Online poker has a standardized interface that does not change dramatically. There are small tweaks to be done here and there. There are slight enhancements that can be made to the game; however, the overall look and functions remain very similar. This is comforting to the players who are sometimes risking a fortune in the game. Because there was not very much programming work to do for upgrading the online poker games, I was also involved in creating promotions for the online poker tournaments. That is when my bosses discovered I had a flair for graphic design as well as for writing programming code.
Because of the artistic skills that I demonstrated, they gave me a chance to design online slot machine games. The first one I created, with the help of a small team, was called “Samba.” It was based on my remembrance of the times of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro when I was a little girl. Those were happy times when the entire city was delightful and colorful with music blasting away and celebrations everywhere.
My slot machine game was designed around all these Carnival elements. I invented a special screen that appeared after a big win, which showed beautiful women in lavish costumes dancing across the screen to the sound of samba music.
When we studied the player’s reactions to the design, we found that, on average, they would play longer just to be able to see the dancing women come onto the screen. One of the keys to profitable online casino operations is player engagement. Longer average playing times for customers means more profits for the online casino operators.
Many times, when I had a new slot machine game in development I would call my friends over to take a look at it. They gave me feedback about what they thought of the game. I noticed some interesting comments were made by those who did not feel comfortable gambling with real money, especially when new to online casino play.
Based on this, I proposed to my bosses that we have a free entry-level set of games. These games used virtual coins that had no real monetary value; however, in all other aspects, they were the same as playing games for real money. This was a terrific marketing concept because once a new player became comfortable playing with virtual money, a large portion of them would covert their account to play with real money at risk. We called this the “try it before you buy it” campaign.