The audience at this year's ICE Totally Gaming show selected Valery Bollier as the 2017 ICE Prophet. Oulala.com co-founder and CEO threw in a few significant remarks of why the iGaming sector should adapt to the needs of the millennial generation.
Bollier presented his vision of the future for the first time as one of the ICE Prophets challenge nominees.
Bollier started his presentation by comparing Kodak and Fuji from the late '90s. The first company ignored the arrival of digital technology and consequently went bankrupt, while the other found the courage that Kodak lacked and fully reinvented themselves when it was required of them, and they were able to survive. The question is: will iGaming follow the Kodak or the Fuji example?
The Oulala CEO stated that the iGaming market is now approaching a critical stage: ''By 2020, the millennial generation will represent 50% of the work force, that is, more or less 50% of our market. Therefore it is crucial to start listening to them.''
According to Bollier, it is critical to understand that millennials are used to playing skill games and, even more importantly, expecting to play against each other: ''But iGaming operators – sports betting and casino operators in particular – are having difficulties embracing this. The reason is simple: they have been playing against their customers for years, so when the ''social revolution'' kicked in, the whole sector quietly ignored it, far too afraid of the infinite consequences that this might have on its optimised 'Excel Business Model', which more or less generates short-term profits.''
''IGaming operators need to find the courage to fully reorganize their offer, their business model and their structure in order to grow within the next decade. Let us embrace the Fuji way and start from a blank page. Let us offer customers games that will be created by taking their real expectations into account. We should become the natural extension of the video game industry and offer the same type of quality games, but monetized! Otherwise, other companies will definitely colonize this growing vacant space!''
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is leading the social revolution in the iGaming sector
Bollier went on to explain that in DFS, DraftKings has already transformed a significant number of sports betting customers into DFS players in 2016, and this is just the beginning for them, because no one in iGaming is taking this threat seriously enough at all. ''Because the iGaming sector has not embraced the future the Fuji way yet, the repercussions on our market will be massive. These are my predictions:
- Within the next 10 years, pure players, especially in sports betting and in casinos, will suffer severely and most minor ones will have disappeared.
- Games that are played against the house will become niche markets.
- Skill games will become a bigger market than luck games.
- The dominant networks will survive but they will suffer severely from a loss of income. They will need to use their financial reserve to buy young companies that have gained traction. This will be done at a high cost for them because they did not invest at the ideal time.
- Some new operators, arriving either from the video gaming industry, or from start-ups will penetrate our sector violently. They will invent the new kind of games that we have not been willing to invent and they will assume dominant positions.''
Bollier wrapped up his presentation by predicting that DFS is about to become a growth driver for the iGaming sector: ''Want to know why? Because DFS is simply a real skill game, a structurally social game, a game that is not played against the house (DFS is a market place), and because it allows you to be customer-centred and create loyalty. And as you all know, loyalty means more profitability!''
''Radical changes are always brutal and, yes, the new paradigm should be seen as a threat, but only for those who are staying where they are because for the others, the next 10 years will be a stimulating period where multiple opportunities will arise.''
Bollier also explained that apart from DFS there are other products that could meet the needs of the millennial generation: eSports, Virtual Reality, monetized video games and so on. For that reason he is setting up a so-called Millennials Club, a common offer between various companies from different sectors. More will be revealed soon.