Focus on QCI: Using AI to measure player ‘devotion’ to specific games

September 1, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports
September 1, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports
  • United States

Quick Custom Intelligence’s newest software resolves both a personal quest and gaming operators’ need to measure player fondness for individual games, company co-founder Andrew Cardno says.

“This market-basket analyzer is telling you the most important thing on your floor: what your customers like and which customers like it,” Cardno said of the QCI AGI53 Platform, the third phase of the company’s data management software. AGI refers to its integration with large-language models of artificial general intelligence. The new software, to be showcased at October’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, includes all functions available with QCI’s Enterprise platform introduced about two years ago and adds several features enabled by AGI.

Cardno, who has experience in retail analytics, said retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and supermarkets rely on market-basket analysis not only to know what customers buy but also to understand what else might interest them. However, applying the concept to the gaming world has been stymied because of a fundamental difference between traditional retailers and casinos: While stores set prices for each item they sell, casino players – not operators – decide how much to spend on a game.

“Market-basket analysis in the gaming world is not just what people play, it’s how much they play it,” said Cardno, adding that he’s worked 20 years on how to adapt the market-basket concept for casino use. “In gaming, spend is a choice. So, unlike every other product in the world, price is determined largely by the buyer.”

Cardno said QCI, after an eight-figure R&D investment since its founding in 2020, at last has developed the industry’s first method of measuring player “devotion” to each slot title on a casino floor.

“It’s a very important discovery,” he continued. “The essence of the selling-engagement process is understanding the collection of things people like.” In retail, for example, the purchaser of a TV also might be interested in higher-margin items such as HDMI cables, power strips, a sound system, or a video game console. In a casino, the AGI53 Platform can identify slots that appeal to similar groups of players so machines could be grouped together or suggested as an additional game a player might enjoy.

Rather than seeing just flashing lights or attractive artwork, players develop a bond with their favorite games, Cardno explained. “They’ve spent hours on them. They have a very personal experience. They remember when they won, they remember the mix. And that’s what the market-basket analyzer lets you see.”

Another element of the QCI AGI53 Platform is Power Pack, which he described as a “dynamic dashboarding and programming environment.” It allows users to easily manage data and tasks without requiring customization. “It’s a full AI engine and understands deep, deep, deep kinds of queries,” Cardno said.

For example, hosts could use Power Pack for insights into player tendencies and quickly set up a campaign for specific players. He illustrated the process by using AGI53 with QCI’s simulated casino, devised as part of a previous version of the software and based on the activities of 500,000 people, 4,000 gaming machines, and three hotels. Cardno pretended to be a host asking questions of “Mozart,” the nickname for the AGI53 interface. He likened Mozart to a copilot who helps people write a database query that yields the information they want.

Being intentionally obtuse, Cardno typed in a request for names of “badish” players. Mozart wanted clarification: Did he mean those who have been inactive for a time or those with low volume? Inactive, he responded, and Mozart asked for a time period, such as three, six, or nine months. “90ish days,” Cardno answered. A list popped up in seconds, and Mozart asked if he would like to see which machines those people played. Within minutes, he could have Mozart email or text each person with a bounce-back offer or other incentive. The potential uses seem endless.

“You can even ask vague questions like ‘What should I do today?’” he said. “This is a really intelligent agent that knows what you want. We’ve got new advanced kinds of analysis, new graphs, new response mechanisms. Hundreds of new metrics have been added. It’s a huge release.”

QCI’s clients include 159 operators with about 500 sites, accounting for more than $24 billion in annual gross gaming revenue. Cardno predicted AI will help every level of casino employee, including hosts, managers, marketers, slots managers and technician, and its impact is only beginning.

“Nothing can compete with AGI,” he said. “It’s going to be doing game design, marketing campaign design, slot floor layout design. It’s going to be replying to your emails. Everything you could imagine, inside and outside a resort, is an opportunity for AGI.”