The global COVID-19 pandemic saw an influx of land-based casino players migrate online in search of viable alternatives to in-person gaming.
European Gaming spoke to Adriana Nitu, Sales Manager at Vivo Gaming, about the challenges involved in managing this shift and what they’ve done to retain these players as life returns to normal.
How do you accurately replicate the land-based casino experience as closely as possible to give players that authentic feeling when playing their favourite table games? What innovations were developed to ensure this?
The dealer is the heart and soul of making the experience feel as authentic as possible. The human element cannot be understated, so go to great lengths to ensure that all staff are professionally trained and have a great deal of experience behind them before they’re put in front of a camera. Of course, our expert dealers are showcased within our high-quality studios, home to all of the best live dealer games that people would usually gravitate to if they were in a land-based casino.
It’s important that we keep the setting fresh, we do this by having a number of different studios with varying décor, giving clients and players as wide a variety as possible. It goes without saying that high-definition streaming is another element that’s vital to making players feel as though they are standing in front of the table as the cards are dealt. Having the technology to offer the operator the ability to illustrate their brand also helps the player feel as though they are back enjoying the land-based operation they frequented, or to become more familiar with a new one.
Of course, an intuitive user interface is essential for making sure all this works seamlessly – if the mechanics are getting between the player and the experience, they are unlikely to enjoy it as much as they would a land-based casino so investment on that front cannot be ignored.
What measures have Vivo Gaming taken to ensure the retention of the players that migrated over from land-based casinos during the pandemic?
Land-based still has an important place, but a hybrid approach is being widely adopted by many casinos now. We offer the streaming of land-based casinos, which remains popular and brings that feeling of being there to those players.
During the various lockdowns when many people suddenly had a lot more time on their hands many discovered new pastimes and hobbies and for those that have a keen interest in casino, they learned how to play new games. It’s been important to keep up with these expanding interests and always offer players a wide range of options in general.
Localisation is often overlooked, to the detriment of many services. Language, in particular, needs to be taken into careful consideration. Players want to play a game in their native language, promotional material should also be localised in this way as much as possible as well.
Obviously, nobody can truly prepare for a global pandemic on the scale we’ve experienced, but how did Vivo Gaming cope with the increase in players from both a technical and an organisational standpoint?
Initially, we just rolled with the influx, and in the end, it hasn’t massively changed too many of our internal processes. However, we have grown our service and technical teams significantly, increasing the company’s headcount, knowledge and product offering. Although Vivo Gaming had already been growing at pace at that point in time, COVID certainly sped things up.
That being said, one department we found we particularly needed to grow was the Account Management Team – it became very clear that this was a time when our global customer-based were going to need more attention than ever before, looking back it’s fair to suggest that this investment paid off. It enabled us to ensure our clients benefited from quick technical integrations of new games and support with promotional offers for players.
The situation highlighted the fact that companies have no choice but to innovate to remain competitive. It also showed us that technology needs to catch up with the demands of customers when it comes to their online offering.
For land-based operators, it became clear that an online option was vital and even now a hybrid approach is by far the most advisable path for any casino.
How do you foresee the industry changing as we go into 2022, given the degree of growth and innovation we have seen in the past two years?
One of the biggest impacts of the past two years that we will see going forward is a huge increase in the number of people working from home. This will naturally mean an increase in the demand for entertainment in the home. I expect that we’re going to see a continued surge in innovation in product lines such as virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as new and updated games that are designed to better suit these formats.
It’s timely that we are now seeing such aggressive strides forward in initiatives like the Metaverse, which captures the way people will want to experience live gaming going forward.
On Vivo Gaming’s side, we’re currently working on gaining additional licences in new and emerging markets, as well as opening new studios across Europe. We’re also expanding our offering with dedicated tables and personalised studios via our Chroma Key solution, in addition to this, we’ll continue to focus on improving our established operations using a new expanded data feed API.
Have the last two years given the company an opportunity to step back and assess the key areas in which there’s room for growth? If so, which areas were highlighted as having potential?
Yes, absolutely. We have been working on several new games that will be delivered in 2022. We are also updating each of our game’s UIs, as well as our studios and equipment. We will also be implementing new tools that will help us to further grow the products, delivery and Vivo services.
Additionally, a host of amazing people have joined the Vivo Team over the past few months and their input, knowledge and talents are driving parts of the business forward which is exciting to see. The optimism and motivation to see Vivo succeed is palpable.
Importantly, we’ve also taken this time to examine the regulatory status of several new markets, which we look forward to announcing more on soon. We cater for a truly international audience, and as we all know, every individual market has different quirks and requirements. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach that can be taken but the strategic thinking necessary to overcome that is our speciality.