Anyone who knows anything about business will be quick to agree that customer loyalty is vital in a competitive marketplace if you want to retain market share. Businesses often use loyalty schemes and VIP programs as a way of achieving this goal, making it worth the customer’s while to stay with them and not to explore their competitors’ offerings.
We see it in industries as diverse as supermarkets and hotel chains, and now it’s a phenomenon that is even starting to appear in the world of gaming. Casinos have been operating VIP programs for decades. Now, in the internet age, they are more popular than ever, and game developers in other niches are beginning to follow the same model.
Casinos and their high rollers
In the casino setting, the demarcation between different types of players is palpable because the games are all about laying down sums of money. Casino businesses know that a large percentage of their turnover can come from a small percentage of customers, so it makes absolute sense to look after them. So it is that we see chip bonuses, VIP support specialists and special promotions aimed at high rollers who are part of the VIP program.
Even in the movies, you see the attention lavished on high rollers at the casinos of Las Vegas or Monte Carlo. Now, the concept is just as common online. For example, Zynga Poker has a VIP program that offers access to exclusive tournaments, provides regular incentives like free betting chips and is constantly adding to and revising the member benefits.
Catching a whale
We said that the importance of VIPs is plain to see in a casino. But when you really think about it, they are even more vital to the profitability of other games, particularly freemium ones or those that involve in-game purchases. The majority of gamers avoid spending real money in games. They will either make the initial purchase or just get a free version, but either way, will not spend more, and any upgrades and so on will be earned the hard way.
There is, however, a minority of gamers who have a different approach and are happy to spend money for the best gaming experience. Within the industry, they are known as “whales” and any game that bags a few as regular players will enjoy the financial rewards. Clearly, there’s an immense incentive to attract and retain whales through VIP programs.
Which games are fishing for whales?
More and more games are introducing VIP programs. For example, Game of War: Fire Age has introduced a VIP system with different tiers that offer increasingly generous benefits in terms of boosts such as construction bonuses and attack modifiers.
Fortnite has also gone down the VIP road, proving once again that it has a great knack for sensing evolving trends in gaming. In this case, VIP players are given access to exclusive skins, and can take part in special VIP tournaments. There’s a similar program in place for Warzone, and here, streamers can even use their own VIP code to support the creator.
VIP programs are appearing across the gaming spectrum, and the trend is becoming especially commonplace as the big money games shift to mobile platforms. FIFA is another example of a game that has joined the VIP party and that offers tiered incentives as VIP members level up.
The gaming landscape is getting even more crowded and competitive with every passing month. Developers can no longer afford to be blasé about customer loyalty, and VIP programs are here to stay.