching gameplay without monetary risks. 

To stay ahead of the curve, operators must not only embrace these social features but also continuously innovate to meet the ever-changing preferences of their audience. In an industry where player experience is king, those who build and nurture a strong community around their brand will likely see long-term success and loyalty. 

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