If there's one thing that will get a game development studio's attention in iGaming, it's creating innovative player-centric games. But where do they look for inspiration to create new games?
Believe it or not, Affiliates play a significant part in propelling innovation in online games development and here's a quick insight as to why.
Gone are the days when slots with the same functionality could be rolled out with a different theme, skin, or name and be badged up as new releases that a player would be excited about. Players have matured; they want better features and more thrilling entertainment online.
Players expect and demand more from their online gaming experience with ever-evolving technology. They are opinionated on what works and what they do and do not like. At the heart of these conversations, testimonials, and feedback channels sit affiliate marketers who curate the content that operators look at for inspiration and growth.
The role of the game studio is now more important than ever to develop games, tricks and experiences that fully immerse customers and provide entertainment on a deeper level.
Although there are lots of accolades and awards available for studios to win kudos on the games they deliver, the only thing that matters is the response they receive from players and what they think because without players, the brand will remove them from the open table and the game will no longer build reputation or revenue.
It's also essential that game developers never underestimate how knowledgeable and educated players are when it comes to playing complex online slots and casino games.
Affiliates help game developers bridge the gap between what operators want to offer in their product stack and what players need and want from their desire for online entertainment. Good affiliates offer a portal to share this innovation and responses and feedback in the content they curate and allow players to publish to their site when testing new games out.
It's not unusual for players to have a preferred provider or the place where they play it. Therefore, game development studios should look at how affiliates prioritise brands by player preference to determine where they can release their products in partnerships.
These days, a prospective player is just as likely to be looking for reviews/further information on games, studio developers, and operators and be directed to relevant brands.
That's why you will usually find affiliate portals with in-depth content containing information about game developers, including license information, RTPs, their most popular releases and, of course, the operator sites that feature them. If a particular developer is proving to be more popular than others, then affiliates can also look to push exclusive offers that include those games; for example, 20 free spins on Mermaid Millions - a rather popular slot game from some time back.
An informed affiliate will always have their finger on the pulse of what products and features are available for their customers across an array of brands. In turn, they will cover new releases from a provider in their news section.
But how can player feedback from affiliates improve innovation?
As the old saying goes, if you don't ask - you don't get! Asking players for their opinions in surveys or adding polls on social media can be a great way to collect information. Also, ensuring that the site has the functionality to rate developers and add feedback on their games on the website is good practice and will provide more feedback that can be acted on.
Video can also be a great way to give players appropriate demos on how the games work, their features and key paytable information (for slots) and can be pushed on YouTube or on-site. That way, players can comment on what they like and dislike and discuss their experience.
Twitch streaming is also a tool that can be used to engage players to provide feedback and something that affiliates can and should be using more of. To put this into perspective, the "Slots" category is the 2nd most popular on this channel.
Although restrictions for posting affiliate links to operator sites have discouraged some affiliates from utilising them, you should never underestimate the value of their opinions on the games/providers to create innovation within the industry and personalise the marketing experience of those players further.
Asking players to vote for their favourite games and asking for their feedback is something that affiliates can and do that will be invaluable information to the game provider. They can vote for their favourite game, technology, and more.
The key takeaway here is that although we rely on industry experts and professionals to lead innovation, we mustn't forget about the players and how affiliates with a captive engaged audience can penetrate players' minds and think outside the box to develop innovative games and exciting experiences.