The current vogue in the world of online bingo is that social networking and social media will be really important to the future success of the market. The theory goes that the first bingo business to crack social media in the right way will be a massive winner. 2009 has seen a number of bingo operators take their first steps towards giving their players more social features.
Gala Bingo launched a new product called “Windicate” which allows players to club together to form a win syndicate. Every time one of the members of the syndicate wins a full house in a bingo game the other members are also rewarded with a small win of 50p. Granted the 50p is pretty small, but players can be members of many Windicates meaning that they can give their chances of winning the 50p a big boost. This product was an attempt to encourage players to engage with one another through mutual winning. Whilst it has been popular it has not delivered any major advances for Gala Bingo, nor has it entered the consciousness of online bingo players as being a must have feature.
Jackpotjoy bingo introduced a brand new game called “Family Fortunes” which again was designed to reward players as a “family”. Players were able to create their own avatar to take part in the TV game show/bingo game which rewarded Families of bingo players. During each game of bingo players can watch the progress of the other members of their family, which adds another dimension to the bingo game. If a member of a players family wins the full house then they share in the family jackpot. Again, whilst popular with players, the game has not made huge inroads into the culture of bingo in the UK.
The most recent addition to encourage social networking in bingo has been Virtue Fusion Bingo sites like Ladbrokes Bingo’s introduction of player profiles. Players can select other r players who they wish to become buddies with and share social information with. Unique to Virtue Fusion bingo sites is that players have the ability to submit a profile picture for approval. Once the picture has been approved their buddies are able to see pictures on their profile. It looks as though social networking is high on the priorities list for Virtue Fusion as they are the only bingo sites which have attempted to establish a framework from which they can grow their social networking tools. There also remains a large part of the UK market which has no social networking in its product, sites like Moon bingo and Costa Bingo have no social tools in their bingo.
The next year will be an interesting time for the social elements of bingo as we expect to see more and more developments from different. Most interesting will be how bingo sites can make their social network relevant to their players even when they are not playing bingo; as this is going to be the element which allows social networking in bingo to take off.
By William Odell
William Odell is a freelance author writes articles on various game related topics. For more information on Gala bingo and Mirror bingo he suggests you to visit http://www.freebingohunter.com