Last year, igaming turnkey solutions provider Oryx Gaming expanded its suite of player engagement products with a suite of new promotion tools, including tournaments with real-time leaderboards. 

CasinoBeats spoke with Niklas Mravlje, commercial product manager for content and aggregator at Oryx Gaming, about the growing popularity of tournaments and the impressive results they can generate to improve engagement and retention rates.   

CasinoBeats: Why are engagement tools such as tournaments such a hot topic in the industry right now?

Niklas Mravlje: Modern slots players expect more from their gaming experience, in the form of additional layers of gamification, which often offers the chance to win an extra prize or feature. Tournaments fit into this category, and at Oryx we offer a variety.

The basic premise of a tournament is that players are invited to play a game or a number of games during a specific time period, and rules will be set which explain how to participate and how to collect points. Typically, there is a prize or selection of prizes for the players who collect the most points during the tournament.  

Depending on the type of tournament and the creativity of the operator, the ways to win and the prizes on offer can vary. When playing regular slots, the wins on offer are only those which exist within the slot game itself, but during a tournament there are additional prizes on offer, improving the players’ chances of a win and enhancing the experience.

Leaderboards are a brilliant supporting tool for the tournaments, as the players can easily see and track their position and progress within the tournament.

Oryx leaderboards are real-time, which makes all the difference. It allows players to track and compare their results with other players instantly, keeping them on the edge of their seat and delivering enhanced engagement.

Our leaderboards are also in-game, which means they are perfectly positioned within a title and visible to players at all times, no matter which device they are playing on. Players always know what their position in the tournament is and can follow their scores in real time.

Tournaments with leaderboards are used as player engagement tools, which is ideal not only to keep players engaged and to extend their fun and excitement, but also for operators to strategically guide them towards the games they believe their customers will enjoy the most.

“Engagement features … offer fun and versatile promotional options and there is no wonder they are increasing in popularity”

CB: What are some other typical tournament types that are popular with operators and players at the moment?   

NM: Having multiple types of tournaments can be useful to cater to different types of players. 

VIPs might prefer a wager-based type competition, whereas your standard player would prefer a ‘win to bet ratio’ tournament. The reason behind this is fairly simple – a VIP player’s bets will be much higher than your average player’s bets, so VIPs will create more wagering in a much shorter time span, and consequently do better in a wager-based tournament.

Whereas the ‘win to bet ratio’ really levels the playing field as the win multiplier is what counts. A €1 bet can achieve a higher result than a €50 bet, which allows the competition to be more balanced. 

In addition, operators can configure their Oryx tournaments to award points based on metrics such as number of rounds, consecutive wins, consecutive losses and the sum of all wins. These options allow operators to target different KPIs while offering players diverse and targeted entertainment and ensuring promotions don’t get stale.

Engagement features such as tournaments with leaderboards offer fun and versatile promotional options and there is no wonder they are increasing in popularity across the industry.

With our leaderboards, we wanted to add a visual gameplay element for the player, something that engages and rewards them. Oryx tournaments can be set-up on multiple games across multiple providers, which gives the operator a lot of flexibility. They are also the foundation for all the gamification tools we have coming up.

CB: Not all markets can use tournaments in the same way. Can you tell us more about that? 

NM: Both emerging and more mature markets have recently started to implement more restrictions around areas such as bonusing and gameplay. An example of that would be the Swedish market where operators are only allowed to offer one welcome bonus.

Having heavy restrictions on bonusing forces the operators to become more creative in how to engage with players. This has led to higher demands on suppliers to develop tools that can help with this process. 

“…the tool can be fully leveraged and built into the retention and acquisition programs to maximise player engagement”

Competitions can be organised in several different ways and can be targeted to suit particular requirements or needs and could also be run for a prize rather than real money or for a charity. As a result of this flexibility, tournaments can be a very useful marketing tool in more restricted markets.

And of course, in more open markets, the tool can be fully leveraged and built into the retention and acquisition programs to maximise player engagement and operator performance. 

CB: How many of Oryx’s partners have signed up to use the tool since launch?

NM: The beta version of tournaments with leaderboards was released in early 2020 and a couple of operators were chosen to test it out. The tool initially did well but we also collected feedback which helped us improve the product over time. What you see today is a refined version of that product.  

Currently, 45 per cent of our network is using Oryx tournaments. That number might appear small but it’s a big achievement. Our goal is 100 per cent and as tournaments with real-time leaderboards recently became one of the core products of our player engagement platform, we expect the number to grow significantly.

The simplicity with which the tournament widget can be deployed on a client’s operation is helping to boost the uptake. Essentially, all you need is one game provider from the Oryx Hub offering to be live and the tournament tool is included.

To really showcase the efficiency of the tool, we did an early promotion with Hero Gaming across four games for five days and the results were amazing.

During the promotion, we saw an increase of 306 per cent in number of bets, 272 per cent in number of rounds and 239 per cent in number of players. However, in the two weeks after the promotion, the KPIs went up even further to 364 per cent in bets, 288 per cent in rounds and 280 per cent on players. This really highlights the power that the tournaments have in driving strong and long-lasting results which benefit all parties.

“We have big plans for the rest of the year”

CB: What is the strategy for this product? How will it develop further?

NM: Our goal is to cater to as many markets as possible and we stay focused on the jurisdictions where we can localise the offering. We analyse data and decide what approach that will work best in different markets.

We have found that the win to bet ratio will work better in Sweden for example as players prefer high volatility, while the wagering or rounds are better suited for the LatAm region where the bets are lower. We of course follow local regulation to ensure our products are compliant.  

Our tools offer at least 13 different types of tournaments at the moment, so it is very flexible. We are also looking very closely at player data to better understand their needs and behaviours so we can fully optimise and diversify the product. 

CB: Looking at your output, it is clear that innovation never stops at Oryx Gaming. Which tools and products have you recently launched and what have you got planned for the rest of the year? 

NM: On the Oryx player engagement platform, we currently offer different types of free rounds and in-game tournaments with real-time leaderboards, which can be used on any game provider that the operator receives content from via the Oryx Hub.

We have big plans for the rest of the year though and have three rollouts planned:

  • Promo messaging – this allows operators to communicate with the player while they are in-game and point them to games or sections of the website which currently have promotional activities. This is great for driving traffic.
  • Missions and quests – this tool will be the star of 2021. Operators will be able to structure an entire monthly plan around any games offered via ORYX. Players complete a small mission or bigger quests and get rewarded for it, in the game and in real-time.
  • Automatic rewarding – We will add automatic rewarding of prizes and free rounds to the player which will eliminate the manual work which was required to complete the promotion, making tournaments with leaderboards, quests and missions, as well as other player engagement tools 100 per cent automated.