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Game Analytics - Big Data And Business Intelligence(BI)

Games generate more data then an average application because of the game state machine . Terabytes  of data can be accumulated in a short pe...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Gaming Blog "Kevin's Corner" Achieves Milestone of 130, 000 Visitors!!

Kevin's Corner traffic exceeded 130,000 visits last week marking a significant milestone in the Gaming blog!  Kevin's Corner   started 5 years ago as a "professional" blog targeting individuals and businesses engaged in the "gaming" industry. With over 200 individual  blogs  it provides a wealth of knowledge on a variety of different gaming subjects. It has covered, "real" money iGaming, social casino, freemium gaming, virtual currency transaction and the relationship between land based casino and online gaming operators. The blog continues to attract a global  audience  as  different gaming business models merge and converge creating  acquisition and business partnership  opportunities.

Kevin Flood started the blog  to encourage  an open dialogue on a subject that was becoming increasingly complicated as new forms of online gaming began to emerge and merge into a complex interwoven environment of land based gaming, online gambling, social casino, virtual currency transactions and real money transactions. The international nature of gaming and the various laws  and preferences impacting gaming made for an interesting and, perhaps, confusing mix of laws, player populations and revenue models. Kevin's own experience as a game developer, game publisher  and executive for  US  based land based casinos exposed him to many of the influences that guided gaming behavior and business models. His experience launching  online gaming operations in different countries and in different environments made him realize that there are also similarities across borders that could be shared and discussed in a public forum.

The following  blogs are the top 5 blogs in terms of volume. Although volume is a good indicator of popularity it is not necessarily  an indicator of  "value". Kevin's Corner has attempted to address many aspects of gaming for  a variety of different business  sectors. In some cases a blog that has not hit the top five in terms of volume has been very useful for its  targeted audience and the information it provided.

Number 1 -Game Analytics - Big  Data and Business Intelligence  -  With over 2500 views this blog has received the  most attention and still continues to get   high traffic views based on how important making sense out of all of the data that games and game businesses produce.  Games are unique based on the amount of data that games can produce. It is a lot harder to understand the significance of, and patterns within data, then to collect it. Planning ahead for what you really need to know and being flexible in how to add new data and new data types into the mix is the key to good gaming business intelligence. Understanding player behavior and player (state) is challenging.  Where a player is(state) in terms of the lifetime value of the player is critical for the success of a gaming business. Having comprehensive analytical systems that  individuals or even a staff of analysts pealing through the data is not uncommon as a slight difference in game content and marketing strategy can make a meaningful difference in revenue, player retention  and player acquisition.

Number 2 -What Is the Better Gaming Business Model? - With the advent of social networks, social casino, freemium play, virtual currency and various new notions of what constitutes a game of chance , skill or for fun it is easy to become confused as to what is the right gaming model for a business. The source of revenue for the models, consumers of the content , marketing approach and revenue per player differ widely across gaming business models.   This makes the choice of a gaming model difficult. In the end, the gaming business model of chose has to fit the knowledge, skills, investment capital and legal framework that fits the organization.

Number 3 - Will Social Casino Games Be Subject To Regulated Gambling Laws?  - In the early days of social casino there was much speculation that social casino would be categorized as "real" gambling. Facebook credits(virtual currency) where at the heart of the controversy. Gambling is traditionally characterized as an activity that includes chance, consideration and "prize".   Government entities and traditional online gambling regulators where skeptical about the use of virtual currency in social casino games as a prize.  After a lengthy debate on the subject of virtual currency, regulators concluded that virtual currency that could not be converted or "cashed out" into a traditional currency obviated the "prize" definition of gambling. Therefore, avoiding the need to "regulate" social casino.

The regulator's decision not to regulate social casino may also have been influenced by the  realization that the social casino and "real" money gambling populations had different characteristics. Traditional gambling attracted a smaller audience relative to social casino.  Also, social casino was heavily influenced by the social network that hosted the games with the network itself being as important, if not more important then the game play itself.  The  poor "conversion" of social casino players to "real" money gambling players also had an influence on the regulators decision.  Some players prefer social casino  over real money gambling and others prefer freemium or virtual currency games. The social casino businesses have also been careful to make a clear differentiation between their models and online gambling business models. 

Number 4 - The Merger Of Social Casino, Online Gambling And Land Based Casino Models. - Similar to number 3 in terms of content and interest blog number 4 also received a lot of attention as a number of businesses began to develop, acquire and launch a number of  gaming models. However, merging of these models has been difficult as the audience, risk and governance of these models is  very different.  Operating the  gaming models as separate and distinct businesses has proven to be the most rational and successful way to operate  these discrete models.

Number 5 - Zynga Under Investigation  By The US Justice Department -   The popularity of Zynga poker in the Facebook  social network did catch the attention of the US Justice Department as it was one of the first really large social casino businesses using Facebook virtual currency credits as a way to monetize players. The sheer size of the Zynga poker community averaging thousands of players interacting at  peak time did draw the attention of US authorities.  However, with no cash out possible the JD had little to stand on without changing the "definition" of what "prize" meant in a gambling  context. Prize is something of "tangible value" that can be exchanged and used to purchase other items of tangible value outside the origin of the currency generated. Facebook made sure that this could not happen, therefore, obviating the need to either shutdown Zynga or forces the company to change its revenue model.

Kevin's Corner continues to cover global gambling topics of all, types and  varieties. Reflecting on what has been the most sought after gaming content subject  over the past 5 years certainly reinforces what is "popular". However, the popularity of a blog does not necessarily indicate its "value" to all audiences. Thus, making it an important goal of Kevin's Corner to continue to cover many different topics.  Kevin's Corner subjects are often recommended by members of the gaming community as the community seeks to decipher what is really going on in the space and to engage others in a open dialogue about the future of gaming. If you would like a subject covered lets us know. Please send your suggestions to kflood@gameinlane.com.

Kevin Flood is the CEO of Gameinlane, Inc. Gameinlane  has developed, launched and operated Internet gambling sites in Europe,  social casino,   freemium and subscription gaming in the US.   The company engages with land based casino  operators, online gambling operators, social casino operator and game developers to assist them in determining their strategy and implementation  of game content in an online context.   Kevin has worked for and with US land based casino operators helping them evaluate social casino and iGaming platforms for the purpose of joint ventures and acquisitions in addition to launching online gambling operations in Europe. Gameinlane is also startup "friendly" understanding the unique value new gaming companies bring to the marketplace.  Kevin frequently speaks at gaming conferences around the world providing him with a unique perspective on this very interesting business sector. Kevin can be reached at kflood@gameinlane.com  and or twitter  at @kflow1776.


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