Tuesday, 30 May 2017

A comparison - Social Casino’s vs. RMG Casino’s





 A comparison - Social Casinos vs. RMG  Casinos 

or.. 

SOCIAL GAMING VS. GAMBLING



I’ll preface this article by stating that it’s opinion based on research, observation, and discussions with individuals from the industry. 
Lets begin with defining the difference between a Social Casino and a RMG (Real Money Gaming) Casino. 

Social Casino’s are games that include casino-style games such as slots, blackjack, poker, etc.  A player will play a social casino online alone, against a computer,  or with others. Social casino’s do not use real money but virtual currencies that cannot be redeemed for anything but extended gameplay and perhaps some social status within the confines of the game.  However, several court cases have concluded that betting virtual currencies does not constitute staking something of real value even if it was purchased with real money, therefore Social Casino games are not considered gambling games. 
                                      


RMG Casino - RMG Casino is a broad classification referring to any casino game where there is a wager of real money using prize, consideration, and chance to determine the outcome.  You can wager real money and cash-out for real money, prizes or other benefits these are true gambling games and can take on the form of slot machines in a land based casino, to a poker website where players bet against one another, to other forms of machine based gambling.  
There are many variations of RMG casino’s and even ones that blur the lines of social and RMG we won’t explore these in detail within this article, but in many jurisdictions where RMG games are illegal many operators have turned to other methods such as lotteries, or social games that have prizes associated to them.   Buying a lottery ticket is legal almost anywhere making games that make buying and playing a lottery ticket interesting is another form of RMG’s that is highly popular.
In context of this article we are juxtaposing real money vs social.  When we look at these two games on the surface they are very similar and in most cases are even the same games being played.  




However, when we dig deeper there are many differences that can clearly create the classification of both.

The first key difference:


1)      A player cannot “cash out” in Social Casino’s in a traditional sense.  There is no “prize” to claim you can only extend your gameplay using the virtual currencies and /or giving you access to more content within the game.  For all intents and purposes a social casino is an entertainment product that pay to extend your entertainment or “win” to extend your entertainment.  Similar to an arcade game.

2)     Players
a.       The player base of Social vs. RMG tends to remain the same in terms of age, gender, and income when you look at the types of games being played.

  i.      Ex.  Slots players are general female, between 35 and 65, usually making approximately $70,000 per year


b.      A big difference between a Social Player vs. a RMG players is that social player
generally play for entertainment, compete with friends, to get a sense of
“achievement” and “bragging rights” . 

c.       RMG players tend to play to “get in the zone” meaning a state where all
thing outside of say the “Slot machine” are forgotten and it’s just them in their world.
As well, as the risk vs. reward of betting real money.  In other words, real money
players enjoy the rush of adrenaline when risking real money for a reward. 

To oversimplify the concept: generally in social games players are there to “achieve” and RMG players are generally there to get a “rush of adrenaline”.   While achieving and adrenaline are not mutually exclusive achievement is accomplished through consistent pace and time vs. reward methods, where as adrenaline based activities are completed in shorter time and gratify quickly.


With my above statements about the differences in players lets look at the strategies used to entice these different groups and how they are different but complimentary.

3)    Engagement and Retention
      a.       Social players are playing to “achieve” something which generally means putting in an effort to complete it.  Whether it’s unlocking the next game by levelling up, getting a new achievement in the game,  surpassing a friends chip count, winning a tournament, travelling further in their adventure, etc.  It’s the cumulative result of their efforts that keep driving them to play.  Which is also why we see players with high engagement retain very long in social.

             i.      The negative side to the social games is that competition, ease of access to other games, and the constant need to create new content in order to satisfy the ever expanding consumption of content can lead players to move to new games.  If games do not grab the player within their first 5 minutes, they are gone never to return.  As well, engagement does not mean “monetized” players which just doesn’t exist in RMG.

b.      A RMG player is engaged as long as their bankroll sustains their adrenaline based
entertainment and they are enjoying the RMG game they are playing.  Engagement is
shorter but very intense.  RMG players are divided to 3 main groups  -
                                                               i.      Casual Players – they come with fixed budget to the casino these are players who want entertainment value for their money by playing the games, drinking, eating, seeing a show, etc.   Casino’s create “Low volatile” machines (see ours article re casino terminology here: http://blog.blazesoft.ca/2017/05/understanding-backend-platform-of.html?spref=tw)

                                                             ii.      Regular players that play for small to mid-sized amounts. They stay at the casino for hours to gamble and aren’t interested in other available activities at a casino. They play a variety of machines depending on their preferences and “lucky” feeling they have for the session.

