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ARCADE GAMES – an extension to your skill games portfolio

      We have learned that only a diversified skill-games portfolio guarantees long-lasting success.  Table games may be the backbone of any good gaming web-site, but it takes a broader range of products to attract different classes of customers. 

Thus, the latest trend in skill-gaming is offering arcade games in addition to typical skill-based table games, which has already proved to be very successful – and here at Green tube we would like to present one of our most popular recent developments in the area of arcade gaming: the Ski Challenge 06.
      Ski Challenge 06 is a 3D skiing game specially designed for online  distribution and added to our portfolio of P2P skill games.  The game is displayed in 3D, which makes it an attractive visual experience, and features four true-to-the-original races: Kitzbuhel in Tirol, Wengen in Switzerland, Groden and Bormio in Italy, four of the most popular and prestigious downhill racing courses in Alpine sking and the FIS World Cup currently taking place.
      Its  fantastic graphics appeal to the arcade –game aficionado, while its simple usability and download size of only 12 MB make it popular among common end-users, as does the advantage that it is also playable on older PCs.

      Now anybody can slip into the role of a famous skier and run the downhill races they have seen on TV, either in their own right or as a member of a national club (or of their own club).  They can compete for the fastest times as individuals users, as club members or according to state or province.
      This cross-media product enables the rendering of high-resolution videos for TV – the winner’s race, for example.  Ski Challenge also has all the security features a skill game requires.  Developed in cooperation with Austrian Broadcasting (ORF),  last year’s test run generated 800.000 downloads and 15 million online races.  This year has been even more successful.  So far, in just the first 2 weeks of this season, 3 million races have been played on average, per day.
      Based on this success, greentube believes that this is the proper strategy for skill gaming; arcade games like our skiing game are perfect for creating a seasonal hype and attracting users for a certain period of time.  They can also serve as eye-catchers for promotions, and advertising can be geared to that specific type of customer.  In the long run, year –round “continuous” tupes of games such as card and board games keep users attracted to a platform and guarantee a constant stream of revenue.

      Generally speaking, promoting games to reach a specific audience can be very lucrative, which is what makes customizing a games portfolio so important.  Besides offering international hits such as Backgammon or Pool, it is necessary to also have national specialties in your portfolio.  Titles such as  “Skat” in Germany and “Briscola” in Italy  have proved to be equally successful in terms of attractiveness and revenues.
      Moreover, it is important to offer real-time multiplayer games, as this has proved to be the only way to build real communities.  Even the ARPU of Solitaire profits from a well-designed lobby where users meet, chat and realize they are playing against real people and not a PC or bot.

For more information about our skill games solutions please contact sales@greentube.com –we look forward to answering your questions!How do you build a pioneering skill gaming platform from the ground up?

Six key points to getting it right

In early 2004, there was no place online to play the games we grew up playing with our friends and family – like backgammon, dominoes, cribbage hearts, etc- for money.  Sure there were huge game portals where thousands of players could play, but the entertainment choices were one-dimensional: you could compete only for prestige.  To us, it is more entertaining to play for money, whether that was for a quarter or a dollar a game.  One poker rooms had taken poker to a whole new level and were showing the way for people to play in head-to-head and tournament competitions for money.  This approach was driving the entertainment experience – and thus the popularity – of the games.

      Now having a cool and original idea (and an experienced management team that is willing to work for sweat equity) is one thing, but execution m4eans making good decisions and having a lot of things go your way.
      Here is an overview of some of the key decisions we confronted in our early stages.

  • Build v/s. Buy Software:  Building it would take longer, but what we truly wanted didn’t exist.  Fortunately, we had the technical and business acumen to build it at a fraction of the cost to buy.
  • Download vs. No Download Technology:  Although downloadable clients are the industry  standard, we felt the future of Internet gaming would be a no-download, browser-based experience.  (We would end up building a platform that supported both solutions.)
  • In-house vs. Outsource Development:  Overseas development would be cheaper, but we decided to mentor and grow our own talent.  This would provide the nimbleness we would need to support our product suite.  (We would end up with a small team, two deep in every skill set.  As we expanded, we would utilize outsourced international labor.)
  • White –Label vs. Controlled Branding:  Our long-term goal was to white –label our platform to strong, established brands to increase the overall player liquidity in our network.  However, as a start-up, we needed a destination where we could have creative control and where the player community could help drive our requirements.  (We would find a strategic partner that shared our vision and would become our first fully branded operator.)
  • License vs. Royalty Revenue Model:  As a start-up, we were okay with either model, as long as both parties treated the other like a partner and had parameters that made the arrangement a win-win proposition.  (To this day we have seen more revenue sharing than just pure licensing deals.)
  • Private vs. Institutional Financing:  Operational  decisions had been made, we had put in our own money to build a prototype, and we had a detailed business plan, so now we needed to raise the capital required to build the platform.  After testing the institutional waters and finding too many “gaming climate” challenges in the US, we decided to raise the money through private investors.
  • One year after having implemented these key decisions, and completed our first round of financing , we had built the P2P Games player-to-player gaming platform (See Technical Product  Overview) and released several classic skill games including backgammon, dominoes, cribbage and gin.  We had launched our first branded operator.  Club Games (http://www.ClubGames.com), and in July of 2005 Club Games Backgammon began generating revenues.
          Today, P2P Games is actively working with online operators to provide a platform to power their own branded skill gaming releases.  We plan to be supporting three large operators buy the end of 2006.  On the investment front, we continue to look for and are evaluating both private and trade  investors who believe in our team, and what we have accomplished to date.  It is our expectation that with these operators and investors as strategic partners, we will ultimately be able to achieve our vision.

