I don’t think it’s possible to get all the important details right without a passion for gaming at a player level” – ERIK GULLSTRAND

passion for games into a commercial product. A love of games gives you both that passion and knowledge and is a definite advantage. This is particularly evident on the visual side of Yggdrasil’s games with our products containing a high-quality look and feel that is comparable to the visuals you see and experience in AAA video games. You don’t often see that quality come through within slot design and delivery, but you do with Yggdrasil games. Annamaria: We have a mix of staff located around the world and we all come from different backgrounds. Some of our team are gamers but I wouldn’t say they are the majority – we likely have a relatively even split here. Most of the gamers work in product/game development which is where they can add most value by representing the players’ point of view, thus ensuring the games we produce will resonate with gamers out there, and appeal to their likes and interests.

CIO: What influence do you see video games having on iGaming product development? Erik: coming from the free-to-play (F2P) side of the iGaming business. This is also true for Quickspin who started out  mean Achievements, Challenges, Missions, Daily Tournaments, Cross Promotion and the like. Christopher: It has a definite influence in terms of usability. Experienced games developers who regularly play and immerse themselves in video games know what a typical player does and doesn’t expect. This is the same when it comes to mobile games, with certain actions second nature on mobile gameplay due to the influence of video games. People are used to swiping and tapping, using a lot of the same iconography and that knowledge base for how players play is very helpful when it comes to developing real-money content. Geoff: Mobile and social gaming has been influencing gambling games for a few years now: ideas like achievements and in-game progress and general gamification are attractive to the new breed of gamers.There’s a current trend from some game studios to make their games feel like their social gaming inspirations and that certainly helps their titles appeal to those who might otherwise pass over a conventional slot game. Mark: The art side is heavily influenced. There are many parallels between video games and slots such as trying to win, finding and collecting rewards, and trying to beat the game to reach the biggest prizes possible.

David: We’re going to see esports as the next sports booking extravaganza because esports is so popular with the younger generation and especially in East Asia. Creating professional esports teams is driving that trend and we’re already seeing NBA franchises in the USA cultivating esports teams of their own. Annamaria: Currently, videogames have had little influence on igaming and gambling products as a whole. Betsoft picked up on this. Like a lot of companies in the iGaming industry, we had been acutely aware of the so-called “lost millennials” problem – the concern that a huge demographic of digital natives had grown up with videogames in the home, were spending time and

money on “freemium” mobile titles but were not making the transition to real-money gaming. Unlike other content providers, we believed we could see a solution.

About a year ago, we started work on a milestone project with the explicit aim of creating a new kind of experience – one that would bridge the divide that’s traditionally existed between casino games, mobile and console videogames. A new product line emerged from this – Max Quest. Everything about Max Quest – from its multiplayer nature to its player progression systems – stems from that original objective, and the result, we believe, is a totally unique kind of game that will appeal to a much broader range of players than traditional slots have ever been able to reach.

CIO: Which of your own products has been influenced the most by videos games? Geoff: Working in blockchain with FunFair, our audience is arguably far more open to new concepts and themes that maybe wouldn’t necessarily fly in the traditional gaming space with its lean towards the standard casino experience. We’re now experimenting with new game ideas that appeal to people who eschew traditional gambling and want faster, cleaner experiences like they would on mobile video games, such as our Wheel of Fun and FunDice instant win titles. FunFair also has the unique position of being in constant engagement with its community and this allows us to tap into their wants when it comes to the type of games they like. We often hear requests for us

We often hear requests for us to develop titles that are inspired by certain video games and we incorporate this feedback into our development process” – GEOFF SCAPLEHORN

CIO MAY 2019 83

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