(Image credit: ReadyForZero Blog)
The current chief executive of Global Poker Index and Global Poker League, Alexandre Dreyfus, believes that online poker games are threatened by other gaming options available to users online. He is specifically referring to popular online fantasy card game Hearthstone and other online video games that millions of players go to on a daily basis.
Dreyfus explained all of his points in The Huffington Post’s Blog, where he is one of the select contributors. He explains that in his 11-year experience in the online poker game industry, he has witness the rise of the online card game to the level it is at today. However, the CEO is concerned that the addition of new technologies might come in the way of progress for online poker.
Online poker games face competition from new operators
(Image credit: Alexandre Dreyfus Twitter)
Dreyfus immediately points to the fact that for nearly a decade the online poker game platform has remained unchanged. The formula for success was just tweaked, however in today’s climate online poker has great competition from operators that have extensive offers for users. “Online poker and its marketing has remained almost unchanged in the past decade, but consumers and the consumption of digital content and games has changed dramatically. 10 years ago, there was no iPhone, no League of Legends, no Candy Crush and there was no Hearthstone.”
The company that stands behind Hearthstone is the popular Blizzard Entertainment – the firm that is responsible for the hugely successful World of Warcraft series. They introduced Hearthstone at end of the first quarter 2014, and until now they have managed to get an impressive 30 million registered players. For those of you that are not familiar with the game, Hearthstone is an online card game that relies on skill, but that also utilizes the “random” factor. The service options are pretty good, considering they have live streaming events, online tournaments, buy-in possibilities and most importantly, big prizes.
But the problem does not only lie with Hearthstone, as there are multiple other online avenues that have millions of registered players. Candy Crush, League of Legends and similar games are all have a myriad of users, and the point is that they are purely based on the “fun” factor. Players play just to have fun, without having the prospect of getting money for their efforts. Taking all of this into account, it is easy to see why the head of Global Poker Index and Global Poker League would be worried about the future of his very own business. Wouldn’t you after all?
The customer base of online poker games has changed
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)
Dreyfus reports that the average age of online poker game players in the US is 40, while his educated guess for the European market stands at around 33 years of age. He also adds that the landscape has changed somewhat, considering that half of the current online poker users were not active a decade ago. “My company recently conducted a survey and interestingly revealed that 50% of current poker fans have been active for 10 years. Poker is no longer a young man’s game.”
He argues that online poker games are not appealing to new generations – a fact that should be taken very seriously for the future of the industry. They have to find new ways to reach the younger customers in a way that will benefit both parties – being entertaining enough for the users, while not risking drastic changes in the game itself. “Millennials want to be part of the next big thing, and share what they are doing with their friends and social audience. Poker is not in that picture,” comments Dreyfus.
Just like with every industry, online poker games also have to adapt to the modern times. The chief exec agrees that “poker needs innovation, needs fresh ideas, needs new money and needs to break some codes to bring it to a new generation and new consumers.” Hopefully, in the future we won’t witness anything unusual; like a hybrid between fantasy cards and upper level services offered by the big online poker providers. But rather it should be something that can have the capacity to attract players of different age groups without compromising the quality of the poker game itself.