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Meeting the entertainment expectations of Gen Z

| By Elena Carruthers | Reading Time: 4 minutes
To remain successful, operators must keep a close eye on player audiences, predicting what they will want and expect. With Gen Z becoming increasingly more prominent in the gaming sphere, operators must understand what makes them unique.

Liz Siver joined NPi nearly four years ago after spending most of her career at Microsoft, leading teams that delivered technology solutions and  services to commercial and state and local government customers across the US. As General Manager of NPi, the iLottery joint venture between NeoGames and Pollard Banknote, she has used that experience to help the company expand its solutions to state lotteries in Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Alberta, Canada. In the process, she has transformed NeoPollard into the leading North American iLottery supplier.

Understanding consumer trends goes beyond the now. Considering both current and future trends in equal measure is crucial for a successful engagement strategy.

NeoPollard Interactive (NPi), which is formed by NeoGames and Pollard Banknote, uses data-driven insights to create a robust, high-performance gaming experience with their platform.

Drawing on their expertise in lottery gaming, General Manager of NPi Liz Siver sheds light on how they are engaging the next generation of gamers by keeping a close eye on market changes.

“Living in such a digital world, the target is always moving. By the time Gen Z is of age to participate in lottery games, gaming trends will have evolved multiple times over, which means lottery experiences must continue to evolve, iterate, observe, test and learn.”

Two of the most notable trends about Gen Z, according to Siver, are their tendency to use an app rather than browser and their social use of games. In other words, Gen Z are much more likely to play online in groups, leading to a new age of engagement opportunities.

Siver cites the way Gen Z plays Fortnite as a classic example of their social dynamic when gaming.

“Gen Z prioritizes social opportunities in a gaming experience. In-game events – even concerts – are a way for friends to engage together.”

This sociable element has created a shift in motivations, with previous generations of gamers being incentivized by the ‘big win’.

Essentially, this rising generation of gamers prefer working on a number of smaller challenges and diversity in what constitutes a winning experience. The motivation lies more with the different stages of the journey as opposed to the overall outcome.

New priorities

The sheer volume of data that becomes accessible in the iLottery space gives partners like NPi an opportunity to derive player motivations from data insights. Insights reveal that a shift in priorities is particularly notable in instant win games, with Gen Z showing a preference for smaller yet more practical wins.

 Understanding that Gen Z craves personalization and an association to real-world practicality makes the experience and prizing more tangible to users, says Siver.

“Understanding these drivers informs our approach to tapping into the entertainment motivators of different player groups”, Siver says.

Siver reiterates the importance of those key player motivators, and how to tailor this effectively to create memorable and engaging experiences that drive connection with players.

“This involves translating those player motivators into the right marketing message, compelling promotions and awareness tactics that will result in bringing players to content that matches their entertainment preferences. Portal strategies that also serve up prioritized, relevant content and right-time banner placement also support this connection.”

Gen Z steers away from linear experiences and into the immersive. For operators, this creates new opportunities to engage users at various stages of the game.

According to Siver, observing Gen Z gaming behaviors shows that they favor “all-consuming content” which engages players beyond just the game.

One strategy that resonates with Gen Z is user-based content. “Zillennials” that watch gamers recording their gaming experience and posting to YouTube and TikTok is creating a new wave of immersive, all-consuming content and high interest based on influencer contracts and sponsorships. With an abundance of content creators in the gaming sphere, users and watchers can clearly see that content creation around gaming is rewarded.

This extends the impact of gaming far beyond the game itself and resonates with users in their everyday life, even offering additional layers of incentives.

In an increasingly crowded online marketplace, NPi is dedicated to elevating the gaming experience for players

With rapid changes in user trends as well as varying jurisdictions, this comes with its challenges.

“We work very closely with our customers to understand their unique player bases and jurisdiction’s specific regulations to ensure that we build content that is win for players, a win for our lottery partners and a win for the industry as a whole as we continue to modernize lottery experiences.”

Risks and opportunities

As trends evolve at such a rapid rate, half of the battle comes in keeping up. With change comes both opportunity and risk, and Siver highlights that the greatest risk operators face is missed opportunity. We must drive continuous innovation to stay relevant with Gen Z.

Risks and opportunities should be viewed not as disparate, but as tied to one another. Assessing the current trends using data-driven insights means taking a leap of faith, nonetheless, a well-informed one.

Getting to grips with Gen Z allows operators to open their doors to this important market. However, as with any generation, individual differences are such that no decision is entirely risk-free.

Not every game will deliver blockbuster revenues but operators can establish themselves as industry leaders by creating consistently engaging content that evolves in line with their consumers’ motivations.

Siver asserts that there is one thing about Gen Z to take note of: “What’s certain is that Gen Z has a baseline of gaming entertainment that extends beyond the experience of a lottery game today and we have a huge opportunity to innovate to keep pace.”

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