by keara22hi, HSM team writer
I used to teach post-grad marketing seminars in a well-known Ivy League university. Talking to industry execs who think they already know everything is far more daunting than intimidating a room full of teenage freshmen. So, I had to get their attention by pointing out something that most of them had missed: market research is supposed to discover what the market wants to buy. And the art of marketing is to find a way to deliver that product or service with maximum net profits. Advertising is what you turn to when less expensive marketing efforts fail. Why? because sometimes advertising has to convince the market to buy what you want to sell, rather than what they really wanted.
Doing market research can be tricky for a developer in Home. Who do you interview? How do you keep it from turning into a gripe session? What information do you really need for decision making? So, rather than put individual developers on the spot, I stuck a toe in the water and start with a focus group approach with this wishlist series.
The most knowledgeable group about any game in Home are the ones who play there frequently. So, we started with the Poker Leader-board leaders who frequent the Casino VIP Room.
With input from such well known poker experts: M-A-D-O-N-N-A, ArmandHABS4ever, gashouserebel, Lookkin4MaryJane, Dirty69Curty, BigChesee, Weasel, rlt1027, dixie-princess, BHarry, Sinners-Blood, akborngeezer, cliff-racer, and pokerjoe (to name just a few) we formulated this Wishlist of changes we would love to see in the VIP Room.
Please note: these are the recommendations for the VIP Room only. Recommendations for the entire Casino will be part two of this series.
VIP ROOM WISHLIST
Split the rooms: Have two separate 64 capacity rooms. Poker and blackjack in one room. Roulette and craps in the other.
High Stakes versions: Either add some tables with higher buy-ins/higher stakes OR add a third level of play (Penthouse level, anyone?) with a minimum qualifier of one million overall earnings.
Take out the bar: It is never used. Even if the VIP parts are split into two rooms, you will still need the floor space for more tables.
Separate leader boards: Sitting at free poker table right next to the Poker Leaderboard showing the names of players with millions in chip winnings is enough to send most new players running away in frustration. VIP Room players need their own leaderboard upstairs in the VIP Room. Or, fix the Information Kiosk. In the EA poker rooms, there were separate leader boards for Green, Red, and Black levels, so it appears that such a thing is possible.
Eight person tables: If the first suggestion is not feasible, increase the number of people who can sit at the tables to increase capacity
Royal Flush award: You have one in the Video Poker machines, so why not one for table play?
Muck option: Where the winner of a hand can choose whether or not to show cards
Investigate the frequent poofing and freezing in the VIP Room: Is it from the increased load of animations in there from the Roulette Wheel? Companions? Private messages and group chats? Costume changes? If we know what is causing the problem, we might be willing to give up some of those activities to rectify the situation. But we need some open communication about this issue.
Customer service: With the poofing and freezing problems as they stand now, and the difficulty with automatic refunds on network errors, it would be helpful if the Digital Leisure Customer Service email address and telephone number were posted in the Information Kiosk.
Tournament games: We do this now, informally, in the VIP Poker Club that was formed specifically to hold tournaments. We much prefer the Casino tables to the Brimstone tables however, so if Digital Leisure set up a Penthouse Tournament Room or something similar, it would be greatly appreciated.
New games: In addition to Texas Hold ‘Em, how about adding some five card draw, or deuces wild, or other poker games? Also, what about simulated off-track horse racing (like you see in the lounges in Vegas), or card games like Euchre, Hearts, and Gin Rummy?
Decor: At least a change in color scheme so that VIP Room looks more – VIP! We know about licensing problems for music, but what about a chip-operated jukebox featuring the music already found in the public spaces in Home?
Single deck Blackjack: Add at least one – preferably two – more single deck Blackjack tables in the VIP Room. The one there now seems to be full at all times, often with standbys just waiting for someone to get up.
Gifting: We need some way to help out our pals until payday. And I would much rather buy someone 10,000 chips as a gift than to give them a $20 PSN card. It also means more people would be able to keep playing and hope to win back their losses.
When the new Penthouse Suites opened, some of us met in Superlative’s suite, met Paul from Digital Leisure, and had fun playing with the new features. Although Paul was not there in an official capacity, his willingness to listen to us and to encourage us to make constructive suggestions was typical of what we have come to enjoy in our relationship with Digital Leisure.
We sincerely hope they will look at these ideas and try to find ways to implement them. We all believe it would be a win-win situation for the players and also an increase in net profits for Digital Leisure. Now for those reading this article, remember this discussion is still going on and we welcome all comments. Please add your own thoughts below.
And for those of you who have not yet reached Penthouse Suite level, go for it!