                                                            iii.      Gamblers or “Whales”  – they play with high amounts, they don’t like to get small winnings and ok are losing because it brings them closer to the big win (Jackpot, freespins , etc’) . Gamblers don’t like to be disturbed and prefer to have no “audience” while they play they want to be in their “zone”.

c.       When a RMG player is in their “zone” (article regarding Zone can be found here:
http://blog.blazesoft.ca/2017/05/getting-into-zone-slot-machine.html?spref=tw )  the
state where it’s just them and the machine, the engagement level is extremely high, but
lasts only as long as their bankroll allows.  However, having a larger bankroll
generally does not mean longer engagement.  Larger bankrolls generally means the
players will raise their wagers to an acceptable risk level that gives the right amount of
adrenaline to suite their entertainment needs.
                                                               i.      Retaining a RMG player isn’t as difficult as in social especially if the operator can make the player feel special upon their first visit.  However, RMG has very specific nuances. A RMG player needs to feel they can win.  The timeframe isn’t 5 minutes and gone forever like social.  The adrenaline chasers understand that there are wins and losses and it’s getting past losses to wins.   These players will look for games they feel can “win”, are “lucky”, or put them in the “zone”, which when found creates great retention.   
To summarize: 
  • Social is harder to engage at the start but once engaged players stay for a very long time as long as their achievement based needs are met.  
  • RMG is easier to engage at the start but harder to retain if a games criteria doesn’t meet their adrenaline based needs.



    Business models
a.    Social casino – is generally a free to play game that allows players to buy virtual  currency to extend your gameplay – this is perfectly suited to the long term play and “achievement” based needs or the players.
                                                    i.     Social games being free have a much higher volume of players but most players don’t monetize.  It’s individuals known as “whales” who will spend large amounts of money trying to compete, achieve, and win that will drive huge revenues for the top Social games. 
                                                   ii.     The Social casino industry is much smaller generating around  $4.4B revenue predicted for 2017.  The relatively young social casino games cost considerably less to operate and is anticipated to grow. 

b.   RMG – every game costs the player real money to play with a potential prize at the end that has real money value. – perfectly suited to give the player their “adrenaline” based needs a fix every single game they play.
                                                    i.     RMG games costing money for every spin have much fewer players but overall each player will monetize without issue.  The RMG games make much more per player due to the model being used.
                                                   ii.     RMG is very old industry and has perfected it’s art.  Online Gambling alone is predicted to top $50B revenue by next year and growing. 
                                                  iii.     There are various restrictions, regulations and geographical limitations. In many countries Gambling is forbidden at all or available in certain locations. It is not as accessible as Social games 

4)    The Benefits and Drawbacks
a.      Social Gaming 
                                 i.     Benefits
1.      Growing faster
2.      Highly profitable
3.      Lower costs to entry
4.      Completely Legal and no regulation to meet
5.      Only virtual assets – no logistics, real money, limited fraud detection needed
6.      No licensing requirements. Non regulated 

ii. Drawbacks
1.      High online user acquisition costs   
2.      Very competitive
3.      Difficult to make successful without significant marketing budget
4.      Very easy to make mistakes.
5.      Requires high degree of knowledge.


b.    RMG
                                  i.     Benefits
1.      Massive revenue and profit potential
3.      Real assets
4.      Less competitive (but only due to barriers to entry)

                                  ii.     Drawbacks
1.      Very high costs to enter 
2.      Higher barriers to entry
3.      Need to be licensed
4.      Much higher security and fraud detection needed. Every mistake will cost you significant money 
5.      Real Assets :)
6.      Slower Growth
7.      Requires high degree of knowledge.




Summary


In this "VS."  discussion, there is no winner: 2 different strategies with very similar goal – to monetize your players
However, we see these two trends a complimentary strategies.  If you are doing one you should offer the other otherwise there is money being left on the table.   
Today’s trend of many leading companies is to build a “best of breed” – RMG Casinos and operators tend to launch social games as part of their “loyalty / retention program while social games exploring their options to get into the RMG which is a harder proposition but is being explored extensively now.

