4Players launches innovative gamification as a service
For more than 20 years, Hamburg's 4Players GmbH is strongly connected with the games industry, delivering digital content with the online games magazine 4Players.de, sporting a longtime community. But the company has also made a name for itself with digital service solutions for B2B and B2C alike. For more than 15 years, 4Players is offering game server and TeamSpeak hosting with the brand 4Netplayers. Today the hosting service is one of the largest providers in Europe, while offering its products globally starting in 2020.
With their innovation project SCILL, the Hamburg-based company also offers a B2B 'Gamification as a Service’ solution (GaaS) to companies, publishers and development studios - creating new possibilities to increase engagement and monetization opportunities for games, applications and websites.
We talked with Marc Berekoven, Head of Business Development at 4Players, about the project and 4Players' digital services:
For over two decades, 4Players has not only provided games news but also offers digital services. For whom are your offers like Game Servers or TeamSpeak Servers of relevance?
4Netplayers, our game server and voice communication hosting is indeed an especially important and well-established service here at 4Players. Our core server business is focused on B2C, offering fast and reliable servers at a comparable price to gamers around the world. Having said that, we are also working closely with an increased number of game developers and publishers to offer game servers for their games at launch, helping them with technical expertise, support and infrastructure.
What does gamification mean for the games industry?
Gamification and video games go hand in hand. The basic concept already is used in pretty much any game or certain system environments. Just think about Steam and Xbox achievements or PlayStation trophies. But all of these are usually far too static, not engaging enough and most importantly: a real challenge (pun intended :)) to implement and maintain beyond the initial launch! This is why we developed SCILL, our ‘Gamification as a Service’ platform. Integration can be done quickly and once the development team has done their work, no more of their valuable time is required to create challenges, Battle Passes and achievements. Any challenge and achievement will help to increase interaction, retention and possibly even revenue. And since it’s done in a fun and playful way, users want to get involved and don’t see it as interfering as advertising for example.
Is Gamification also a relevant topic for companies outside the games industry? Why?
Absolutely! Gamification works pretty much with everything! Let us take a website like 4Players.de for example. Many users browse the content, but never login or engage with other features we offer. Plus, they are not a huge fan of advertising, so they either ignore it, or even worse: use ad blockers. By adding SCILL-powered challenges and achievements, we can now guide visitors to content we want to highlight, reward them for reading more than just the intro and evaluation, interacting with the community or simply for logging in. Thus, the user increases impressions, ad views, revenue and even receives rewards in return. A win-win-situation for all sides! And the same works for applications, intranets, sales or team tools and an endless list of day-today things we engage with.
How exactly does your engagement platform SCILL work?
SCILL ‘Gamification as a Service’ is a set of ready-to-use services, plugins and web components that give your game, app or website a plug-and-play way of increasing user retention and engagement. You simply integrate the SCILL SDK into your game, app or website and send pre-defined events to our servers. We do all the magic and the heavy lifting in the background and provide you with production ready features with real-time updates like challenges, Battle Passes, leaderboards, user rankings and community challenges. As an example, you create a challenges like “Login every day for 7 days”, use them independently or as a part of task-system like a Battle Pass, and reward your users with XP, coins, badges or whatever comes to your mind. As a cloud-based service SCILL works everywhere: On your website, inside your game or mobile app and allows you to share the same data. For example, publish a daily challenge automatically in Discord and on your website and even provide in-game rewards for those that manage that challenge.
You've been expanding your digital offerings for over 20 years. Why is this as important to you as 4Players GmbH?
With more than 20 years of experience in the games industry, we want to share our knowledge and offer services, which can be useful within the video game industry, but also offer the learnings, experience and benefits to other industries. SCILL and voice communication tools are the latest additions to our B2B portfolio and we already have more ideas and projects planned for the future – supporting indie developers being one of them. Having our roots in both the B2C and B2B worlds will be the key to success for the next 20 years.