SBC News Incentive Labs: data is always at the heart of Incentive Games’ offer

Incentive Labs: data is always at the heart of Incentive Games’ offer

Incentive Labs’ CEO John Gordon and Head of Data Tiago Vieira offer an entertaining insight into the brand and how it is uniting diverse thinking within Incentive Games to be more than just a free-to-play games provider. 

First off, can you explain the rationale behind launching Incentive Labs last year and how it fits in with the Incentive Games brand?

John Gordon: The scientists, led by Tiago here, were having a bit of an uprising and, as any good king knows, you want the masses on your side if you want to avoid being overthrown. So I met with him and his army of data experts, and listened to their demands.

Tiago Vieira: Or, back home from the world of make-believe, what really happened was that we realised that the value we’ve been adding to our clients’ experience – and have done since the start – called for a bespoke data division internally and a focussed channel for clients to tap into that information.

JG: Ah yes, that’s the one. Same same.

TV: The vision for Incentive Labs has always been clear. That’s why I joined the company. Data has always been at the heart of the Incentive Games offering. Labs unites the company’s diverse minds: engineers gather and collate millions of data points, analysts delve into daily performance to identify what works and what doesn’t; maths wizards optimise budgets; and statisticians develop innovative models for new games.

JG: Sorry. I just thought it would sound cool to compare myself to a King. I mean, look at King Charlie. He’s got his own range of quiche and all sorts. Literally, liquorice allsorts.

Tell us more about the team behind Incentive Labs, its qualities and how it works to make Incentive Games more than just a free-to-play games provider.

TV: Our team is a collection of highly-skilled, uniquely experienced industry leaders. We combine the best insights with cutting-edge game design, and expert real-time analysis. Why am I saying all this, it was your vision from the start…

JG: Just nice to hear from someone else, isn’t it? But, yes, Tiago’s quite right, we’ve internationally created this standalone data division – an industry-leading R&D and data centre – which is stocked full of data scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. Together, they pore over the most exhaustive set of touchpoints in the industry. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

You’ve said before that Incentive Labs offers a ‘treasure trove of live data to assess and address in real-time’. Can you expand on that and outline more of the advantages it brings to your partners?

TV: To put it simply, and that’s no mean feat really, so apologies if I fall short: we have a dataset that no one else has. We have seen people play our games for years, and tested all sorts of things to get to the heart of what works, and what doesn’t.

We can use data to figure out what makes people happy. We can use A/B testing to measure, for instance, how winning impacts the chance of a user returning to play.

Maybe we are interested in what is the right reward to the right person? What is the right time to reward someone? How can we optimise our client’s budget and leverage the answers to those questions to make the best game possible? How do we design the next game with these learnings? 

But, even if we know all these things, we need to guide the client through it. We collaborate with them and make recommendations, we track how we/they are performing and suggest changes and improvements. This is an iterative process and not just a simple dashboard like you’d get with most companies.

JG: In terms of research we are probably ahead of everyone else. There have been times in client meetings where we have had to explain metrics that they haven’t even thought of.

Clearly there’s some complex science going on behind the scenes at Incentive Labs. What part does AI play in all of this and how is it helping to improve the way you work?

JG: After a failed songwriting experiment, which my wife has only just forgiven me for, Tiago and his chums found a much more effective way to harness AI, which meant I still got to reference using it at my speed networking events with other corporate champions.

TV: Yes, luckily our Incentive Labs team actually understands the power and value add of AI. We began using it naturally, because our processes were getting complex, and we needed help. We were getting more and more clients (it never ceases to amaze me how many people go for John’s jokes) and needed to double the team just to keep up.

So we slowly started automating bits and pieces and, before we knew it, we had created a machine that could essentially do our job better than we could.

JG: The really sexy thing about our AI Machine – or about as sexy as it gets – is that we combine this with adaptive feedback loops. Which is ‘Tiago talk’ for how our AI constantly finetunes the rewards it is offering through continuous learning.

TV: To be clear, I have never, ever described AI as ‘sexy’. We are still experimenting with our Machine, and the best is yet to come, but we’re excited to open it up to our clients.

 And finally, how is 2024 shaping up for Incentive Labs? What’s the outlook for the rest of the year?

JG: We are working on a mutant spider that can bite a human and turn them into a superhero…

TV: Yeah, I’ll take this question. We continue to evolve our approach. We make sure we’re using the power of data and insights – giving our clients the Incentive Games secret sauce. 

JG: Can we not do the spider thing, no?

TV: No, John.

Check Also

SBC News bet365 and Incentive Games partner up ahead of summer packed with football

bet365 and Incentive Games partner up ahead of summer packed with football

Games provider Incentive Games has launched two new games with online gambling operator bet365.  The …

SBC News Sky Bet expands FTP suite with Incentive Games

Sky Bet expands FTP suite with Incentive Games

Sky Bet has linked with Incentive Games, as the operator looks to tap into the igaming …

Incentive Labs marks new chapter in Incentive Games’ trajectory

Incentive Labs marks new chapter in Incentive Games’ trajectory

Incentive Games’ John Gordon, in an exclusive chat with SBC, shares some background on the …