bwin.party Director of Poker Jeffrey Haas: "We Almost Committed Genericide"
Back in September of 2013, partypoker launched a completely revamped version of its poker client which was specifically designed as part of a new strategy to revitalize partypoker as a brand centred around the recreational player.
Almost one year later, bwin.party director of poker Jeffrey Haas admitted that the new poker client didn't warm the hearts of all players, even if the group is now "starting to see positive indications."
Speaking to the eGaming Review in an interview that will be published in full in the August edition of eGaming Review North America, Haas explained the company's views on the new client and expanded upon the reasons that motivated partypoker to change its approach to online poker.
"Managing game ecology is fundamental to ensuring a healthy poker ecosystem, particularly in a network environment where there are multiple operators present with their own value propositions and proprietary promotions, CRM, and VIP systems," Haas said. "So we try to keep a holistic view on player experience while optimizing products, creating network promotions for B2B operators as well as our own B2C operations, and agreeing on network rules."
However, things did not work as the group expected, since poker players did not seem to react to the changes implemented by bwin.party with the same enthusiasm that the room had at the moment of the launch of the new client.
"I think we almost committed genericide with the new branding, which launched in September 2013, because it distilled poker to such a base level that it meant very little to people," Haas openly admitted. "It did not have the substance or character required to resonate with players in a meaningful way. So what we have done is taken the product launch and the brand launch and the overall offering and refined it. With our dot-com software changes, we have seen short-term revenue decreases among casual cash-game users, but over the long term as players play more sessions their lifetime values will increase. We are starting to see positive indications that this philosophical approach behind casual cash games and universal sit-out functionality is having a positive effect on player life-cycles and behaviours, and that in turn is having a positive impact on our poker revenues."
Although Haas did not discuss the rumours of the possible sale of a part of the bwin.party Group, which was initially rumoured by Bloomberg and then officially denied to PokerNews by the Group's Director of Corporate Communications John Shepherd, the Group’s director of poker expressed his clear thoughts on the importance of innovation for the online poker industry.
"There is room to innovate in poker, despite what many industry pundits say," Haas stated. "We need to create better gaming experiences, not just continually recycle the same ideas."
And in this sense, innovation at partypoker still seems to rhyme with a focus on recreational players, as Haas explained, "We are working with our dot-com product with the intent to provide players a more fun recreational experience that means they play more hands over more sessions with the same bankrolls."
"That’s not the behavior you see on other poker software," Haas continued, "and this differentiation should resonate with consumers if we get the messaging right."