What is the iGaming market like for a developer such as Gaming Corps? Who is the customer? Today our calendar journey continues with a look at who our target groups are and how distribution of products work.
For developers, the primary target group for sales consists of operators, these are companies which provide casino games online. The main products for casino sites are online betting, on sports mainly, and casino products such as digital slot machines and roulette. Many of the classic games found at a physical casino have seen their digital counterparts born on the internet over the past two decades. Given the currently strong and growing market share of mobile platforms, most operators focus on offering games that are suitable for mobile consumption. An operator can consist of just one online casino site or be the proprietor of a number of different casino sites. In the latter case it is not uncommon with a so-called house of brands approach – there is no visible or communicated connection between the different casino sites, instead the operator uses the different product brands in a portfolio manner for the purpose of attracting different target groups. It is also not uncommon for an operator to own a couple of casino sites as well as be affiliated with other casino sites, so that if a developer signs with one operator that can mean exposure on several sites of very different character, focus and geographic spread.
Developers can either offer their products exclusively, which means that they are only available via one operator, or non-exclusively where the same game is provided to the end users via several operators. Most games are distributed non-exclusively meaning that you can find the same game on many different casino sites within the same geographic market. But the operators will also offer some games exclusively and/or purchase bespoke games and white label games, meaning games produced by a developer but under the brand of the operator. Therefore, an operator may have different purchasing behavior depending on the purpose of the product. What matters the most, of course, are the end users when it comes to operator preferences as they are the ones driving the business.
Gaming Corps is a developer and a B2B company as we have direct commercial relationships with other companies, not direct relationships with the players of our games. These are called end users as they are at the very end of the value chain which starts with the developer offering products via a casino site, owned by an operator and in many cases distributed via aggregator. So, we do not sell our products directly to the end user and they are not our primary target group for communication or marketing. But what they want and how they act, meaning their preferences and purchase behavior, is what guides what we do. We must produce products that are attractive, meaningful and entertaining for the end user, not just because that is the purpose of being in this business, but because if we don’t, our customers won’t want to partner with us.
A simple description of the end users for casino slots can be made by dividing them into two groups, habitual players and casual players:
Habitual players are a group of end users who play online regularly and systematically. They enjoy online gambling for fun, for relaxation, for excitement and more. Some of them are professionals and make a living from gambling. Although the professional end users are often successful in terms of profits, it is still worthwhile to attract them as a target group since they are a reliable, and to a degree loyal, customer base. They also include the smaller but very visible group of streamers – professional players who stream their online gambling, which can give enormous spread and promotion for an individual game or casino site. Casual players visit online casinos from time to time out of curiosity, boredom and/or the desire to get a quick thrill. The casual players have no brand loyalty and choose casino sites at random. They often jump from one to the next via introductory offers, leaving after trying and then coming back again with the next offer, a consumer behavior called churn and return. They will try new games, also often at random, but can also return to the same game but on different online casinos since as already mentioned, most games are non-exclusive.
An important player in the iGaming industry is the aggregator. These are companies that offer a technical platform which provides a distribution link between developers and operators, taking responsibility for the integration and distribution. Given the aggregators’ capabilities, they are not just a third party but also an important target group for developers. This is of course critical for those developers who have chosen not to build their own technical distribution capacity. But the aggregator can also be a key target group for companies that have the internal capacity for distribution, seeing as aggregators rarely require exclusivity meaning that both game developers and operators can work with several aggregators in parallel. Hence a deal can be made between the developer and the operator, who then together connect with the aggregator as a technical intermediary. But a deal can also arise from a developer signing an agreement with an aggregator who then in turn markets the developer’s products to the operators using their platform, actively brokering contact between the game developer and the operators. The right aggregator thus offers, under good conditions, not only technical distribution but can also be a central part of the business model and contribute to large exposure and wider geographical spread. For Gaming Corps, our sales efforts are focused both directly towards the operators and directly towards aggregators as well as other companies providing similar platform or distribution solutions.
When it comes to distribution, using a third-party aggregator is the most common distribution model. Another distribution model is direct integration, which requires more extensive internal capacity, but in return means that a larger portion of the profit stays with the game developer because no third party is in play. It varies depending on the counterpart how much is required by the developer technically when distributing via direct integration, some operators require more capability and others less. In addition to technical factors, these requirements can entail things such as customer service availability and other more administrative matters. Gaming Corps currently has established direct integration with four casino sites, and have other options under consideration where there is more need for added internal capacity.
From establishing who your customer is and how to distribute to them, the next step is to form the commercial relationships needed in order to sell the product. Stay tuned for more on this topic tomorrow!