“We’ve created a great solution that rivals any we’ve seen in the space today, and we couldn’t have done it without the expertise and imagination of Apply Digital’s team.”
Betting on AI
For generations, video gamers have battled it out with friends and strangers on the virtual field and added cash wagers to make each victory a little bit sweeter.
But in the heat of the game, players can lose their cool when it comes to naming one player a winner and the other a few dollars shorter. Without a referee watching gameplay, resolving these disputes on current video game wagering platforms is slow and unreliable, leaving the winner waiting weeks to claim their victory — and payout.
Enter PLLAY. PLLAY came to us with an idea that would uncomplicate the convergence of gaming and wagering. Using computer vision technology, PLLAY’s platform is smart enough to watch gameplay in action, determine a winner right away, and process payouts in seconds. Never one to shy away from industry-shaking technology, we couldn’t wait to get into the game.
A new company, PLLAY was in search of a business model that would shape their growth into a successful digital company. We quickly realized that PLLAY is perfectly designed to give casual players from every background a competitive, adrenaline-filled gaming experience — without any of the 24/7 dedication required to be a professional esports player.
Players purchase match tokens or match packs upfront — one token unlocks each match. That way, players get to keep 100% of any cash they win during a head-to-head match. This two-channel approach feels better for the player, but also keeps the app up and running.
We knew an innovative app like this would need a forward-thinking technical approach. So we advocated for a MACH-driven strategy. Embracing MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless) enables organizations to be more agile and adapt faster by structuring platforms and products around a modular architecture. Simply put — organizations can adapt their tech stack with ease instead of being locked into one enterprise platform or suite.
With this MACH mindset, we defined a robust composable product feature set supported by AI technology that included tools to set up and find matches, make wagers, chat with others, and start and end games. Hugely scalable, PLLAY is more than an app — it’s proof of the potential at the intersection of next-generation technologies and video gameplay.
PLLAY arrived with a list of product features, but no set specific design requirements — music to our creative ears.
We began our work by putting ourselves in the user’s shoes, imagining the experience from the initial onboarding experience, and building wireframe designs one user journey stage at a time. This approach gave us an unusual amount of freedom to measure which features worked best with a community of internal and community testers — a truly agile approach.
Transforming complex technologies into
one incredible gaming experience
Employing MACH principles, we built PLLAY on top of a layered microservice architecture, with multiple best-of-breed services integrating into the platform.
Computer vision and AI
Using computer vision, an AI technology, gives PLLAY’s platform the ability to ‘watch’ users’ gameplay in action, and make split-second determinations about the rightful victor of each match. PLLAY’s platform observes players’ Twitch streams, decodes gameplay into usable data, and then uses this to determine the winner.
Game play as a transaction
With two distinct payment systems within one app, PLLAY presented some unique challenges and opportunities.
An in-app wallet gave players a way to transfer funds in order to place wagers on their head-to-head gameplay. Using the blockchain for a secure and transparent audit of all wagers, Amazon Quantum Ledger was the system of choice. We paired this with multiple payment methods, including Skrill, PayPal, and more, which ensures a wallet that reacts quickly enough to award their payout instantly. And PLLAY’s composable tech stack allows these payment systems to be easily swapped out for other best-of-breed platforms, giving PLLAY the flexibility they need for the future.
Players also need to purchase either subscriptions or tokens within the app to be able to start or participate in a match. This required the approval of the Apple App Store review team, easily received due to the quality of info we provided proving our compliance.
On the front-end, the PLLAY mobile app was developed using React Native. Building AI elements into the PLLAY app required the development of a full API communications protocol. Finally, we used UX copy to ensure a high-energy, on-brand user experience across the app.
Keeping game play wagering legal
Because PLLAY is a fully-regulated, skill-based platform that involves real money for head-to-head wagering experiences, PLLAY needed to follow specific government and state regulations. For instance, to meet the KYC (know-your-customer) compliance, we drew on many different identity solutions that could be used and changed based on need.
And while QA testing is always an important part of app development, it’s especially essential for wagering platforms. On top of delivering a world-class experience through the testing of components during the development process, PLLAY’s app also needed rigorous QA testing to ensure all regulatory and compliance needs were met.
Launch and marketing
PLLAY’s exceptional AI technology deserved a marketing push to match. Working within a previously established brand, we launched a go-to-market strategy featuring refreshed copy and visual content and a targeted email campaign, to rave reviews from the PLLAY team.
The most important part of this launch was bringing PLLAY to the Apple App Store. Not only did we have to check all the boxes for compliance and regulatory criteria, but an additional level of diligence was also needed to ensure the app could be released on Apple’s App Store based on their standards. Drawing on our expertise in this field, we were able to understand requirements, respond to reviewers, and get the PLLAY app live in the Apple App Store over a very short period of time.
Behind the scenes, we ensured that infrastructure was in place to provide the PLLAY team with analysis and feedback on each customer touchpoint, from ad clicks to free play credits spent all the way to long-term subscriptions.
Since launching, the PLLAY app has seen:
New and regular users
Engagement for games using PLLAY wagering
Average wager size per player