b-interaktive co-founder and CEO Eugen Barteska on harnessing player power to build long-term success for Dice Clubs
Eugen Barteska, co-founder and CEO of b-interaktive, talks about the ongoing evolution of Dice Clubs and the ways in which the company has built a highly active and engaged community.
We founded b-interaktive with a mission in mind – to create engaging social multiplayer games for a broad audience. This vision has always been present, guiding us to our ultimate goal.
The journey itself can be compared to the Apollo 13 mission – thousands of small problems may occur – but the priorities are clear – ‘save the oxygen’ and survive. This is the reason we decided to launch Dice Clubs early, just an early access version with minimum features and measure the reception by players.
We originally had an idea for the product but decided to take a gamble and let our audience tell us what it is that they’re actually looking for. Ever since, the game has been adjusted based on our community’s feedback and analytics data.
Communication and customisation
For example, very early in development, we noticed that players were struggling to communicate and since the game is turn-based, there’s really no reason not to allow them to talk freely using an in-game chat. That was one of the first and most important features that turned Dice Clubs into a far more social multiplayer platform.
Building upon that, we’ve allowed players to display their profiles and customise their experience by adding personalised content such as dice and cups. The introduction of personalisation led us in turn to user marketing and sharing capabilities, which helped our players to spread the word about the game.
Community and competition
2016 was the year that we started focusing more on the competitive aspects of the game. The community was in place, people were engaging each other, and we started noticing that a number of players were setting up matches between each other on our community channels with home-grown tournaments.
To scratch this competitive itch we added a brand new mode to the game – the Dice Duel – that has grown to become the heart and soul of the game. This introduction naturally increased the burn rate of our in-game currency, so we decided to follow it with a secondary in-game currency along with a new range of cosmetic content.
To avoid focusing too specifically upon the more dedicated userbase and stick to our mission of creating experiences for as broad an audience as possible, we also introduced several new methods of rewarding casual players (these included free diamonds, rewarded shares and videos, free samples of newly introduced content, etc.) We also made sure to create low stakes Dice Duel tables for those who don’t want too much excitement and stress.
In 2017 we continued focusing on maintaining the balance between the casual and more experienced userbase. We ensure that every feature aimed at more experienced players, such as weekly missions, more expensive, animated cups and dice, is balanced out with easily accessible and cool additions that everyone can enjoy like daily missions and the ‘wheel of diamonds’.
We also try to keep up-to-date with the current trends. For example, in 2015 we added support for the Apple Watch. In 2016 we created a fully playable iMessage version of the game. In 2017 Dice Clubs on iOS came accompanied by a set of custom made stickers that could be used within iMessage conversations.
In 2018 we decided that it was time to add significant new functionality and improve the most important pillar of the game – the social element. Clubs, club missions and club chats were added, to the great excitement of players. These instantly became as important to Dice Clubs as the Dice Duel mode introduced back in 2016. People started gathering in groups – both private and public – and playing the game together while talking on the club chat.
We also wanted to support those players, who like to compete within more hardcore groups and enable them to set up custom Dice Duel games between friends. For Casual players we incorporated a set of free animated emotes that they could use during games if they didn’t want to engage the other person in direct conversation. Keeping up with our tradition of following the current technological trends, we also created an instant game demo version for the Google platform.
Enter the arena
By the end of 2018, we noticed that many of our veteran players were looking for something other than high stakes Dice Duel matches. So at the beginning of 2019 we implemented a brand new game mode – the Arena – aimed at the most experienced players. We created two variants of the Arena: an introductory, accessible ‘Classic’ arena and a more expensive variant with a much bigger reward pool called the ‘Grand’. This new feature was very well received by our players who were looking for new ways of competing against one another as their skill levels rose.
Another important improvement to the game introduced in 2019 was again tailored to strengthen Dice Club’s social aspects. We allowed our players to upload their own pictures and use them as avatars. Then later the following year, we further extended this feature by creating a ‘gallery’ in each player profile. Once players set up their profiles they have the option to directly challenge each other. Since this level of personalisation was already present in Dice Clubs, it was a natural evolution rather than a ‘eureka’ moment.
When starting the game, the user is welcomed by a list of pictures of other players who would like to take part in the challenge. With location data enabled, players see other Dice Club’s fans that are playing the game in their vicinity. This not only livened up the experience of launching the game and put a strong emphasis on the players themselves but also allowed people to take part in less randomised matchmaking.
As far as technological trends were concerned, 2019 saw the addition of a ‘Refer a Friend’ functionality that rewards veteran players who introduce newbies to the game, while at the same time, giving the new users an initial boost.
In 2020 we focused on building upon the game’s existing features and modes. With the pandemic ranging, many people facing a new home/office situation and other struggles ongoing, it seemed a natural solution to work on the most popular capabilities.
We improved the social and competitive aspect of the Clubs by adding a brand new Club Arena mode and club ranking. We also extended this approach to individual players by creating a new league system. A small but important feature for new players was the introduction of animated tips, along with the previously mentioned Gallery.
Back to the future
In 2021 we went back to working on brand new features. We added the ‘Extra mission’ system and gyroscope controlled animated dice and cups.
In 2022 we’re now currently working on new and exciting club tournament modes but we don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone just yet.
The popularity of Dice Clubs continues, with existing and new players all competing, communicating and collaborating. We’ll continue to listen to our players and update the game in ways that delight them and keep them coming back for more.