Welcome to our May Dev Blog, where we let you know upcoming changes and the progress we're making on improving your experience on Pickwatch.
We'll guide you through what we've been up to, and when you can expect to see the fruits of our labor on your screens.
Logo and branding changes
First, the thing you'll notice most around the site and our social media over the next week - our new logo.
Our original logo was very much something that was suitable in 2017, but 5 years on, it doesn't work for us as well as it once did. One of the key reasons we needed a change is that we're not only an NFL platform, and now cover the NHL, MLB and NBA. That means we needed a logo and brand that was universal across every sport.
Our new logo is clean, keeps the red associated with our previous work, and is easier to use everywhere on the Pickwatch platform. We're excited to share this with you and hope that you'll be able to recognize us everywhere from our new branding.
In January I outlined our plans for first mobile app. This much-demanded feature is a huge undertaking for us, splitting our web and app into two separate undertakings that each require maintenance and development separately.
Our core mission with the app is to improve the experience for the nearly 1m of you who use Pickwatch on mobile every year. At the heart of this is a cleaner, more flexible interface for our traditional tables, and beyond that, new tools and alerts to keep you ahead of the game.
- Every expert pick, in tables that work for you
- Follow experts and get updated when they make picks
- Quickly and easily make picks, and understand which way sentiment is leaning before you do.
- Adding new game types - over/under on game totals and player props
- Adding in key lineup and stats info for every game, in every sport.
Some of our app will look familiar - you'll still get the table of experts, don't worry, but it will work much better on mobile and allow you to customize what you see, and always see it that way.
In addition, our new schedule pages will give you an at-a-glance understanding of who is playing today. You'll be able to see odds for moneyline, spreads and over/under lines, and also quickly understand which way the experts are picking. You'll then be able to drill down into those games and even see which way experts and fans are picking player props, and make your own selections.
In addition, we believe it is important for you to be able to choose more of the content you want to see on Pickwatch. You'll be able to select which sports you want to see, and prioritise them on certain pages to appear in the order you want. That means if you only follow the NBA and not the MLB, you can ensure you're not forced to scroll past MLB games each day just to see what matters to you.
As things stand, we're in early testing of the app, and expect a launch before the start of the new college football season at latest. We'll also be inviting some of you to beta test the app and make sure it works, iron out bugs, and ensure we get this right before launch. If you want early access, drop us an email at [email protected] and we'll select a number of you to help out.
As we mentioned above, we've expanded into a host of other sports over the last year, and in many ways, we've been scrambling to provide the same level of detail as we have in the NFL for every other contest.
As part of our app work, we're adding new matchup pages and stats for every sport. You'll be able to quickly see head to head stats for MLB, NBA and NHL teams, as well as NCAAF and NCAAB contests.
In addition, we'll also be showing you more trend stats, for example, how many times in their last 5 outings Ja Morant has beaten the over/under on points before you make your own choice.
We'll also be adding more depth to our NFL stats, bringing in QB hits, first down trends, and some interesting data for Upset Watch around team gameplans, when they run, when they pass, and how effective they are when they do.
Changes to Pickwatch coins
The coin system we introduced two years ago is a fun way to gain more knowledge about who to follow. By staking coins, you can win more based on the odds, and at the end of the season, we give prizes to those players who make the most coins.
However, although the system works, we've analyzed the last two years to see how we can improve it, and listened to your feedback. Here's what will be changing for the start of the 2022 NFL season:
- Removing the 'wallet'
- Removing the need to have coins to place a wager.
- Limiting the maximum amount you can place on a single game to 100 coins.
- Basing all stats around coins on profit and loss.
Why are we doing this? Because the scale of the winnings previously had made coins difficult to value. Our winner in the NFL contest may finish with almost a 1m coins. Sounds good in theory, but because they were being given free coins to work with every week, and needed to only place a couple of big bets to get there, did they just get lucky?
By placing a limit on coins able to be staked on a game, and removing the 'wallet' system, we make it a simple, fair contest. Everyone is working with the same amount of coins each week, and has the same opportunity to make the same amount of money. What came before is irrelevant.
This system means the cream will always rise to the top, and it will be impossible for someone to be placing wagers of 500,000 coins, while other players are working with 5,000. Those who are best at picking games will still be winners, but those who are best at judging their confidence in each wager will have a good opportunity to win more coins by strategically 'betting' on the right teams - which was our aim at the start!
We'll have a full walkthrough guide to coins changes in the late summer period, once they're done.
Beat the experts, badges and streaks
This one is the one we're secretly most excited about - well, aside from our app!
In November, we'll be 10 years old, and since 2014, our fans have made millions of picks on Pickwatch. One of our key ideas in allowing you to make picks was that you could win prizes and gauge how good you are vs the experts.
Well, from 2022, we'll be quantifying that for you in an even better way.
Later this year we'll launch Pickwatch Achievement Badges. These badges will be awarded whenever you meet the criteria associated with them. These range from simply making your first pick, through to having a perfect week or gameday.
For example, if you get every road team pick correctly in an NFL game week, you will earn the NFL 'Road Trip' badge.
You'll be able to earn 'Road Trip' and all other badges in other sports too, and all of your badges will be stored in your own personal 'achievements' section which can be segmented between sports. From there, you'll also be able to see which badges you are missing, and how to earn them.
One of our favorite types of badges will be 'Beat the Expert'. Each week we'll select experts who you need to beat in order to gain an achievement badge. If you beat them, you get the badge. If not? You'll have to wait to beat them next time they're on the block.
In addition, there will also be badges available for beating every expert at a network, so for example, if that network is ESPN, you'll need to beat all of their prognosticators to earn the badge.
Finally, there are 'streak badges'. These will reward you for playing over consecutive days and weeks, making all of your picks, and winning over a certain %. For example, you can earn the 'NBA 50% streak' badge, which tracks the number of consecutive game days in the NBA that you've achieved 50% or more on your picks. If you get to 12 and then have a losing game, the badge will reset to 0, but the achievement of getting to 12 will always be there, until you beat it!
These achievements, combined with a better way to showcase our long term winners (who will earn badges for finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd, top 10, top 25 etc) are something we're super excited about, giving you yet more reason to compete on Pickwatch and beat the experts!