Some important things were doing early 2016.
There’s been a problem with cubits taking transaction commissions from both us and you. What this means is that you deposit ‘X amount’, a slightly smaller figure appears on your deposit account. Although the numbers are really tiny, it’s an issue and it’s a huge priority to sort out as soon as possible.
We had made the decision back in early December to push on with phase 2 of the site. This will be transformative and will take us in the direction we’d always want to go; e-commerce.
Why e-commerce? Because they do navigation and usability far better than most iGaming casino operators.
We have built a working early alpha phase site, which is coming along very well. If you’re interested, we have an HTML only demo site which is essentially a sophisticated wireframe to show you which way were going: http://220.127.116.11/~nine0web/oshi-2.0/index.html
The site is based on a similar user flow that you’ll find on a real estate website, or a car sales website. I.e. there are a moderate number of choices (less than 1000) with filters and sort lists to help you find the thing you want. We’ve also kept the ‘Netflix’ look, because it’s pleasant and makes the game graphics stand out.
This is absolutely huge… And is foundation for the new website. We’ve done everything we can to make the site fully responsive all the way down to being usable on iPhone 4. Our overall plan is to make the site ‘device agnostic’, which simply means it really does not matter what device you use, the site will be fully functional for you.
By taking a really well thought out existing theme from theme Forest and reworking it for our use case, we’ve got something that from a CSS/HTML point of view is beautifully coded and pretty robust.
Un-Lasvegas… This idea percolated from the get go of Oshi. Why should a casino shout, disrupt, make themselves unwanted by being too loud? So were taking another direction which is to let the games do the talking. This idea has come from Netflix, Google play, Amazon prime video and of course our main influencer; Steam.
They all share a number of things in common;
- the site is ‘invisible’
- navigation is really easy
- the content is King, or Queen 😉
- they try to make themselves memorable by being brilliant at what they do, not by ‘shouting’ like so many casinos do.
And that’s the direction we want to take.
Were keeping an eye on existing live site, making sure there are no major issues and in the meantime were pushing for a beta release of Oshi 2.0 somewhere around mid January, assuming everything goes smoothly.
We’ve done a product roadmap which I’ve talked about it here in this post: http://blog.oshi.io/roadmap/general-product-strategy-70.html
In short, the stuff we thought was just daydreaming is turning into a reality.
Our immediate priority is to make it easy for you to find games that you love to play.
This is where really good categorisation and attribution of games is critical, along with a simple tagging system that makes it easy for you to find any game you with your preferred characteristics that you want.
We’ve also built the foundations for very intuitive personalisation, the kind of thing you’ll get on Google, Amazon and eBay. So when you do a search, or pull up a list of games, one of the sorting options will be ‘most relevant’ and when done properly, it’s going to make it really easy for you to find the games you most love to play.
Mike will be working with the community to get feedback on features that you want and we will be pushing out releases constantly for the next number of months.
I’ll keep you posted on roadmap developments as they come through.
Just to give you bit of background on what’s going on, were launching the final set of ‘phase 2’ features over the next two weeks> They include:
- Our personalisation algorithm, which connects games together by one or a number of variables. We’ve got something like 80 different attributes per game, which we then meshed together in our relevance algorithms, which then tie into user behaviour and ultimately lead to suggestions. It’s the kind of thing you’ll get on eBay or Amazon
- Reload bonus of the day, for logged in users
- Bonus of the day, for all users
- Game pick of the day based on a group of games with varying attributes, so users have something interesting to look at each time they arrive on site
- Logged in game pick of the day which is based on your user behaviour and the results from the relevance algorithms
- The Oshi lottery – when you login, you will get free tickets to our in-house lottery, sometimes you’ll get loads of tickets and sometimes very few… We do daily/weekly draws
- Microgaming games – we’ve got something like 500 games that were categorising at the moment and will go livevideo preview thumbnails for all games
- Video preview thumbnails for all games
- Tagging system, so you can search by tag, very similar to the kind of thing you’ll get in eBay.
- Saved searches
- A complete rewrite of the template, making the mobile experience far better and the site faster overall.
- Proper caching and content distribution network integration, to make the site faster.
- And a bunch of other stuff
At this stage were in the late beta, which means we’re getting there… But there’s still a lot to sort out.
Obviously with technology, it’s difficult to make promises on delivery times but… Were planning to have most of these releases out by mid-March.
Who should drive? You or us?
That’s a big question and one that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.
The short answer is: you drive.
You’re here to play the games you love, were here to facilitate that. So our core function is very similar to any e-commerce business, where you search, find, buy (or in our case ‘play’)
If you look at the greatest websites on the Internet, they all share one thing in common: they serve their function perfectly.
Take Google, in the early days they were criticised for just having a search box on a white page. But Google’s function is to find websites related to your search query, so why have homepage cluttered with noise?
Same principle applies to Amazon and eBay. You want something… They help you find it.
A websites core purpose should be embodied in everything it does. For e-commerce, it is navigation and helping you make decisions.
So what’s the function of a casino?
Tom, Mike and I (founding team) have collectively put a lot of thought into this and here’s what we came up with:
“Were here to help you find and play the casino games you love.”
If the core mission is to help you find the games you love to play, then our mission is to make it as easy for you to do that.
To fulfil that mission, we’ve gone down the e-commerce road. The difference between iGaming and e-commerce is pretty straightforward:
• shout a lot
• give away free money as a hook for you to join
• make navigation a secondary priority
• sell on how much you can win
• navigation to items
• clear description of items
• value sell (be clear on the merits of items)
• ‘if you liked this, you may like that’ – item associations
Our hybrid approach.
Of course, you want bonuses and you want to win. But on another level, I expect you want to be entertained. After all, playing games, where you can win some money, raises the stakes and makes things much more entertaining.
But, there’s more to it than that.
Really good e-commerce website help you to make balanced decisions within your own frame of reference about which things to buy.
The same principle applies to casino games. Different people like different things and the key is to make easy to find what you want to play.
The Oshi website
We’ve built version 2 of the website from the ground up. We took an e-commerce approach to the whole thing, beginning with the site structure.
The difference between us and an e-commerce site is; we navigate you to games, they navigate you to items.
We looked very closely at different types of e-commerce website but the user flow didn’t quite work. In other words making an Amazon type site into a casino just would not work.
But… We noticed that real estate websites and car sales sites would typically have up to 1000 items in them. This is about the same as a casino.
So, we looked at theme templates from sites like ThemeForest and found some real estate themes from which we based Oshi 2.0
Were just at the beginning of this journey and our roadmap is full of interesting projects ( see the roadmap blog post )
The developments which come to mind are:
• ‘you played this, you might like that’ suggestions
• Instant video previews of games (see y8.com )
• detailed categorisation, showing you things like game theme, type of music, colours.
• Reward system for engaging on the website
As you can see, everything is about navigation and engagement. We give you the tools, you make the decisions.
As these projects come through, I’ll give you more detail on how they work