Entering the social gaming space

Over recent months, social gaming has become a hot topic as Facebook Poker, Fantasy Football, Virtual Worlds and the use of Twitter for social gaming has increased in popularity. Advances in modern technology mean that it has become much easier for gaming brands to enter the social gaming space as they can now simply take a white label and build it into their existing strategy. This is a lucrative opportunity for companies, and has introduced a new type of gamer. However, online gaming strategy specialists, ThinkManagement.com, believe that many gaming companies are failing to take advantage of this new accessibility and are risking losing out to a new breed of competitors.
“Social gaming offers a fantastic opportunity to generate revenue and brand awareness,” says ThinkManagement.com Director, Phil Shaw,” However, companies are reluctant to adopt this medium, as they simply don’t realise how easy it is. Many of our clients have a fear of entering this space and it’s down to a lack of understanding and internal IT bottlenecks. We are able to demonstrate how straightforward building a social gaming platform can be, by taking the white label of a proven and tested product and tailoring it to a client’s own requirements.”
Shaw’s company – based in the North-West of England – specialises in offering bespoke consultancy, strategic marketing and management solutions for the online gaming industry. The company delivers a range of services to brands all over the globe, including free play solutions, social media communication strategies, selecting and launching software partners, managing legislation change and exploring new territories. The company also covers all core areas of marketing specifically for online gaming organisations, such as building brands, strategy, customer acquisition and retention, staff development courses, VIP management and creative.

Headed by Phil Shaw, ThinkManagament.com is made up of a team of experienced individuals with extensive skills and expertise in software, research, internet, risk management, mobile, payments and strategy developments. The team has been involved in the online space since 1998 and has a detailed understanding of how to generate the best results from online gaming. Past projects have devised and delivered strategies featuring online casinos, bingo and prize draw operations including free play, cash play, online, mobile and television for some of the industries biggest names including Netplay TV PLC, Parlay Games Inc., Playtech, BetFred and Virtue Fusion.
Shaw himself has a wealth of experience. While running his own media and marketing agency he became interested in working in the online space and developed a large interactive agency specialising internet, mobile and creative. This lead to the exploration of the many ways brands can engage with their customers online through the emerging social channels, and he soon identified a gap in the market for an online gaming consultancy. With the current trend for social gaming growing in popularity, Phil believes that land-based and traditional online gaming companies now need expert assistance more than ever:
“We speak to gaming companies every day that simply do not have any form of serious social gaming strategy. This is a concern in these fast-moving times, particularly with the huge volumes of traffic involved and social platforms creating their own currencies. Facebook’s recent announcement to allow real cash play on its platform is another sign of how gaming companies will need to embrace changing customer behaviour.”
     “Companies just don’t seem to realise how important it is to move with the times. They have their established traditional online gaming platforms and think that that’s sufficient – but in reality all manner of companies are now utilising social gaming and there is a real risk that the operators can be left behind and loose out financially. They are failing to see that it has become much easier for gaming brands to enter the social gaming space. One option is to simply take a white label and build it into their existing strategy where a solution can still carry unique features and appropriate branding, but avoids the large setup costs.”
Shaw believes that there is a fear within the industry about the logistics of entering the social gaming space, suggesting that traditional online operators often have a lack of understanding and are often restricted by IT departments who don’t have the time or resources to invest in a social gaming solution. ThinkManagement.com try to demonstrate how straightforward building a social gaming strategy can be, by taking a white label of a proven and tested product or starting off with a solid social network communications plan can really add to the bottom line. The consultancy can also offer an audit service to identify possible gaps and then create a bespoke team to work on the project. Often, the partners already have a long standing relationship with ThinkManagement.com, however sometimes new companies are sought depending on the project.
“In order to stay one step ahead, the industry needs to be far more creative than they have been in the past,” says Shaw. “Our expertise raises awareness of how social gaming is impacting on the industry, and gives the traditional online operators a starting point for developing a strategy.”