In this month’s edition of SlotBeats Spotlight, we decided to go mobile and delve into the world of handheld devices, investigating the increased dominance of mobile usage in relation to slots, comparing mobile to other forms of handheld devices and the impact 5G could have on various markets.

During episode one, we asked our experts about the importance of ‘mobile-first’ strategies and how imperative they are in not only acquiring a player, but providing another form of engagement.

Given the increased need for domestic-based entertainment, how essential do you believe a mobile-first strategy has become in acquisition and engagement?

Petra Maria Poola, head of business development and operations, OneTouch

Petra Maria Poola, OneTouch: A mobile-first strategy is fundamental to player acquisition and engagement. Recent evidence demonstrates that mobile-optimisation is more important than ever, with 70 per cent of our own turnover, and roughly 60 per cent of gambling revenue overall, coming from those devices. 

In some markets, coronavirus restrictions have forced players to stay at home, thereby temporarily reducing demand for entertainment that can be enjoyed on the move. As a mobile-first provider, we’ve still got a host of players who prefer to experience our multichannel games on a desktop – in addition to those who prefer the convenience of a mobile even when they’re at home.  

The vaccine roll-out we’re currently seeing points to a resumption of the trend towards mobile-gaming, with individuals more likely to be venturing out and about in the second half of 2021. 

Henry McLean, co-founder, commercial and marketing director at 4ThePlayer.com

Henry McLean, 4ThePlayer: When we founded 4ThePlayer.com, we described ourselves as ‘mobile first’: we believe it is essential that players can enjoy our games on whatever device they choose and still have the same outstanding entertainment experience. As a platform, mobile has exponential growth so it made sense to align with that channel. 

However, we should really call ourselves ‘game first’ as, rather than focusing on one channel, we look at all of them to ensure the player experience is the best it can be across all channels without sacrificing one for another. 

This is why we developed BIG REEL PORTRAIT MODE, we wanted players to be able to enjoy portrait play without negatively impacting the desktop UI. 

Our Google Analytics data proves that players prefer this to standard portrait play. This leads to better player engagement as players learn they can play our games how and where they want—tablet, desktop, landscape, or portrait phone—without seeing the dreaded ‘please rotate device’ message.

Vladimir Malakchi, CBDO at Evoplay Entertainment

Vladimir Malakchi, Evoplay Entertainment: Our research shows more than three quarters of today’s gamblers choose to bet on a mobile phone. Increased smartphone adoption and the spread of broadband infrastructure, including 5G networks, mean that that figure will only grow as the years go on. 

Mobile bettors also exhibit the strongest levels of brand loyalty – playing every 4.2 days on average. We know, therefore, that more individuals will be placing bets on a mobile in the years to come, and that those who do represent a stronger engagement prospect. 

Of course – that makes it clear that the future belongs to providers who treat multi-channel functionality as a top priority.

Andy Sekula, head of games, Kalamba Games 

Andy Sekula, Kalamba Games: It’s true to say that ‘mobile first’ has become a mantra over the last few years for the gaming industry, and why not? As an industry we tend to place a lot of focus on fairly mature markets with a wealthy customer base, high customer value and markets containing a lot of early adopters. 

Coupled with the introduction of folding and rolling screens on mobiles, and of course tablets, we can start to see that even the benefits of having more screen real estate have become mitigated quite substantially by new technology. 

Mobile is always good. You can play it wherever, at home or on the go. Unlike a laptop or a PC you carry a phone in your pocket and it’s often just an arm’s reach away.