When development has run its course and a casino slot is finished, the turn comes to the Marketing and Communications team to run the very last leg of the relay, making sure the product reaches the market. Today we present the last entry in our calendar journey covering the iGaming development process, focusing on Content creation and Publication.
When the production of a game is done, the game it is sent to an external test lab which will return with comments and adjustments that our front-end and back-end developers tend to. Once the external test lab gives the green light and the game is certified by the MGA, it is ready to go live. But in order for it to be distributed to our partners for players to start enjoying it, the MarCom team needs to have finalized their production process as well, and their work runs in parallel with the development process. Their responsibility is to provide our operators with all the assets they need for the game and to let the market know that the game is available, via marketing and communication in appropriate channels.
What is marketing and what is communication and why is it important? In short, communication is the ongoing dialogue a company has with its stakeholders, it is the conscious effort of distributing information about the company and its offer. Marketing is everything and anything that a company does in order to promote the selling of a service or product. The first order of business when planning communication and marketing is to be clear on who the target groups are and which are most important. Gaming Corps is a B2B company, meaning our customers are other companies, and thus they are our primary target groups – operators, aggregators and other partners. But, we must also pay close attention to individual consumers despite not having a direct relationship with them, since they are the end users of our products, thus they are a secondary target group. In addition, we have the variable of being a publicly traded company, meaning existing and potential shareholders are also a prioritized target group.
When it comes to making sure a product like a casino slot reaches the market, the effort involves both marketing and communication in close cooperation, and in companies like Gaming Corps marketing and communication are closely tied together organization-wise. Hence for us and in this instance, we talk about MarCom to cover all of these tasks – Marketing Communications abbreviated.
When it comes to MarCom efforts, we seek to inform, engage and entertain. We want our products’ names to get out there and be known, shared and talked about. We want the industry and the financial market to know the basic facts about the game and be aware of products being developed and hence have the knowledge needed to assess the value and capabilities of the company. Through storytelling, we also want to engage our target groups in the content we create – whether it is the story of an Angry Elf who lost his job, or whether it is an epic battle fought by Undead Vikings on the steps of Valhalla – for the purpose of consistently building the Gaming Corps brand. Finally, we want to entertain and strike a chord with those interested in testing the product.
iGaming is a highly regulated market, and Gaming Corps also has a commitment to, and genuine interest in, player safety. This means we are very careful in how we market. As a marketing professional one must understand that iGaming is not just any industry, it comes very specific limitations and responsibilities. At Gaming Corps we always put an emphasis on information (look, a new game!) and engagement rather than promotional marketing (buy this!). And we never choose messages such as “win big” as a headline, the key message is always about the theme of the game, and then we talk about how it works, what it looks like, something fun, exciting or engaging about the game and the fact that it is coming soon or now available. The person in charge of Marketing, Communications and Branding at Gaming Corps is Erika Mattsson, Chief Communications Officer, and she goes through every word in detail which passes any channel, to make sure that every message strikes the right balance. Our Content Creator Eleonora Abela does the same assessment with every visual component she creates and the company releases. The same of course applies to all other communication and marketing efforts of Gaming Corps, for other purposes than that of MarCom for iGaming products.
When a casino slot game is designed, Erika and Eleonora are involved in order to start the first strategizing and planning around future MarCom efforts. Erika will also provide support on theme and naming from a commercial and legal perspective. Eleonora is in close contact with the concept artists and animators throughout the development to keep track of all the assets they are creating and whatever changes are taking place. With a background in movie and video production, she can also provide input and support to the artists. Gaming Corps product campaign content revolves around storytelling, so any ideas the MarCom team can provide at an early stage to help evolve the story, they provide. The “script” of the game’s story is to some degree in development until the game reaches the post-production stage.
When the art assets are finished and front-end development takes over, the assets are also exported to Eleonora. She refines them, in some parts alone and in other parts together with the artist, and then collates them all to prepare for distribution to the operators. This is a highly structured task which involves assessing all the possible needs of an operator – What will they need and/or want to make a thumbnail for the game? How will they market it? What will they need if they do a banner? In what format? As you know from earlier entries in the series, iGaming development is not completely linear and this means that things will change in terms of art and animation as front-end and back-end development is carried out. But for the most part, art is finalised by the time front-end development starts, so that is when Eleonora can start on both content creation and collation for the operator service package. Eleonora and Erika will by then have together worked on the strategy and content plan of the campaign. From there Erika works on the copywriting and Eleonora on the content (images, videos, banners etc.)
Eleonora starts the content creation with static post for social media, social media banners and static website content. These are for instance the post you see on Twitter that says “coming soon”, the story image on Instagram or the top banner on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook which we change with almost every campaign to keep it vitalized. After the static posts are ready, the animations for the game will also be nearing completion, so at this stage, Eleonora again utilises the game assets to start creating our audio-visual content. Through the use of motion graphics and video editing we add life to the story of the game. Content like animating the brand’s logo, adapting the game’s fonts and styles into a script for title screens, animating scenes, elements, text and effects into a seamless trailer structured into a story. Video creation is again a structured process as well as creative, where certain elements need to come in a certain order. Here is an example of a timeline that shows the flow of the trailer for Angry Elf:
A casino slot launch campaign at Gaming Corps is done in three stages:
The pre-launch, is a “coming soon” teaser campaign the company releases ahead of the launch of a game. The pre-launch informs the market that the game is on its way, it tells the story and the basic parts of the functionality of the game, and reveals some key characters or symbols. It never shows the full gameplay or all the symbols, and it does not reveal the exact functionality. The main launch informs the market that the game has been made available to Gaming Corps’ affiliated operators, and when the game is also available we share images of the gameplay, update the game page on the website etc. The MarCom team also produces what is called “evergreen content”, additional material that has no time indication attached to it, to be used down the line since these games are expected to have a long shelf life.
The launch campaign for a new game results in a large number of files. Different channels require different formats for posts and header banners, and everything for the website of course also needs to be in certain sizes and formats. When it comes to audio-visual content, all social media channels require various formats and so a single trailer that looks the same to the viewer, is exported several times in various formats as required for the channels it will be published on. Eleonora and Erika work on balancing the use of images and symbols so that there is an even distribution, and adapt content and copywriting to the different channels. All the files are collated, labelled and uploaded to Dropbox in the exact same structure for each game to ensure that there are no mistakes when it is time for publication. Instructions are posted in Confluence so that the webmaster can access files and upload in the right place for the pre-launch and launch respectively. Finally, ahead of time all the assets are distributed to our operators together with MarCom material (banners, raw material, components) and instructions so that they can offer and market the game.
Once the game is made available to our aggregators and operators, that is when it can be launched. And it is always with great joy and anticipation that we press “publish” and see the game take a life of its own! After many, many steps and tasks, from design, art and animation to front-end development, back-end development and testing, to content creation and finally publication; our game is made available to the market and hopefully sparks excitement and joy with the those who play it. Enjoy!