At the upcoming GiGse (26th – 28th April, Marriott Marquis Marina, San Diego), FlowPlay and other social casino providers will be presenting on a session around how land-based casinos with established brands can leverage white-label social casino technologies. In the lead-up to GiGse, FlowPlay, CEO, Derrick Morton expands on the session, what it means to be a 'good corporate citizen’ and how GiGse is a springboard for innovative thinking.
Earlier this year you donated $60,000 to the TAF Academy – what was the motivation for this?
Our products serve a diverse community yet technology companies in general do not reflect that diversity. Supporting the future of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in underrepresented communities has always been an important cause for our company. We previously donated $26,000 through an in-game campaign to Girlstart, a nonprofit that inspires girls' interest and engagement in STEM education. With the TAF Academy, our partnership extended beyond our donation which enabled the development of a new state-of-the-art lab within the Seattle-area school to a mentorship program between FlowPlay’s staff and TAF students. Ultimately we’re helping introduce the possibility of careers in the video games industry and STEM more broadly to a diverse set of middle and high school students who would likely not have the opportunity otherwise.
Do you think the broadly-based gaming industry (in all of its guises) needs to be more active in its approach to social issues?
Fundamentally, we believe that being a good corporate citizen is something every company should strive for – regardless of the industry or size of the business. At FlowPlay, we felt that tapping into what we do best as a company and engaging with our dedicated community of players was the best approach to build the foundation of our philanthropy program on. To-date, our in-game campaigns have raised over $200,000 for seven non-profits that the community identified as being important causes for them. From a larger industry perspective, we see an opportunity for all businesses to take a stance and begin engaging in causes that are important to both their business and their customer bases.
What are your objectives from being part of the GiGse experience and what role does GiGse play in helping to shape thinking in the gaming sector?
GiGse brings together some of the top industry publishers, developers, and decision makers bridging the gap between social casinos, land-based casinos and RMG. This year, FlowPlay and other social casino providers are presenting on a session around how land-based casinos with established brands can leverage white-label social casino technologies to help educate the market on benefits and use cases. GiGse is also a great springboard to foster innovative thinking and discussions around issues specific to the North America market, which is often deprioritized in the larger gaming sector.
What do you see as the big challenges facing gaming brands in North America over the short and medium term(s)?
In the medium term, regulatory issues around RMG will continue to hinder North American gaming brands looking to expand online. This puts widely-legal, free-to-play social casino alternatives at the forefront to help brands expand online, continue innovating, and engage with customers outside of casino walls. This challenge has created a short-term disconnect between the need to close the gap between online and land-based casino experiences, and traditional casino brand perspectives that RMG is the best way to reach online audiences. Even for the brands that have acquired social casino offerings, there’s a significant need to have social casinos more integrated into larger corporate strategies.
Having 75m users around the world puts the brand(s) in a powerful position: have you/would you use the power of such engagement to shape societal thinking or behaviour?
Our user-based is truly what shapes how we as a company think. From what areas of the technology we build out to developing our philanthropic program, in many ways our dedicated community of players does more of the shaping of societal thinking than we as a company do – we’re simply the venue enabling the community.
How important is the GiGse LaunchPad initiative in helping to encourage entrepreneurship?
GiGse LaunchPad provides startups with a platform to showcase the latest gaming innovations, giving attention to entrepreneurs and companies that may otherwise be looked over because of their focus on the North American market. By putting these startups in front of decision makers and potential partners, the gaming industry in North America as a whole is benefiting from whatever business opportunities help foster the next big innovation.
To register for GiGse, visit www.gigse.com