Here at Lone Wolf, we like to joke that whenever we need to talk about something particularly technical, we’re speaking geek. Usually, that means we’re going to dig into integrations, or protocols, or even infrastructure. We’ve even used it to dip our toes into the nerdy side of things with blog posts about comic franchises before.
But today, let’s speak a different sort of geek: Gamer.
It might not be the first industry you’d think of as being relevant for real estate, but the gaming industry does hold a lot of potential for those of us on the real estate software side.
After all, it’s not the niche hobby that it once was—as a whole, it boasts over 3 billion users and over USD$240 billion in annual revenue these days. Its demographics span generations and all kinds of interests, from the most casual of idle games made to let players relax to the most intense eSports leagues where professional players battle it out for fame and glory.
Because of the nature of the gaming industry, and because it depends so heavily on its users for success, it’s learned a thing or two about giving the people what they want and need—and those are lessons that real estate software should take to heart, too.
Lesson 1: People should come first.
Think about it. If you were to pick up a video game, whether or not you knew anything about it, and you couldn’t figure out how to move your character around or do anything you needed to, would you keep playing? No, because you don’t have to.
Video game developers need to consider their players first and foremost because if they don’t, they don’t succeed. They need people to be able to understand and use and even enjoy their work, or they will founder.
What we can learn: Unlike a game, what we build isn’t something people choose to use. People don’t use real estate software because it’s fun, or they want to—they need to use it for their livelihoods. And if they have to use it, why shouldn’t they expect the same intuitive and straightforward experience as they could get with optional software?
Lesson 2: People should be involved.
For decades, game developers have offered their users a way to have their say in how a game works before it ever hits the market through early access and alpha and beta testing. These programs let players get into games while developers were still working on them, so they could help identify bugs, missed opportunities, and new ideas to improve the game for when it launched.
Though it was at first a tool used to build excitement for an upcoming game—because players got invested in the bragging rights that came with seeing a game before anyone else—it became standard procedure over time as developers saw the value in letting players put their work through its paces.
Games came out sturdier, more functional, and sometimes, even with a few new details the designers hadn’t considered before.
What we can learn: We’ve said before that the future of real estate software is collaborative—and that extends to users, too. After all, it’s something that our founder, Lorne Wallace, did with Lone Wolf software from day one, and what better way is there to make sure people come first than to let them show you how they operate?
Lesson 3: Hype isn’t as important as doing it right.
I won’t name any names here, but let me give you two scenarios.
One video game, a somewhat niche title from a little-known publisher that barely advertises itself, runs an extended beta test period for players, slowly introducing new features and fixing the bugs players found.
Another video game, an A-list title from a massive publisher that blows a huge budget on marketing, runs a beta test period that lasts about three weeks, and focuses on keeping interest through that period.
At launch, one finds huge success, topping the charts for weeks on end and making headlines even now, months later. One fell off the charts quickly, and rarely comes up outside of search queries for tech support. I’ll let you guess which was which.
What we can learn: Though the same length of extended beta test period wouldn’t really be reasonable in real estate software, the clear moral of the story is that you’ve got to do things right—because once you launch, you need to deliver on what you promised, and people will see right through a gimmick.
The bottom line
If there’s one thing the gaming industry has gotten right, it’s how it connects with the people who use its creations. And that’s ultimately what all the lessons we’ve discussed here come down to: How software, and the people who build it, interact with the people who use it.
Though there are plenty more lessons that we could include here, this is what matters. How we think about real estate software is due for a shift, and lessons like these are what will get us there. By thinking about how software directly works for the people, we can define the future of real estate software—how it grows and evolves over the coming years.
We've already started thinking this way here at Lone Wolf, with new solutions like our agent marketing center as well as next year's plans for Lone Wolf Foundation and the new generation of real estate software. We're excited to show you what we've learned—and how things will be different.