2017 Content Innovation Roundup

This has been a busy year for us, and we could not be happier about that. We’ve had the great fortune to go through heaps of educational experiences and to collaborate with some truly astounding partners. Let’s talk about some of the highlights from the last year, and follow up with what we’re excited about for the New Year.

 

Wrapping up right now (pardon the pun) is our GEO Game, Holiday Edition. Don’t fret if you’ve missed it, as there’ll be new installments next year. Please, stay tuned.

GEO is the real world adventure game that challenges you to complete missions for entries into a draw for prizes.  The more missions you complete, the better your chances of winning. GEO first rolled out with an initial market test not long ago and received a very enthusiastic response. Folks who had never braved a rock gym before went climbing with their friends. People braved inclement weather to reach the top of Quarry Rock hike. Others snapped photos celebrating with their favourite fall weather beverage.

After such a positive public response, how could we not catch the Ho Ho Holiday spirit with 12 Days of GEO? Decorated a tree? You also happened to cap a mission with a gold star. Got a spot of snow and needed to roll some up into a snowman? That completed a mission without even needing a magic hat. Baked some cookies? You’ve also spread frosting on a mission. Donated to your local food bank?  We had a mission to celebrate your generosity.  Went skiing?  Also a mission, no avalanches necessary.  Felt like sharing the fun with a friend? We even had a mission for that. Visit www.geovancouver.com for more details.

A big highlight of the last year is the online contest we hosted over the summer. We put out an open call to developers for potential games that might appeal to our Fun with Friends archetype, a persona we’ve built from customer research to identify customers that BCLC currently underserves. We received over 30 initial submissions from across Canada, the U.S. and even as far away as the U.K. Huge shout out to all the wonderful individuals and companies who submitted an awe-inspiring array of project proposals, containing many great ideas, concepts and perspectives.

Due to our limited capacity, we regretfully had to whittle the list of contenders down through three tough rounds of judging, arriving at the end of the contest with three very talented teams and the game concepts they’ve pitched to us. Currently, we’re collaborating with each team to test their concepts with customers. As each game is very different, our approach varies from in-person playtesting to surveys with video demos. We are very excited to see how these concepts evolve and develop if customers affirm our perception of the potential these games could have.

Another exciting game concept currently in development is called This Versus That, or TVT for short. This concept emerged from an in-house, multidisciplinary, three-day incubator with the folks from Lottery, our team and a superstar moderator guest host on loan from our jurisdictional partner the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, the one and only Julie LeBlanc Steeves.

A heap of fun and fabulous ideas came out of that fantastic session, foremost among them a fun game for friends to play together when out at the neighbourhood watering hole. We ran an initial concept test at a local pub with some MVP animations our intern built. The pub currently offers Keno to customers, so we felt testing the game there would be a good way to see if the concept appealed to Keno players and non-players, alike or differently. After a positive response, we engaged a local art talent and animation guru, Andy Poon, to create some custom content to test with consumers to better determine what they’d want to see, and test whether they would fatigue with the content. Our next TVT customer test will be in the new year, and we can’t wait to show the world the wonderful work Andy’s team has done breathing life into this game.

On the Virtual Reality (VR) front, we’ve continued to collaborate with Archiact, a local virtual reality studio that is surfing the cutting edge of entertainment on emergent technologies for VR and Augmented Reality (AR). Together, we’ve been investigating the balance of skill and chance in a game that brings instant game prize structuring into a product with longer engagement, progressive loyalty prizes and high score leader boards.

Now wrapping up production on the version two prototype, we’re working out the details for a live, free to play, tournament-style public event to test the game with customers early in the new year. Stay tuned for more information as the details come together.

HUGE thank you from us for our friends at the Vancouver Film School Game Design Campus (VFS) and the Centre for Digital Media (CDM) for each allowing us to test our key Alpha and Beta builds of the prototype with 19+ students and faculty in November. The quality, stability and polish of the prototype now wouldn’t have been possible without the abundance of feedback and analytics we received from those tests. Even heartier thanks to the development team at Archiact who has gone so far above and beyond through the course of this engagement, just blown us away.

Speaking of the Centre for Digital Media and the Vancouver Film School Game Design Program, over the past year, our team has continued to collaborate with the schools. At CDM, BCLC sponsored teams for single-term concept development MVPs including some wonderful AR exploration and an MVP incorporating gamification into employee training around Player Health and Responsible Gambling. At VFS, our team volunteered mentoring time with a pair of promising  teams as they built out their projects for the program’s signature Pitch ‘N Play event. In all cases, the experiences were educational and really helped take us out of our respective comfort zones to discover and explore opportunities, to share learning and perspectives, to collaboratively innovate and iterate, and to eventually test assumptions and validate concepts with stakeholders and potential consumers alike. We wish all the students the best as they move on from their academic settings into the world’s workforce, and thank them for the adventures we’ve had together.

Our team continues to work internally with other BCLC teams like Human Resources and Lottery Transformation to identify problems, spot opportunities and collaboratively innovate new potential solutions and approaches we could take for better opportunities serving existing and future customers. As well, we’ve continued to work with new and atypical vendors, and to support business innovation through initiatives, tours and events like BC Innovation Council’s Tech Summit, the Gaming Laboratories International’s (GLI®) 15th annual North American Regulators Roundtable, and the Consumer Virtual Reality (CVR®) Conference.

We’ve continued to collaborate with the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (ILC) and the Innovation Network therein to consider new and existing concepts that could serve a national level, collaborating across Canada, while allowing different jurisdictions may take concepts to develop and test in regional markets.

We’re excited for what 2018 will bring, and we’re deeply thankful to everyone who has joined us or helped us on this journey so far.

As our Director, Richard Fenster, says, “BCLC has been a leader in creating entertainment experiences in lottery, casino and online gambling for more than 32 years. We are always looking for new concepts and ideas to create new games and entertainment experiences for our customers, and by engaging with new partners, we can infuse innovation into our business.” We’re confident that our team, and BCLC overall, shall continue to further this ambition through 2018.

Happiest Holidays to you and yours, and we’ll see you next year for all new adventures.