Years ago video game developers figured out a way to make players invest more time in their games and online poker giants like PokerStars are finally taking note.
An achievement-based system in video games is a tried-and-true formula that gives players special titles or trophies based on various extra accomplishments in a game such as never dying once.
In December PokerStars launched their Daily Challenge promo that rewards players for accomplishing a unique feat such as playing one Sit & Go or earning 1 VPP in ring games. It has a lot of similarities to achievement systems like Xbox Live’s Gamerscore program.
“I think in most games – whether they are videogames or social games – there tends to be the game itself but there is also a larger component,” said PokerStars Head of Poker Communications Lee Jones.
“People are really attracted to it. They’re like OK, I’ve played the game but I want to get a level up.”
There have actually been numerous achievement-based systems in online poker but PokerStars introduced one truly compelling feature to the mix: cash.
Every player that completes one of the Daily Challenges receives a ticket into a $15,000 all-in shootout. Get 10 tickets and you win your way into a massive $100k all-in shootout at the end of the freeroll.
Future Daily Challenges Could Include Pot-Limit Omaha
With December's Daily Challenge finished and January nearly in the bag, the early response from players has been overwhelmingly positive according to Jones.
“People love it!” he said.
The Daily Challenges represent far more than just another freeroll or promo, however.
It gives players a reason to explore the sprawling PokerStars client and try out games they may never have thought to play.
“It’s kind of like Disneyland,” he said. “The Daily Challenge is saying, ‘We understand you’re intimidated but come check this out. We’ll even give you some equity.’
Jones compared it to games like World of Warcraft, which have a massive scope, but manage to funnel new players into smaller quests that are easier to accomplish.
Right now the Daily Challenges are somewhat limited with only six different challenges, all of which take part in Hold’em but Jones says PokerStars is already looking at expanding the variety of games.
“We could take it anywhere,” said Jones. “Maybe we want people to try PLO. It’s about getting people to see a different aspect of the PokerStars site.
The latest Daily Challenge on PokerStars will be coming to end shortly but don’t expect it to be the last one on the site.
“We have a team of people coming up with promotions and one of the things we’ve learned is that people love a meta-game component,” said Jones.