    P2P  GAMES TECHNICAL PRODUCT OVERVIEW

    P2P Games has constructed a world-class multi-threaded Game Engine capable of handling tens of thousands of concurrent players.  The extremely scaleable solution can be deployed across multiple servers, while the player perceives a single community.  As demand grows, hardware may be added without a software reconfiguration or interruption of service.
          This complex system also offers secure, synchronous communication between Macromedia Flash and a Java Application Server.  Using Flash, rich client interfaces, and animations offer an experience beyond the normal web presentation.  Games come alive with movement and sound, offering lightweight yet powerful code delivered to all major browsers.  Any game player, whether they use a Windows, Apple, or LINUX based system, can play on the network without installing software.

    New markets, products and opportunities

    At an industry poker conference last month, a panel of industry experts – operators, software suppliers and marketing providers – were asked their opinions on the growth markets for 2006.  Which individual geographical markets would deliver the mot expansion this coming year?


          The answers ranged in opinion, from Spain to the UK.  Scandinavia to Italy, with Baltic states all getting a mention.  Whilst the responses were wide-ranging, the conclusion was clear.  The immediate future is Europe. 

          What was also apparent from the subsequent debate, was the growing demand from operators, and their software suppliers, to deliver new products, in new formats, to offer these growth markets.  And crucially, products that would suit – perhaps better than some delivered to date these new customers.
          Indeed, within the fastest-growing sector of the past year, the mainstay on-line product – Texas Hold’em could be toppled, at least in some of those European  markets tipped for the top.
          Driven by the popularity of US – influenced TV coverage, Texas Hold’em has never been the most popular poker  version amongst many Europeans, with lots of players preferring, instead, to play a short-deck version.  If you want to Playwin Poker in any after-hours Italian card-school, you’ll need to know how to play this short-form game.
          32-card poker has been around for sometime, elsewhere in the world, such as Manila, Australia, with other similar variants in Germany, Turkey as well as Italy.  With the three latter markets representing some 200 million adult inhabitants, who demonstrate a high propensity to gamble, coupled with ultra-strong growth in online betting and gaming – this new poker product could well be the most popular new version launched this year.

          With Chartwell’s pedigree of serving blue-chip European gaming operators, we have been busy developing, alongside our clients, a game designed to meet this so-far untapped demand.
          Chartwell’s 32  Card Poker has been developed specifically for the lucrative and fast-growing Italian market, and will also appeal to – and be immediately understood by Germans, Turks and other Continental players.  These competitors appreciate the different probabilities inherent in the short-deck variant, the simpler range of hands and bets, and the sheer tempo of game-play – fewer cards, fewer players, and faster games.
          With a huge level of game and rules design, and usability input from the range of Chartwell clients with both Italian and German consumers.  32 Card Poker could become  the fastest growing poker version in the market in 2006.  The product went live in early January, played first at www.paradisebet.com and www.goldwincasino.net.       Obviously, players will still demand the familiarity and playability of the core Texas Hold’em.  Omaha, 5-Card Stud and their variations, and the challenge here is to deliver an interface which suits the way they want to play.

          Chartwell has a special and long-standing relationship with Macromedia (now Adobe), the owner of the Flash animation technology. Chartwell software engineers based in Western Canada have unique access to their counterparts at California- based.
          Macromedia /Adobe.  We think this means our flash –based poker product will be the best developed in the world.  And our clients- and our years of end-consumer behavioral – research – tell us that a Flash – based poker option will be of great appeal to many players both old and new.
          Increasingly, people use more individual machines to access the internet, whether at home, at work or somewhere in between.  Fewer individuals sit down at the same machine, every day in the same place; remote-working , road-warriors, hot-desking and home- workers have become the new norm for many internet users, especially in Europe.

          In addition, the many thousands of players who use Chartwell software each and every day clearly indicated that the times when they want to play are also changing.
          We’ve seen a definite shift of play-patterns between online casino play and poker play.  For example, European players demonstrate a marked preference for early-to-mid evening play- often on a home- based machine- whereas the North American players’ preference for core play later in the evening- also invariably at home – is complemented by more lunchtime play, usually at a work-based, or work-related location.
          That’s why a Flash –based route to poker is clearly of great appeal to many online players.  The player doesn’t need to download- still a barrier for many players, and still an issue for some at work-based locations- and they can play quickly , securely and easily wherever they are based, and whenever they want to compete.
          Following on from our successful demonstration of the Flash poker product – in beta  format – at November’s EiG show in Nice, we expect even greater interest when it goes on show in late January at ICEi in London.
          It’s no surprise that our leading clients have been both our leading clients have been both declaring their interest, and providing us with invaluable design input throughout its development last year.  Currently undergoing final development, we expect it to be fully rolled out during the Spring of 2006.
          With both new products and new formats for expanding markets  and with more charging down the pipeline – Chartwell clients will have even more ways to boost their share of the ever-attractive European market.

 

 

 

 
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