THE BIG INTERVIEW
Ivan Kravchuk talks to GIO year with one of the industry’s brightest lights
Gaming International Online: You became Evoplay Entertainment CEO in January. How have you found the new role?
Ivan Kravchuk: I’m honoured to be the CEO of one of the industry’s most exciting game providers. Guiding such a talented, hardworking and dynamic team has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and we’re looking forward to another record-breaking year.
GIO: What have been the main highlights of your time with the company?
IK: I have been at the company for almost a year, and we have enjoyed some extraordinary achievements. As we continue to reach an ever-growing army of international fans, further market entries and innovative product launches are certainly on the horizon, and we have no plans to slow down! During my time, we’ve unveiled a ground-breaking catalogue of fresh content, including the industry’s first-ever RPG-inspired ‘hack and slash’ slot game, Dungeon: Immortal Evil, launched to great acclaim at ICE London this year. Our immersive catalogue of recent hits also includes Football Manager, Jelly Boom and Surf Zone, each loaded with stunning visual features and advanced mechanics – and I’m very proud of our development team.
pipeline with these players in mind. We’re already starting to reap the rewards, unveiling a thrilling football-themed slot game, Penalty Shoot-out, specifically designed for fans in search of international footballing action following the cancellation of Euro 2020.
GIO: Disruption to live sport has caused many players to bet on casino games instead. How can operators retain this new group of players? IK: Recent months have seen an uptick in casino activity as sports betting enthusiasts pursue alternative avenues of entertainment. With football now over for the summer, the time is right for providers to boost market share by broadening their player appeal.
Having said that, the plethora of new content that continues to flood today’s market means that players have become more demanding. This increasingly-tech savvy and discerning demographic only chooses games that genuinely stand out, so a unique offering is crucial for those looking to make an impact and retain engagement.
This increasingly-tech savvy and discerning demographic only chooses games that genuinely stand out, so a unique offering is crucial for those looking to make an impact and retain engagement
GIO: With sporting events now back on, can the casino sector retain sportsbook customers who migrated during the hiatus on live fixtures? IK: With the world’s top leagues now back in action, there’s no avoiding the fact that many sports bettors will simply return to what they know. However, plenty remain who switched to casino during the pause on live fixtures and will be here to stay if the right content is provided. After all, reacting to changing player preferences, including the recent groundswell of sports betting enthusiasts turning to casino that we’ve seen this year, is all about agility. As one of the most dynamic providers on the market, we’ve looked to adapt our development
40 AUGUST 2020 GIO
GIO: How can suppliers do more to help partners navigate the current circumstances? IK: Now more than ever, players are looking to the online sector for new entertainment experiences – this especially the case this year where entertainment and extended playing sessions are key. To satisfy them, game providers have to focus on offering a package that they cannot find elsewhere. With a host of revolutionary products, including the industry’s first 3D/VR slot game, our portfolio delivers exactly that – and I’m delighted that we’re making a real difference at a time when the industry needs to go above and beyond.
GIO: In light of the recent disruption, how do you see the short-term future for game development through the rest of 2020?
IK: One consequence of this year’s unprecedented circumstances has been a significant boost for online traffic – with the casino industry getting its fair share. This has of course been fuelled further by the closure of land-based and retail establishments, with plenty of players looking to get in on the action from home. Short-term, I certainly anticipate the recent disruption to continue boosting online revenues. However, to retain new players once acquired is a different challenge to bringing them on board. A distinctive offering is of course essential to keep players coming back, but we also need to provide for the low-spend extended sessions of entertainment that are so in demand. Our product roadmap fits perfectly with this, and we’re looking forward to keeping the entertainment going this summer for our fast-growing legion of fans.
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