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Can gaming data bundles give operators a way to tap into the €35 billion mobile gaming industry?

By July 20, 2016 No Comments

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm in such a way that you would think that it was the first game ever to exist for mobile devices. Mobile gaming took the world by storm in the mid 90’s when games like snake came pre-installed on your phone. In 2008 the industry was reinvented when gamers gained the opportunity to choose and download their own games, and to play other people online. As a result of this by 2015 mobile gaming revenues hit almost $35 billion; this is an incredibly fast growing industry and is expected continue to grow to almost $52 billion by 2019.

So how does the operator tap into this huge industry? Most operators can identify customer’s data usage through deep packet inspection (DPI) and heuristics. They can identify whether the customer is using social media, Spotify, Netflix or in this case a gaming user. In the case of music traffic, operators have developed successful propositions such as Orange France who offered zero rated data for customers who purchased a Deezer subscription.  This allows subscribers to feel comfortable that their consumption will not driving additional data service charges, thereby increasing comfort, data consumption and subscriber experience outcomes. It also provides a relevant marketing message. This type of offer has worked for Orange France as they stated churn reduced by half amongst Deezer subscribers. Based on that understanding, there is no reason why operators cannot develop either a zero rated or paid for gaming data bundle. Operators would need to decide on whether they will sell the bundle or include it as part of the price plan, perhaps offering it as a sales or a retention offer.

Firstly having the functionality to identify and target customer’s usage immediately puts operators on the front foot with an external marketing message of relevance. Secondly, development of a robust and well thought out proposition can help towards your customer experience KPI’s or even help your churn or sales figures. In doing so, you are differentiating yourself from your competitors in an extremely competitive industry. How great would the customer experience be if your operator contacted you to offer you zero rated gaming data because they can see that you are an avid gamer?

Already this week, we have unsurprisingly seen uncarrier T-Mobile in the US being quick off the mark to offer zero rated data on Pokémon Go for their customers. By closely watching market trends and being agile in their market propositions they were able to identify and action a gap in the market, knowing that it would grab the headlines too. Is this is a hint of where other operators need to be putting their focus?

We know that games like Pokémon Go or Words with Friends may not eat up all your data within a month. However, the comfort of not worrying about your data usage while playing your favourite game is clearly valued by subscribers. It is clear that Pokémon Go is only the first example of this type of game capturing the imagination of the world. Operators need to be remain in line with the trends of service usage and developing this type of proposition for their existing and new customers before their competitors do.