Conclusion

Do both and do both well by understanding your customers and what they enjoy to do.  You can monetize each of your segments much better by having a variety of offerings that are seamlessly integrated in a 360 environment.  That’s where Blazesoft comes in :) 

About us – 

Blazesoft provides an A-Z platform and CRM system for gaming customers. Both RMG and Social.  Our CRM for gaming solution controls all aspects of game settings and player’s management and retention.It also manages various features related to casino - 
  • RnG / Ticketing engine 
  • Slot machine parameters - Symbols, reels, paylines 
  • Parsheets imports
  • %RTP real-time simulator
  • Machine / player reports 
  • Jackpot / Progressive Jackpot
  • Casino Loyalty programs
  • and more... 

See www.blazesoft.com for information OR send us email - info@blazesoft.ca 




** thank you to Daniel Vivona for your collaboration on this article

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Building custom Unity Cloud Builds - Stuff you can do when you have UNITY and Ms AZURE




Great article by Tobiah Zarlez explains in details how to setup your custom builds and release process -

"Are you manually making builds for your Unity project? It may not seem like a lot of time, but those minutes add up. Especially if you’re working with others, or have to deploy to many different test machines. A non-standardized process can lead to confusion from the rest of the team when determining which build is the latest, and almost impossible to find the latest previous known good build.
Did you know you can create an automated build and release pipeline using Azure? This article will show you how!"

More here -
http://www.tobiahz.com/2017/05/building-custom-unity-cloud-builds/

Developing your game based on UNITY with Blazesoft Game server becomes even easier :)


Friday, 19 May 2017

We are looking for .NET Developers


Hey,

Disciplined approach to development methodology and software development technologies and concepts. Extensive hands-on experience with programming for Azure cloud environment Must have a minimum of three years of experience working with .NET.
Must have experience with .NET +3.5, C#, ASP.NET, WCF, IIS, Azure cloud Must have experience with Enterprise Library, Entity Framework and Web Services/SOAP/WSDL. Must have strong knowledge of JavaScript, HTML 5 , CSS. Must have at least 2 years of experience with SQL Server.

Advantage
Experience with Ms Azure Service Bus. Strong configuration skills and very comfortable working with XML. Comfortable deploying and troubleshooting applications run under IIS Under VM's and Azure cloud Env. Familiarity with SignalR Communication or low level socket connectivity is a strong asset

https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/312377934

Contact us: jobs@blazesoft.ca


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Understanding the backend platform of online slot gaming - Wikipedia of backend gaming basic terminologies

casino server backend blazesoft


Do I need a gaming backend platform for my online slot game?

Slots have always been popular for the fun and thrill they offer. With the rise of mobile and web based technologies, players now demand to take their entertainment with them wherever they go, and whenever they please. Enter the rise in popularity of online casino gaming.
As a game developer, your next idea could be riding on the thrill of casinos. Whether you’re venturing out into developing your own winning games, or you’re already well established and looking to expand into the lucrative world of online casinos; A gaming backend platform can help you save time in developing and nurturing your game. With real-time solutions like lead and player management, analytics, revenue reports, and more, you can acquire, manage and retain the most important part of any casino: your players.

What are the basic terms I need to know about gaming backend platforms for online slot gaming?

The world of online betting combines the power of luck and perceived calculated risks to create an entertaining player experience which is at the heart of developing a successful online slot experience.  To start understanding why players love the thrill of slot games lets first decode some common casino game speak to give a broader picture into the world of slot gaming:

1. Machine Size

There are many different slot machine sizes and configurations used in online casino games.  There are common sizes such as: 3x5, or 5x3 or many other configurations that we will expand upon in the Reels section. Machines of different sizes accommodate different numbers of reels and paylines, determining the number of available combinations in a game, as well as the number of matching symbols or bonus features required to wins. Simpler machines are smaller, giving generally higher probabilities to win with lower payouts; conversely larger machines can hold more paylines and image reels generally have higher payouts but lower probabilities to win.

