Egaming industry predictions for 2018 – including pricing innovation and DFS

BetVictor's head of sportsbook product Eoin Ryan and Benjamin Carlotti from OulalaGames unveil their top predictions for the next 12 months

Eoin Ryan BetVictor

Eoin Ryan, head of sportsbook product, BetVictor

1. Pricing innovation – With pressure continuing on the cost side and organic growth ever harder, product innovation has never been as important. One area where I suspect we will see increasing innovation is in the area of price algorithms. As anyone who uses price comparison sites will have noted, we are near (or at) a state of “industry prices” with all odds compilers miraculously arriving at the exact same set of probabilities for most events, daily. For the biggest firms in particular, competing on the basis of price is not happening and that competition now occurs more at brand and product level. With technological advances and machine learning becoming more prevalent and powerful within the industry, I expect some pricing innovations will be created in 2018 and we may well begin to see the emergence of new, somewhat different era, of price-based competition. This could in turn also spawn a battle between these high-tech pricing suppliers, as big firms who are more traditionally setup in terms of technology will be unable to move at the pace required.

2. Racing back – Horseracing has been on the back foot over recent years and is struggling to maintain its market share in the face of the growth of football betting and other sports but 2018 could mark the beginning of a fight back for the Sport of Kings. There are a few reasons for optimism. 1) Bookmakers are increasingly offering more International racing content, complete with data, streaming and pricing, which is moving the main players closer to a complete 24hr global racing service. 2) We are likely to see traditional bookmakers competing for market share within in-play racing, something that is still very much a niche product, and largely still the domain of betting exchanges. 3) A new UK Tote betting service is set to launch, with Colossus Bets providing the tech, complete with seven figure pool guarantees and modern, innovative functionality – giving the stagnant Tote product a desperately needed shot in the arm. All of these factors combining should deliver positive sentiment and increased engagement with the sport.

3. Voice – The least confident of my predictions but possibly the one that has the most potential if it were to happen. I expect that by the end of 2018, a reasonable percentage of the readers of this article will have successfully placed a bet using voice technology in part or in full. Calling your bookmaker’s free-phone number doesn’t count, by the way.

All of my predictions should be viewed in the context of the fact that I sold my Bitcoins when they were worth $200 each (now $20k each).

Damn that cash-out button…

Benjamin Carlotti - Oulala Games

Benjamin Carlotti, managing director and co-founder, OulalaGames

1. The video gaming industry will hunt ruthlessly in our territory in 2018

The end of 2017 has already seen the decisive first step of the video gaming sector in our direction with the launch of a loot box system. In Star Wars Battlefront II, as well as in a number of other games, players are now invited to pay real money to unlock a virtual “loot box” without knowing what kind of reward lies inside. Electronic Arts (EA), the game’s publisher, stated that the “mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront II are not gambling,” however the Belgian Gaming Commission has begun to investigate exactly how players are rewarded through unlocking “loot boxes.”

Recently, Rockstar also announced that GTA VI will offer an online real money poker and casino game. With GTA V being the fastest selling entertainment product in human history, this should be seen as a critical warning for the future of our industry. Since our sector failed to respond to the needs of the new generations, the video gaming industry has now taken up the position that should have been ours, and if we do not react tenaciously, then our sector will soon be in colossal disarray.

2. DFS is the smart answer to this threat… this is why its market will grow in 2018

Our industry has passively expected the new generation’s taste to evolve once they had reached their 40’s. We gave up the 18-35 age range market to the video gaming industry without a fight, merely hoping that customers would ”magically” want to start playing the way their parents did as they grow older. Unfortunately, the demographics of our sector’s customer database has proven that this analysis is erroneous. Once you have been raised playing excellent skill games against your friends, the chances of you wanting to play luck games against the house are very low, even if you have passed the 40 year mark.

Therefore, our sector needs to start offering products that are tailored to the expectations of younger generations. Since DFS is a game of skill as well as a real social game, one is able to understand why various major brands have already begun to offer it in 2017, such as Betsson, William Hill, Sky Bet, and Paddy Power Betfair. 2018 should be the year that will see the democratization of DFS. It is the immediate answer to the video gaming threat and a product that can be integrated into the egaming ecosystem in just a few days.

BetVictor | Horseracing | OulalaGames | Sports betting | Strategy