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The Business of Social Games and Casino

The Business of Social Games and Casino

By Lloyd Melnick
How to succeed in the mobile game space by Lloyd Melnick. Lloyd is a serial builder of businesses (senior leadership on three exits worth over $700 million), successful in big (Disney, Stars Group, Zynga) and small companies (Merscom, Spooky Cool Labs) with over 20 years experience in the gaming and casino space. I am currently GM of VGW's Chumba Casino and on the Board of Directors of Murka Games and Luckbox. I am also the author of the definitive book on customer lifetime value, Understanding the Predictable.

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Behavioral Economics Tips for Gaming Companies
Key takeaways A key lesson of behavioral economics is that less choice often drives better results. When the number of choices increases, our ability to make a decision decreases. Consumers hate uncertainty. Questions without answers cause fear and kills the experience and sales, it is a customer experience killer. Use AB and multi-armed bandit tests help you understand how your players will react in the context of your game, market research conversely might provide bad information as people do not know what they want. This episode is also available as a blog post:
April 5, 2021
You need a good game, not a feature
Key takeaways If your game does not have a strong core game loop, no amount or quality of features will make the game work. The core loop is central to success, it is a chain of actions that the player does over and over again. Once you have a strong core loop, you need to build out progression and secondary mechanics and then you can begin adding features to optimize performance. This episode is also available as a blog post:
April 5, 2021
The difference between great executives and everyone else
Key takeaways There are many similarities between what separates a professional athlete from an amateur and what separates a great business executive from everyone else. The best executives focus on getting the best outcome, not being right. The best executives accept responsibility and do not blame others. This episode is also available as a blog post:
April 5, 2021
Taking the subscription model to the next level
Key takeaways Treat your subscription service as a membership service. By looking at subscriptions as memberships, you not only generate an ongoing and stable revenue stream but also create value for your customers because membership provides recognition, stability, and convenience for your players while connecting them. The core value to subscribers from the subscription should be additional access, features or games or community not available to non-subscribers. Focus on the early experience. Onboarding done correctly dramatically reduces the number of people who sign up for trial or become full members and then cancel within the first month or two. This episode is also available as a blog post:
April 5, 2021
2021 Pre-Mortem: What went wrong in 2021
Key takeaways Rather than trying to guess (predict) the future, conduct a pre-mortem, where you put yourself in December 2021 and look back at what went terribly wrong for your business. The exercise will help you identify the biggest risks you face. Some of the areas you should look at include the impact of Covid, spread of Real Money gaming in the US, challenges to RMG in Europe, the new gaming consoles and how work from home is changing the workplace. You also need to realize that risks come in many forms and some are impossible to anticipate. You need to detect these quickly and respond with improvisation, speed and an iterative approach, since not every action taken will work as intended. This episode is also available as a blog post:
April 5, 2021
The subscription KPIs that matter
Key takeaways from this podcast: To run a successful business, you have to constantly monitor KPIs and optimize based on this data; the subscription model is no different but the KPIs are not the same as the ones you are used to reviewing MRR (monthly recurring revenue) is the most important KPI for the subscription model, how much subscription revenue you generate (and can count on) each month. Other critical metrics for the subscription model are MRR growth average revenue per subscriber (ARPS), current user return rate (CURR), cost to acquire a customer (CAC), customer lifetime value (LTV) and churn. This episode is also available as a blog post:
March 13, 2021
How to give help without micromanaging
Key takeaways from this podcast: Leaders have the experience and skills to help their employees deal with difficult problems, but they must ensure they do not end up micromanaging, thus inhibiting their employees motivation and creativity. To provide effective help, wait for your employees to realize they need assistance and take the time to understand the situation fully. When you help, use this knowledge to match your assistance to their needs. Stress your role is to provide assistance and that your focus is on helping rather than judging. This episode is also available as a blog post:
March 6, 2021
How the marketing 4 P’s have changed
Key takeaways from this podcast: The four P’s of traditional marketing theory (Product, Place, Price and Promotion) do not fit with the current business climate and expectations of customers. As a replacement for the four P’s, the SAVE framework with a focus on Solutions, Access, Value and Education, provides an alternative. The core of SAVE is providing solutions that meet customers’ needs and overall focusing on the user. This episode is also available as a blog post:
March 6, 2021
How Chaos Theory impacts the gaming industry
An audio version of my post on the relationship between Chaos Theory, the Butterfly Effect and gaming.  Key takeaways include In the 1960s, Edward Lorenz identified the Butterfly Effect when inputting multiple KPIs into a weather program, rounding one number, and seeing that the seemingly insignificant rounding change led to a momentously different outcome. The importance of small changes on outcomes shows that activity is not predictable, and this challenge extends to the business environment. To manage effectively and overcome the unpredictability of the world, you need to build a resilient business and move away from a hierarchical, command and control structure. This episode is also available as a blog post:
March 3, 2021
Yes, Coin Master is Disruptive
Key takeaways: Coin Master has taken the social casino space by storm, generating more than $250,000/day, by disrupting the space and deviating from how other social casino products compete. Coin Master exemplifies how to disrupt an industry, appealing to non-customers of the industry by adding new features, increasing others while eliminating some elements and reducing the emphasis on other features. Coin Master is a textbook example of how to disrupt and succeed in the social casino space, by creating a product that makes the competition irrelevant. This episode is also available as a blog post:
March 2, 2021
Best practices for innovation, org structure and crisis management
My takeaways from the Peter Drucker forum, with key takeaways that include The best way to grow innovation is testing multiple initiatives, evaluating them critically, killing the majority and then increasing investment in those showing traction in a regular cycle. For a company to innovate and not simply play at innovation, it also needs a curious leader who builds a shared vision of the future. Rather than building a strict hierarchy, structure your company so the leaders can serve their teams and create an environment where employees are empowered to take the best action. To navigate your way out of a crisis, listen to your customers to come up with novel solutions. This episode is also available as a blog post:
February 28, 2021
Ways to improve your game (or product) using neuroscience
A podcast on applying neuromarketing to the gaming space.  Key takeaways include Neuromarketing, based on neuroscience, uses understanding of the brain to drive product and marketing decisions, just as big data creates much higher returns. You can increase sales and satisfaction by minimizing cognitive load, how much your customer’s brain has to process navigating your app or store Your UIUX should account for whether your customer is conducting a top-down search (looking for something in particular) or bottom-up search where you want them to find something. This episode is also available as a blog post:
February 28, 2021