2. Paylines vs. Winlines vs. 2 Way Pay vs. 243 Way Pay vs. All Way Pay

Paylines are predefined lines which symbols on the reels can land after a spin. When matching combinations land on a line it creates a winning combination. The number of paylines a slot has indicates the number of ways you can win in a game. The earliest classic slot games have just one payline in the middle of the reels, and spinning matching symbols across the entire line constitutes a win which are still very popular today.
Newer slot machines are more complex; these can have multiple paylines that require a bet for players to activate allowing the player to win in multiple different combinations and configurations of the reels.  It’s all in the principle of high risk, high reward. Slot players ultimately want to match as many of the highest paying symbols on the pay table.  The math models in the slot game will help determine things such as volatility, RTP, and Hit Frequency however, one key rule is that the math needs to give the player an entertaining experience.
Constructing winning paylines starts with understanding a slot machine’s pay table. This chart has all the winning combinations, rules, and paylines for the slot machine, how players can win, and the amount that constitutes a win. When a payline is a winner in a particular spin it becomes a “Winline”.  Often times these terms are used interchangeably but technically aren’t.  In most games, paylines run left to right only.
New games change the rules and allow for paylines to win from multiple directions called Way Pay.  The most popular versions of these are:
  • ·         2 Way Pay – allows machines to pay the same combinations in both directions left to right and right to left.
  • ·         243 Way Pay – pays left to right but without “paylines” meaning, as long as the combination of symbols appear on separate reels from left to right, the game will pay for the combination.
  • ·         All Way Pay – pays in all directions for a winning combination.  There are no winlines and some games even pay for winning combinations on the same reel.


2. Symbols

The pictures, numbers, or letters players see in a slot machine are what’s known as symbols. The imagery used typically match the theme of the game. Common symbols used in slot machines are fruits, bells, 7’s, and bars, among others. Players win based on how many of these symbols can be matched on a payline.  Those winlines pay the player based on their bet per line they bet on i.e. A player can be on a single line to win or 25 lines to win at varying amounts per line.  The symbols along with the math model, special features, and sound give the machine it’s “character” and playability.  If the symbols are hard to read or very similar to each other, it can create confusion for the player and have them move on to another machine they enjoy.
There are different types of symbols, each playing an important part in determining your winnings, and what combination constitutes a win in a slot machine game:
     Major Symbols - These symbols pay significantly higher than others, as they have higher value, with low probability of landing on the reels. Landing a Major Symbol allows the player to win many times their wager.
     Minor Symbols - These symbols give players more frequent wins, albeit being smaller, as they have less value. Minor symbols allow players to win frequent, but smaller amounts.
     Scatter - This refers to a symbol that can create winning combinations without being constrained by paylines. If two or more scatters land between two to five of a kind anywhere on the screen, you win the defined prize for Scatter. Scatter symbols are also used to indicate, and unlock bonus features such as Free Spins.
     Wild Symbols - These are special symbols that are used as substitutes to other symbols, resulting in a winning combination. Wild symbols also usually have bonus multipliers that create wins using the wild feature.  Wilds typically cannot replace Scatters or Bonus Game Triggers.  Some of the special types of wilds available in games are:

     Expanding wilds - wilds that can trigger to expand and spread to other areas on the wheels

     Stacked Wild - wilds that are "stacked" one on top of another on the reels giving the perception that is has a higher chance of getting multiple wild symbols on the reels.

     Sticky Wild - a wild that stays on the reels as long as certain conditions or rules are met.  It will stay in the spot that it "stuck" to the reel and give the player the possibility of having multiple spins with a growing number of wilds in play.

     Special Symbols - When one or more of these symbols appear, a bonus feature can be triggered, resulting in a free play, a bonus game, or more chances of winning. Special symbols can function similar to Scatter symbols, but this isn’t always the case. Each game’s special symbol can trigger a specific bonus feature, and may have a set of rules such as: 3 special symbols need to appear on a winline in order to enter the special bonus feature that the symbol is triggering.


