By Valery Bollier (*)

The Millennials revolution is everything but a myth

Valéry Bollier has over eleven years of experience in the iGaming industry. He is a regular speaker at industry conferences and seminars, as well as a contributor to various BtoB publications. Equipped with a passion for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and ”Big Data”, Bollier is the co-founder and CEO of Oulala, a revolutionary fantasy football game which was launched three years ago.

Malta 
| 28/03/2017

The BCG matrix teaches us that a common and great danger when you are contently milking the cow of your mature market is that you may be reluctant to start investing in new markets with the excuse that they are smaller and not profitable (yet). Those that make such mistakes usually end up suffering greatly.

Every B2B operator offering a product targeting millennials currently has the same feeling: that our products, whatever they may be, are not seen as the iGaming operators' priority.

They may like what we do, they understand its concept and even be interested in integrating with us in the future, however, too few of them believe that we should be at the top of their priority list.

This is the exact reason why a group of B2B companies, each specialized in a different type of game, will soon launch ''The Millennials Club'', so that we can be the necessary intermediary between the younger generations (our end customers) and the iGaming operators. We will then be able to push the clear message that the Y and soon the Z generations' expectations are very different from the previous ones.

Of course, no one is saying that the iGaming sector is not innovative, however investments tend to be restricted to comfort zones and seem to be veering away from the real expectations of the new generations. This is largely proven by the current struggles experienced by iGaming operators when trying to attract young customers.

This may sound redundant, however the greatest danger our sector faces is not realizing that the demand is changing radically.

Millennials have grown up in a very different world than that of their parents and they simply wish to benefit, as adults, from what they had as kids/teenagers:

- great skill games,
- fantastic graphic design
- constant social interaction.

Is the iGaming sector responding to those needs? Definitely not!

To be crystal clear, even the products that we, young B2B operators, are currently offering, are only the first step towards meeting their real expectations. They simply want our sector to be a monetized extension of the video game industry. However, a simple look at the investment per game in each sector is enough to understand that we are galaxies away from what they would like us to offer. GTA V cost $260 million to develop. I would be interested to know the budget of the most expensive game in our sector.

Occasionally, our communication may be intentionally provocative, but it is because we wish to point out the urgent need to start talking to the 18-35 age range customers, in order to truly understand their expectations, and then find innovative answers to these new needs.

Another game changer: Big Data

For the first time in history, sports betting is threatened by a new kind of technology: Big Data.

The consequences will be huge for our sector. Knowing that, for instance, thanks to Big Data, Microsoft and Baidu were able to predict 15 out of 15 matches (and Google 14 out of 15) during the last phase of the last world cup is proof that companies that have access to enough data can correctly predict the outcome of football matches.

Therefore, in the near future, will people want to play against the bookmaker, knowing that the house will choose the odds while already knowing the results? I sincerely doubt it. Playing against the house should be a risk. In the near future, it will look more like a con.

A con; this may seem bold but a simple look at the multiple law suits that are happening in the UK, and now even in other countries, by customers against the iGaming sector is proof in itself that what may have been accepted by previous generations is strongly refused by the youngest.

In last Friday’s Telegraph's edition, GVC’s Chief Executive is explaining how Big Data is becoming a weapon between customers and operators. And we are just at the very beginning of this battle.

It is a physiological and historical fact that people, companies, sectors, countries and civilizations that cannot adapt to the changing realities simply disappear. This could happen in the blink of an eye and none of them would even realize that they are inching closer to the chasm until it is too late.

People from Kodak most likely used the same kind of argument, asserting that the journalists and observers predicting their fall were ''absurd, arrogant and naïve''; however, history has shown that the opposite was, in fact, the case.

How many companies have proven to survive a real market revolution? For one Fuji or IBM, who successfully reinvented themselves, how many purely disappeared? The proportion of the second is probably one thousand times higher than the first.

To be very clear, no one is claiming that the entire iGaming sector will disappear as the dinosaurs did. However, we, young B2B operators positioned on innovative products are highly concerned about the fact that many iGaming companies are still not interested in looking in our direction and we strongly believe that those who are not will suffer in the near future.

Also, no one is saying that our sector is reacting uniformly. The list of operators that are integrating products targeted towards millennials is growing every day… but not quickly enough. This is our entire point!

By Valery Bollier

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