I apologize for not communicating over the last few weeks. There is so much going on. As most of you know, our focus at Horse Racing Simulation right now is deploying our web-based game. This is crucial because it ties into everything we do from a specific date forward. In other words, nothing can be released - new features, new bonuses, game enhancements, etc. - until this upgrade is complete.
We hope to start testing the new web version game by the end of the month. Testing should take two weeks and if there are no major issues, the web player along with the totally redesigned community will be out prior to the Breeders' Cup. That depends, again, on what the testing results are.
I'll be looking for a few players to participate in the testing process. If you're interested, send an email to email@example.com. I'm only looking for a handful of testers. If you're not chosen as a tester, don't take it personally. We're looking for various types of players to assist in our testing process.
There is a complete modification being done to the Semi-Annual Rewards Program, the Weekly Breeding Contest and the Platinum Tournament Program. The modifications increase - let me repeat this, INCREASE - our rewards to our players. These modifications are to motivate stable sizes for smaller stables, VIP memberships, as well as newer players to become more engaged because of the upside rewards.
Currently, when you look at all of our reward programs, which have been constantly on the increase since last year, you'll see that for the last six months, which will end September 30, we have paid out or will pay out total prizes valuing at right around $10,000. The breakdown is as follows: Cash equivalency and gift card prizes for the Semi-Annual Rewards Program is $3,700 (this includes the two vacation packages valued at the cash redemption price, not their retail price) and 12,250,000 community game points valued at $1,250. In addition, between the weekly breeding contest and the daily gift cards, we have given away another $5,000 in gift card bonuses. So, when you add it all up, we're talking $10,000 that has either been paid out or will be paid out when this semi-annual period ends. If you include the vacation packages at retail value, we'd be talking close to $15,000.
The changes that will be implemented will allow for monthly bonuses for players winning the most tournaments under their specific categories - for example, most General, most Blue, most Green, most Red and most Insta-Tournament (claiming races). Each category will carry its own monthly payout, allowing for a faster turn and more frequent winners. The weekly breeding contest will be increased significantly and there will be enhanced bonuses for the players who breed the top birth speed rated horses during a six-month period. We will be eliminating, after this Semi-Annual Rewards period, the tournament comprised of the top 24 birth speed rated horses. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT THIS SEMI-ANNUAL PERIOD. WE ARE HAVING THE TOURNAMENT FOR THE PERIOD ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 2011. WHAT WE ARE ELIMINATING IS THIS SPECIAL TOURNAMENT FOR THE FUTURE. The reason we are eliminating it is because we're adding larger, more frequent bonuses which will motivate more action by our existing players and by newer players.
The prizes tied to the top 2-year-old, 3-year-old and 4-year-old horses will go to an annual program instead of a semi-annual program. This has nothing to do with saving points, but has everything to do with allowing players to strategize their key horses eligible for these rewards more efficiently. It will also provide newer players the opportunity to participate in some of these categories, specifically the 2-year-old categories if they jump into the game two or three months into the contest period. The payouts and bonuses will increase to more than cover the adjustment from the Semi-Annual Rewards Program tied to these categories.
The VIP Platinum Tournaments will also see an increase in minimum payouts and there will be general increase for VIP players in gift card tournaments.
So, here's the math. Currently, when you look at our bonus structure, which incorporates the Semi-Annual Rewards Program, the gift card VIP tournament bonuses including Platinum Tournaments, the weekly breeding contest (highest birth speed rating) and the semi-annual bonuses paid for the owners of the top three horses with the highest speed ratings, all total to about $10,000 to $11,000 every six months in bonus payouts - or, we divide that on a monthly basis and we're looking at approximately $1,750 per month paid out in bonuses through all of our programs. Under the new structure , the average monthly payouts will at least double during the first six months and then increase by another 50% again the six months following. So, in other words, we're going from $1,750 per month in bonuses to $3,500 a month in bonuses and then to approximately $5,000 a month in bonuses.
This is big news and big changes to our system. These bonuses really enhance game play. The next rewards period for certain categories will not start October 1, but will start right after the release of the upgraded game and our new community, which is expected sometime in October before the Breeders' Cup. At first, I thought we would go through another six-month period with the current structure, giving away approximately $10,000 in points and gift cards, but we've decided to wait on certain aspects of the bonus program until the web viewer is released and the new community is released. This has nothing to do with gift card tournaments or our weekly top birth speed rating contest. That will continue to plug along 'as is' until the upgrades are released. We need the release of the web viewer and the new community to justify these substantial increases in bonus payouts. With the entire team focused and under deadlines for the web viewer and the new community, we don't have the staff to make these modifications to the programs until the web viewer and new community upgrade are released.
So, just to sum up - two years ago we had a non-existent rewards program. Last year we gave away about $2,500 in bonuses (gift cards and points). This year, through the first nine months, we will give away over $12,000 in bonus payouts including gift cards and points. Next year, we'll be giving away over $50,000 in bonuses including gift cards and points.
I suggest reading this post a few times so you have a clear understanding of where we're going and the benefits we are providing. THIS CLEARLY IS A MAJOR UPGRADE TO OUR BONUS AND REWARD PROGRAMS.
Once all this is complete, we are jumping right back into game enhancements and new features.