3. Reels

Reels are a set of virtual or Physical “Wheels” or “Strips” setup to spin in front of the player with the games symbols on them in a set order.  The reels are much larger than is displayed to the player.  Some reels can have hundreds of symbols on them to ensure mathematical probabilities in the game.  Where the reels are marked to stop in order to match paylines are commonly referred to as “Reel Stops”.  Lining up certain combinations of symbols in three, four, five or more reels, depending on the slot machine, gives the player a winline. 
Reels can have multiple configurations such as: 1x3, 3x3, 5x3, 1x5, 4x5, 6x6, 2x3x5x3x2, etc. The reel configuration is the physical dimension of the visible reel which also determines the number of possible paylines available to the player.  The number of reels has the greatest effect on the number of possible combinations in the game meaning the more reels on the machine the lower the probability to get the largest winning combinations in the game.  Conversely, games with more reels tend to have larger prizes.

4. Features

Online slot games are built with unique features that simulate live games from real-world casinos, to either extend or create new excitement in each game independent of location.  These features are designed to keep players in the game, betting, and playing. Here are some popular features that casino goers have come to expect from any slot or casino product:
     Sign Up Bonus - Many online casinos offer a huge bonus for signing up to play with them. It’s a welcome package designed to let new players test the waters and their luck.
     Loyalty Program – Most real world and online casino’s will offer loyalty programs for their customers.  These programs allow regular players to earn points that give them different level of statuses.  Upon earning a status level players will be entitled to benefits, discounts, free goods, services, etc.
     Jackpots - These refer to the winner’s take in a game, and naturally, high jackpots encourage players to bet big in the hopes that they will, in turn, win big.
     No Download Slots - This type of online slots allow players to instantly jump right into the game without having to download and install the game’s software in their computer. It’s a quick, easy way to play, and gamers love it for the convenience.
     No Deposit Bonus - To incentivize players, many online games give out bonuses that require no deposit. Players are welcomed with bonus money to start their play as a thank you for signing up and creating an account. Each game has its own methods for bonusing the player - some offer instant sums initially, while others give players and amount to play with for limited time and allow them to keep their winnings after.
     High Roller Slots - Many games cater differently to players with large bankrolls and the willingness to try their luck with it. Much like the revered high roller slot machines online games have separate gaming rooms for modern, online high rollers.
     Player Management - Gaming platforms come with player management features that enable developers to authenticate players, and build a rapport or network with the gaming community. This allows developers to store player data, such as saving their progress, and letting players pick up where they left off the next time they’re online and looking for some fun.
     Tournaments - These allow developers to keep things fresh, interesting, and good-naturedly competitive. A developer’s platform allows players access to leaderboards and prize tables, and sends these out to online players to keep them aware of their rank and progress.
     Commerce - Many games offer players a quick advantage, simply with the purchase of a few boosters to up their chances of winning. Backend gaming platforms allow developers to craft lucrative options for every player to extend their play, while keeping track of their progress to recommend boosts they might need at every turn in order to bet more, and get more.
     Game Analytics - The flow of real-time analytics lets developers keep up with their players’ needs and progress, and allow them to respond to immediate concerns and debugging needs in order to keep the game going.

5. Jackpot vs. Progressive Jackpot

The jackpot is what the majority of players will chase.  Jackpots gives players a large win to try for that no matter how or when they play gives them “hope” that a huge win may be just a single spin away.  

A jackpot typically has an amount of winnings everyone playing the slot game is competing for that grows over time based on rules such as contribution from players or RTP shortfalls.  To participate in a jackpot players are typically required to meet a threshold on their individual bets per spin.  Alternatively, a single jackpot or “in-game” jackpot that is a fixed amount that can be won by the player on a specific spin and is not “shared” amongst all the participants who are playing the same slot game.
The most popular and largest jackpots are “Progressive Jackpots”.  Progressive jackpots have “levels” allowing players to “earn” their chance to win an ever growing jackpot amount based on thresholds.  The player threshold could be the requirement to contribute or to bet at certain amounts in order to attain the highest levels in the progression of the jackpot.  Typically, progressive jackpots are the cumulative contribution of all players in either a geographical location or through specific games and/casino’s to the progressive jackpot as a whole.   All slot players dream of one day taking home the largest of progressive jackpots which by default are always paid out eventually and therefore is a great incentive for players to return to a slot game regularly.

