Video games are the future was the resounding message at SBC Summit Barcelona from the speakers of the session entitled ‘User engagement from the video game sector’. 

Sponsored by Galaxsys, the session delved into the multi-billion euro video gaming sector and how it has developed its digital products for consumers of all demographics, whilst looking at how the igaming sector can learn from its mainstream counterpart and its ability to adapt to many different user platforms. 

Providing their insights on the aforementioned was Vladimir Malakchi, Chief Commercial Officer at Evoplay, Norbert Mathies, Managing Director at Spinmatic and Łukasz Świerk, Head of Operations at STS with the conversation moderated by Arjan Korstjens, Chief Operating Officer at Merkur Casino Nederland.

Kickstarting the conversation was Świerk, who was the first to mention that video games are the “future of our society” and expressed the need for the sector to “look after it”. 

He stated:”Video games are the future of our society, the future of our kids and we can’t run from it. We as an industry need to know how to communicate. We don’t want to be a dad at the disco. 

“We have to be really careful watching the video game industry to know how people will be behaving. The past is completely different and the future is unknown but we need to look after it.” 

Adding onto the thoughts of Świerk, Malakchi revealed that it is not only video games that are the future but it is about “what’s inside video games” in the future. 

He explained: “Whatever you’ve taken from your usual life, if you add a gamification feature it will be more comfortable for you and the same with what we’re seeing in betting and gambling.

“It’s not just video gaming, metaverse has been mentioned, it’s a place you can fill youself in a more comfortable world. The average bettor will play for 20 minutes, no more. When we’re talking about the video game sector the average time is like five to six hours on a daily basis. This isn’t just online games but this is single player games as well. 

“This is the kind of thing we need to learn from and have a big look inside the gaming industry because there’s a lot of stuff inside that will grow our profits twice or three times more.”

However, Mathies sided with an air of caution as he stated the sector needs to be “very careful”, as the audiences in various gaming and igaming verticals are “totally different”. But, aside from that, he expressed his view of multiplayer becoming the latest leap in gambling. 

“In my opinion, the biggest move video gaming has done in the past few years was to move to multiplayer opportunities,” Mathies noted. ”We saw in the beginning with Counter Strike where you can play with your friend, this is where we need to move on but in a better way, especially in igaming.”

On the topic of gamification, Świerk listed the array of tools out there that can be utilised, such as rewards, daily quests, loot boxes and rankings, but stressed operators probably “can’t have them all, and maybe shouldn’t have them all.” 

Retelling an experience he had himself, he said: “I know an example of a casino, I shouldn’t mention their name, that includes almost everything. You name it, they have it. I spent two days getting overwhelmed by all this gamification stuff and it wasn’t only me because they went public around two years ago and their share prices dropped by nearly half. 

“This is something that the audience is probably not accepting.”

The panel session also went on to discuss new gamification tools which could play a huge factor in the near future and went deeper into the multiplayer conversation and how that could look.