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Shane Cotter at Real Dealer Studios walks us through the groundbreaking new release, Volcano Roulette, and discusses whether classic table games need a makeover for today’s online audience.

Roulette is probably the most timeless casino game out there. Here’s what happened when we gave it a couple more balls. And a volcano.

The game we’re now launching is Volcano Roulette, and it’s fair to say that it’s a huge departure from what the industry is used to. The first thing players will see is the sleek, steampunk environment and a roulette wheel with that smoking volcano right in the middle. The game’s visuals, compared with typical RNG games, are several steps ahead thanks to the Cinematic RNG technology that Real Dealer invented. Essentially, this means the game was built on video that was produced the same way Hollywood films are made.

As cool as this game looks, it’s really the mechanics that set it apart. In every round, once the spin starts, one or two glowing lava balls can randomly shoot out of the volcano to become part of the action. These extra balls increase the chance of hitting a straight-up bet. If the player does land any straight-up bet, a special sequence starts where the numbers on the wheel shift, steampunk style, into multipliers. Then another lava ball erupts out to pick the multiplier for the straight-up bet win. These multipliers can be as much as 333x and apply to all straight up bets that land in the round. That means the player could win up to 999x their bet.

An eruption of innovation

What sparked this game’s theme is once again related to Cinematic RNG. We’ve got this amazing technology that gives us a huge amount of flexibility. It lets us make hyper-realistic looking games with any kind of action and put them in any setting we choose.

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So one of our designers got the idea to have a roulette wheel where the numbers could drop down, shift, flip over and pop back up with different numbers, all of which would happen in an old-fashioned, mechanical looking way.

We were also having ongoing discussions about how to revamp the process of releasing the ball onto the table. And after a few sessions at the drawing board, we had the great idea of including a volcano.

Between the steaming volcano and the mechanical action of the changing numbers, the steampunk theme basically chose itself. Our 3D designers then set to work creating all the mechanical lightbulbs, cogs turning and all these different dials that give the game its character.

A degree of familiarity

Volcano Roulette is obviously a huge departure from what long-time players are used to. The challenge with revamping a classic is ensuring that when you innovate, you retain those elements of the game that the players love. That’s a balance that I believe Real Dealer Studios has managed to achieve.

That brings us to the question of whether online roulette needs a makeover. And the answer is both yes and no. As you can imagine, different players are after different experiences from the games that they play. Some prefer the classics while others want something completely new.

When this table game first moved into the digital space, it started off as a computer animation. It later improved, but still has that animated RNG feel. Later live games came in and have gained their own following. But for existing table game players used to that classic bricks-and-mortar casino feel or just looking for something higher quality, there was nothing out there.

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Seeing this, we developed cinematic RNG to deliver a much better online experience, with enhanced audio-visual quality and heightened gameplay compared to other table games you find online. I wouldn’t call this a makeover – it’s getting back to what this game is all about and doing a better job of it in the online environment.

Of course, there are other players who are expecting new twists to the game. The key to catering to these different demands from players is to have an extensive portfolio that spans multiple themes and includes a range of features. Some might be done in classic style and include a dealer, others might be automatic and have multipliers.

Attracting new audiences

Where a full-fledged makeover becomes useful is when you’re trying to cross-sell table games to the larger pools of players coming from sportsbook and slots. The challenge here, however, is that each of these two demographics requires a completely unique approach.

To reach sports bettors, for example, we have created games that tie into real-world sporting events. Just last year, we had Hockey Fever Roulette which was launched for the Ice Hockey World Championship in May. The game was set in a man cave loaded with fan memorabilia and had rock music playing in the background. It was everything you would want in a hockey-themed game.

That was then followed by Rugby Fever Roulette, which was launched ahead of the Rugby World Cup. We wanted to make this game more personalised for each player, so we built a feature where players could choose between dealers and switch the visuals and thematics to match their favourite team.

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Obviously, attracting new audiences was a major focus for these two games. But creating sports-themed titles also provided our operator partners with an opportunity to work our games into their event promotions. So, it had marketing benefits too.

Engaging with slots players is a completely different ballgame, however. Traditionally, there isn’t much cross-over between slots and table games. We therefore had to find a common ground between the two verticals. This is where slots-type features like multipliers, collect features and unique designs came into play. Cinematic RNG has really helped us here, letting us create some fantastic mechanics and immersive designs catering to the slots crowd.

Recently we took an even bolder step into the slots realm by partnering with the producers of an enormously popular slots title, 9 Masks of Fire. Our roulette version of the legendary game became an instant hit.

As 2024 progresses, we have plenty more titles in the pipeline which we are confident will offer a new spin on the classics and continue to drive engagement with players. Stay tuned!

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