2022 is set to build on the sporting successes of the previous year, with a packed schedule including ongoing domestic leagues and international tournaments such as the Six Nations and most significantly the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Speaking to SBC shortly after the firm secured a supply agreement with bet265, Incentive Games CEO John Gordon shared his views on how free-to-play games can play a major role in customer acquisition and retention throughout the coming 12 months.
SBC – Incentive Games has been an established name for some time now. How major is the latest agreement with bet365 for the company?
John Gordon – The bet365 deal is a watershed moment for Incentive Games. It is renowned for using very few third-party suppliers, so to have made the grade is an honour. We have a track record of supplying the best-in-class free-to-play and Pay-to-Play games to operators, and now we are also working with the best-in-class operators which of course includes bet365.
SBC – What are the main benefits of free-to-play games in relation to customer retention and acquisition?
JG – Top-of-mind awareness is the ultimate goal, and we achieve that by creating internal triggers in the player’s mind. When we create a daily habit for the player to come to the bet365 app, which in this case is to play our free-to-play game, we have done our job.
This saves our clients a tremendous amount of marketing cost and resource, and it has a significant impact on their week-on-week retention, the life-time-value of their players and ultimately, their bottom line.
For example, operators using our free-to-play games can expect to see on average a 50% uplift in week-on-week retention, a 22% reduction in customer acquisition costs and that results in an increase in customer lifetime value.
SBC – There is a packed sporting schedule next year (domestic and international football, Six Nations, Rugby League World Cup World Cup etc) – how beneficial would you say tournament-themed games are as part of an operator’s arsenal?
JG – They are hugely beneficial. We have several games that help operators distinguish themselves during these major sports events, and we are very much looking forward to what the next 12 months have in store. Operators cannot afford to ignore these events to get new players or reactivate their older players, and we are ready to help them.
That being said, we believe that 2022 will be the year of retention, retention, retention. As effective as our acquisition games can be, the value that we have seen from our retention games is even higher and much more consistent.
This is even more important in mature markets like the UK or markets where the customer acquisition cost is very high, like the USA.
SBC – Free bets and bonuses have been criticised to some extent by gambling reform advocates – is there a danger this criticism could be extended to FTP products?
JG – We believe responsible gaming is an important issue and a joint responsibility for our industry. As part of this responsibility, we have to evaluate what we do and how we do it continuously.
At this moment, you cannot play the games if you are not registered (fully verified KYC in the UK and other regions), and for registered customers our games have no barrier for entry (deposit to play, for example).
So, our games are free of charge, with no strings attached. We see the customer as someone we want to entertain and retain.
SBC – Are there any particular considerations operators must observe when integrating FTP games into their wider offering in comparison to other products – for example with regards to compliance or regulation?
JG – Each territory is different when it comes to compliance and regulation. However, for FTP there are generally no licences required outside of the US. This is what makes them such a powerful acquisition and retention tool for operators in markets around the world. Other considerations include the popularity of particular sports in each market and the types of markets that players prefer to make and to then create a free-to-play offering around this.
Is there potential for the integration of NFTs into free-to-play offerings?
JG – Yes, there is potential. I am very excited about NFTs and the Metaverse. We are building the foundations to facilitate this and will approach some of our top clients during the year about stepping into the Metaverse and NFTs with Incentive Games when the timing is right. So, watch this space as I believe it could be revolutionary for the online gambling sector.
SBC – Without giving too much away, what can we expect from Incentive in 2022? Are there any new agreements or markets being targeted?
JG – Yes! We signed another great deal on New Year’s Eve. I am drafting the press release as we speak and look forward to making the official announcement shortly. It really is a game changer for Incentive Games and marks our arrival as the number one developer of free-to-play games in the industry.