Suren Khachatryan, CEO of Digitain, makes the case for choosing the most agile platform provider – one which affords the freedom and innovation to fully control your growth strategy.
The iGaming ecosystem and its supply-chain management have matured over the years into a very complex and profoundly interlinked system. Similar to many other technology-led and digital sectors that have witnessed meteoric growth, product, and software commoditisation of the industry have now become self-evident to both stakeholders and iGaming executives within the industry and outside of the industry.
Indeed, this reality has also broadened to today’s digital natives, or in other words: the highly demanding gaming customer. From a consumer perspective, many gaming players have an understandably difficult decision process in the selection of which gaming brand to register with, to deposit their hard-earned funds, as many appear to the player to have the same standard product set of sportsbook, casino, virtual games and user navigational interfaces. Thus the apparent reality of available marketchoice from the players and product supplier side could appear to be extremely narrow.
When an industry experiences a ‘big- bang’ effect at such a fast-pace, predominantly driven by technology, with high capital costs both to enter the market and indeed change technology partners, many start-ups and operators have sought to partner with tried and trusted gaming platforms in the supply-chain to deliver their land-based, mobile and online technology stack and channel strategy.
This has therefore contributed to a copycat syndrome and has had a direct impact not only on brand differentiation and innovation but the ability to control the businesses product software road-map, as the company becomes beholden and potentially tied to its current platform host. Of course, it’s easy to understand why; a gaming business is a capital-intensive business model, given the continued headwinds of regulatory compliance both on the consumer level and technical platform level. Furthermore, add in the myriad of operational and organisational challenges and an increasingly competitive and extremely fast-moving digital consumer landscape, it’s easy to see the why operators could decide to partner with the more established technology and gaming platform providers.
As an independent multichannel sportsbook and casino platform provider, our API technology using agile sourcing methodology allows our people the ability to engineer designs and deliver a completely customised product to the sector.
Given the advancements in API technology, our mantra is that innovation through technology and gaming product differentiation can flourish, with the brands controlling their technology destiny if they desire.
Technology via the platform and differentiation is the heartbeat that has driven the industry to its current growth phase. They are also fundamental to the continued evolution and its future success and indeed survival. However, as saturation and market maturity occurs, the established gaming brands may struggle to control their platform and product differentiation strategy especially if the platform supplies many other front-end skins. We are all consumers whether directly of the software or the end gambling game – we seek individual and personalised experiences to fulfil our personal needs and those of the business.
In the current social and digital economy, gambling players are already extremely sophisticated, ever more perspicacious and critical to whom they spend their hard-earned disposal income with. It would be fair to say that in the eyes of today’s Digital Natives, gaming brands pretty much appear to have the same ‘skin’ and front-end product features. They only really compete for player attention on promotional elements of the digital marketing mix, by offering mega cash jackpots, the best sign-up bonuses or cash-back which can’t be sustainable in the long term for operators and their games providers and platforms if on a revenue share or earn-out.
Disruption of the mundane is the next wave, it isn’t a trend, and it’s a natural progression to a market problem and need. Brands and operators want, and in fact, demand more control over their software and platform road-map. Therefore partnering, or changing your technology platform provider shouldn’t come with a health warning or the notion of that it equates to a more substantial CapEx investment, or that it is a riskier commercial model. Nor should it be the case that is sometimes mooted that ‘we need to select a technology platform with a track record in the space’ which then implies that you may have an inferior technology with which to compete in the market.
The selection of technology platform partner should come with an open mind- set of innovation, the ability to differentiate your gaming brand user experience in the eyes of your end consumer and the ability to adapt to local market needs quickly and include the ability to co-develop the software roadmap. The majority of independent providers such as us have invested heavily in their technology stacks using agile methodology thus allowing scalable, modular agonistic and regulatory approved technology ecosystems. Independent platforms shall flourish as they could be the key to unlocking a stronger product and marketing competitive advantage and business control, of which operators of any size desire, the most to be in more control of their business destiny and not beholden the platform provider.