Gaming innovation attracts more talented executives

Top gaming news and analysis web site Innovate Gaming looks at the fresh appeal of our industry to high-fliers without

Gaming has propelled to the forefront of innovation over the last couple of years, embracing a wealth of technologies such as graphics, systems and interactive. Search intelligence firm Odgers Berndtson has revealed that gaming is becoming more popular among top executives outside the industry.

The international recruitment specialist carried out a survey of 100 top executives, which showed external attitudes towards the gambling industry are changing and more senior executives are joining from other sectors. The rise of mobile and social technologies is a key driver, as the gaming industry has hit the ground running with tailored innovations to excite consumers in new ways.

Technologies from the banking sector power casino networking systems, slot and table play integrates on land-based, interactive and mobile devices, creative marketing is at the epicentre of targeting, and cutting-edge graphics, sounds and aesthetics deliver unparalleled experiences on par with the video games industry. The latest innovations such as holographic technology and autostereoscophic 3D rival what players see on TV and home computing.

Research shows that more talent is flowing between sectors and can be optimised in gaming, whether it is database miners, artists or business leaders. Factors cited by respondents that have attracted top executives to gaming include the sector’s resilient economic performance, the increasing prevalence of gaming brands in mainstream media, as well as the innovative use of technology.

“Two years ago, the number of individuals from other industries who told us they would not consider a career in the sector outweighed the ones who did,” informed Odgers Berndtson. “However, with increased marketing and awareness of betting and gaming brands, perceptions have changed on the industry. Barriers are disappearing and senior talent now moves freely between the betting and gaming and other industries, particularly technology.”

The senior executives questioned provided some intriguing feedback about prospects in social gaming instead of real-money gaming. Rather than decisions based on moral grounds, views were that social gaming presented more opportunities to engage with a wider and possibly new audience. Executives indicated that social is currently a very exciting sector, fast moving and presenting challenges where strategic changes need to happen quickly.

“We are starting to see real interest in the industry from Silicon-Valley talent too,” added the firm in its report, “despite the on-going negative perceptions associated with online gaming in their home US market, perpetuated by recent high profile indictments made by the Department of Justice. We believe that as the US regulatory landscape for gaming continues to become clearer, the talent pool in the US is likely to become much more interested in the sector.”

Gaming is at the forefront of social innovation, with casino games the most played and highest revenue earners on Facebook. The social casino games market is highly competitive and while many technology firms and start-ups embrace the sector, three of the top four market leaders were traditional gaming firms in the last quarter. Caesars Interactive represented 18.6 percent of the market, ahead of Zynga, which has dropped to a 15 percent share, followed by IGT and WMS, with 14 and 6 percent market share, respectively.

Global in nature, the traditional gaming industry is currently focused on Asia and the US, which is where a number of executives have a vested interest. The prospect of operating a complex business with international scale and growth opportunities in new markets, appealed to a number of respondents. It was also noted that there are still huge opportunities to implement new ideas and concepts into the gaming industry from other sectors.