In this panel discussion, we ask four of the leading games studios what direction games studios are heading in and the trends they are keeping on top of in what is a fast-developing space
Vigen Safaryan, CPO, Galaxsys
Danielle Calafato, CCO, Gaming Corps
Anna Vikmane, Director, BETER Live
Julian Borg-Barthet, CCO, Lady Luck Games
How has your content given you cut-through and how has it developed since you first came to market?
Galaxsys: Our content has given us cut-through by offering unique and engaging gaming experiences to our partners. From the moment we entered the market, we have continually invested in research and development to create innovative and high-quality games that appeal to a wide range of players.
Our games are designed with the latest technologies and we also leverage customer data and feedback to refine our games and ensure they meet the evolving preferences of our audience.
Since entering the market, our content has evolved to offer a wider range of games, including crash-type games, turbo games, card games, and new, cutting-edge titles.
Overall, our focus on quality, innovation, and responsible gaming has enabled us to stand out in a competitive market and gain a loyal customer base. By continually investing in our content, we remain committed to delivering exceptional gaming experiences to our players.
GC: We started out in mainstream gaming, although that was some time ago now. We applied for our MGA license in 2019, which was approved in 2020. We then started by making slot games, pivoting briefly to instant win content like Mine and Crash games, where we knew there was a gap in the market and we could be competitive while we looked to bring in more experienced people as part of our longer-term strategy. We also produced table games that allowed customisation, from skin tone options on the 3D hand animation through to customer branding.
With the success of Jet Lucky 2 and Coin Miner, we were then able to action the goal of bringing in new people and had an influx of high-calibre staff who had a wealth of gaming industry experience under the guidance of Alex Lorimer, our Chief Operating Officer. Ultimately, this brought us almost full circle and back to the development of competitive slot development, with what has so far proven to be great results.
BETER: As a new company, we have been able to build our product from the ground up and this has been a huge advantage. It has enabled us to use cutting-edge technologies and the latest code, combined with the team’s incredible knowledge and experience, to build the foundation of our portfolio with core table games such as blackjack and roulette. We have also added innovations and new product verticals such as gameshows to our roadmap. Our strong technical base gives us the platform to do this while ensuring the quality of our games is second to none.
Our recently-launched Gravity Blackjack is a great example of how we have taken a classic live table game and given it the BETER twist. We placed multipliers on side bets to add more intrigue to each round. The player never knows where the desired multiplier will be and can try different combinations of bets to see what their luck will bring them.
LLG: We have always aimed to strike the balance between different while also developing games that players want to play. As a team, we are passionate and imaginative, and have always pushed the envelope when it comes to creativity and not being afraid to try something new. This approach has worked well and the feedback we have received from operators and players has been positive to a degree that we simply did not expect.
Of course, we have evolved a lot since our first game release and each title is better than the last. This is only possible because we listen to the feedback we receive from our partners and their players, and ensure it is implemented across our product roadmap. For example, this has seen us add ‘buy bonus’ options to our latest titles. But part of our job as a developer is to bring new ideas and concepts to the market that take players by surprise, so we are always trying to seek conformity while at the same time trying to break it.
To what extent has seasonal content helped improve your offering and what long-term value do these games offer?
GC: As a supplier, it is imperative we are tuned into current trends and can read into player appetites at any given time. For example, Christmas music works on games in December in countries where it is a celebrated occasion. It’s about tapping into a feeling or emotion and ensuring you have content to fit.
From a studio’s perspective, you’re always looking to serve content when the audience is most receptive; making sure the day and date a game is released is something that is considered with your audience in mind. There are multiple games on offer for special occasions, but fewer than there are general releases, so your competition is arguably lessened. If your content is good, the chances are by having seasonal content, you and your customer can see better rewards over these periods.
BETER: Seasonal content is important and always generates great results – both in terms of acquisition and retention – for operators. For BETER Live, we spent year one of operations being focused on putting the technical foundations in place and producing our portfolio of core live titles. Now we have moved into year two, seasonal content is very much included in our product roadmap. We have worked with a couple of operator partners already to customise tables around certain events. This includes a collaboration with our partners for the World Cup, where we changed the UI on our Top Card title to be all things football fever, with the dealer also encouraged to chat to players about the tournament. It was a huge success for both our partner and BETER LIVE.
It was actually a straightforward project for us to launch. Our cutting-edge platform and tech stack allows us to offer a personalised UI to all operators – even on our network tables – so it was a case of deploying this with Parimatch as well as making a few changes to the studio and of course briefing the dealer. It is certainly something we are now looking to do with more operators, as well as launching seasonal tables and games over the coming months.
Where do you think casino games/live casino can improve and what kind of innovations do you think we will see in this space in the coming years?
Galaxsys: First, I think by incorporating more gamification elements into casino games and live casino, we can increase engagement and loyalty.
Second, VR and AR technologies offer a highly-immersive gaming experience. We expect to see more VR and AR-powered casino games and live casino features.
Then there is social gaming, which is becoming increasingly popular. We are likely to see more social gaming features incorporated into casino games and live casinos.
Finally, responsible gaming is becoming more important, and we anticipate more features and tools introduced to help players manage their gaming habits and promote responsible gaming.
GC: I believe there is finally a consensus from providers and operators that there is real value in offering alternative types of product. When you look at the slots space and put the most innovative product of today next to a game from 15 years ago, how much has truly changed beyond the game aesthetically looking a lot more modern and polished?
If we look at mobile gaming, we can see a big trend over the last five years where social elements are becoming increasingly popular; things like sharing your wins or communicating in a live channel. Live casino has begun to take shape recently to include this, but casino games are only just moving in that direction.
BETER: When it comes to live content, the sky really is not the limit and I think we will see great strides taken with the gameshow format. Of course, such is the scope of what can be done with live content, I think we could ultimately see new formats land in operator lobbies, including live crash games.
LL: The problem with innovation is it always leaves a portion of the market behind. Just because I can afford to play and want to play does not mean I can access a live dealer studio on the go; even in the UK, mobile infrastructure is limited and not consistent. Socially, I want to play on my own terms and that is fast and discreetly on my phone.
Also, disabilities are wide-ranging, and sight impairment is something we need to be aware of, so this means everything should be crystal clear, easy to find, and highly entertaining. This might not be the sort of innovation we often talk about, but for me, it’s just as important as new pay ways, crazy mechanics and big bonuses.