6. Return to Player (RTP)

Return to Player, usually referred to as RTP, is the percentage that indicates how much of the bets in a machine are returned to the players. RTP is the percentage of the entire amount players have bet in an online casino game, which the house will pay back to its players over time. A high percentage is a strong indicator that a player will win in the long run, and if it climbs over 100%, it means the player has actually beaten the house.
A typical slot machine has a RTP in the 90% to 98% range but some can be as low as 81% or 82% some as high as 99.9%.  However, this percentage is based on hundreds of thousands or millions of games.  Meaning payouts in shorter segments will vary in their payout from higher to lower.
One big misconception is that a game listed with a 96% RTP doesn’t mean any player who walks up and plays $100 of gameplay will walk away with $96 in their pocket.  It means over the course of say $1,000,000 of play the pay back to the player will be close to $960,000.   However the make-up of those prizes could be:1 player may have one $500,000 and the remaining wins were the $460,000 a lot of players will have had an RTP of 10%, 25%, 50%, etc  in order to pay that 1 player the $500,000. 
Online slots are known to have higher RTPs, a huge selling point for many players, as they compete against a global market giving players a greater chance to win. When players see high RTPs, it convinces them to bet more because higher bets have RTP percentages.  Simply because the house does not need to retain as much House Advantage in order to ensure their profitability.  RTP’s inverse is House Advantage which is the percentage advantage of the house in winning on the players bets.

7. High and Low Volatility

In the real world, the stock market fluctuates between extremely high and low values, and when this happens, it is called volatile. The same basic principle applies to online slot gaming mathematical models - there are slot games that pay out large amounts, or almost nothing, depending on a player’s luck and the odds. These games have high volatility.

Volatility drastically effects the RTP of a player during a game session which can last in the 10’s of spins into the thousands of spins.  A high volatility game will have segments with RTP in the 0% and then segments with RTP in the 200% and much more. 
Alternately, there are games that regularly pay out small wins, and when players lose, they also lose small. These games have low volatility. Determining a game’s volatility gives players the concept of “Time on Device” or how long the player will get to play.  High Rollers tend to like playing large odds and thus high volatility.  Individuals who are playing a slot game for fun and to pass the time like to play low long term play and thus low volatility. A good indicator of a game’s volatility is the amount of the highest fixed jackpot. Basically, it all comes down to the principle of high risk, high reward; or smaller rewards for smaller risk.
To capture a wider audience, and enjoy the interest of different types of players it helps to strike a balance in your game’s volatility, such as offering options with both high, low, and middle volatility. This lets you cater to all individuals who dive into ‘high risk, high reward’ situation, as well as those who opt for smaller, but more guaranteed and frequent wins and everything in between.

8. Hit Frequency

Hit Frequency determines how often a machine will have a winning combination on the reels. Hit frequency is a key element to the player’s game psychology there is only so long that a player will go with no win before they quit.  Have too many wins means the player never wins “big” and thus they lose interest in the game.   Hit frequency needs to be balanced for the type of gaming experience the game designer is trying to create.
Hit frequency is directly related to a game’s volatility. A highly volatile game has a low hit frequency as it requires larger bets to win, and may offer higher rewards, but players run the risk of losing big as well. On the opposite, less volatile games may have higher hit frequencies, but these typically offer smaller prizes for winners.  Medium volatility games can skew to either side based on the prizing and is what allows the game to have its “personality”.

9. Par Sheet

This document has all the details pertaining to a slot machine’s design, including the pay table, the components of a reel strip, and the rules of the game to determine who wins, and what makes a win.  The most popular definition of PAR is “Pay table And Reel strips”.  In short, the PAR sheet is the mathematical document that ensures the games RTP.  Mathematicians will often change and update the PAR sheet until it is perfectly balanced for the, personality, hit frequency, volatility, and RTP are achieved  for a specific game.


10. RNG (Random Number Generators)

Random Number Generators (RNG) are computer programs inside modern slot machines, or the randomization code in online slot games that determine the winning chances of a given spin. It’s a complex, sophisticated software that keeps the game fair, and the house honest as well. RNG is used to randomly select the wining paylines by identifying and sending out in a completely random order the symbols and coordinates to make up the next winning line. To this end, RNG gives online slot games an atmosphere of fair unpredictability, keeping things interesting.

Thanks for your interest in our Blazesoft Casino Backend, stay tuned for more feature posts! If you would like a free live demo of the Blazesoft backend as a service interface, we encourage you to contact us to book your demo - info@blazesoft.ca or visit our website - http://www.blazesoft.ca