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DESIGN WORKS GAMING Engaging the audience


according to Andy Harris, CEO of UK operations at U.S. supplier Design Works Gaming.


Understanding game design and the needs of your customers is the key to success when it comes to a true omni- channel approach to slots design,


I


f I had a pound for every time I’ve read the word ‘omni-channel’ in industry media over the last few years, I think it’d be safe to


say that I’d be writing this from my new holiday home in the Caribbean. That and ‘innovative’ have been overused by suppliers trying to prove their worth in front of operators. When it comes to the development of slot games, however, very few can genuinely describe themselves as servicing multiple channels, and real innovation is often talked about more than it is achieved. That’s because it’s not particularly easy to be successful across channels as diverse as land-based, social, and online real-money gaming. To triumph in all three is such a challenge, in fact, that many of the well-known suppliers who took their first steps in online have only ever dabbled in social and have rarely tried to fill the machines seen in bricks and mortar casinos and bookmakers. At Design Works Gaming (DWG), based in Scottsdale, Arizona, we approached things from the opposite end. For a number of years now, we have been the power behind the thrones of a number of the land-based industry’s biggest names—producing a large number of successful titles for the likes of IGT, Novomatic, Aristocrat and Konami. That success gave us the confidence to strike out on our own, initially producing content for and then operating our own social casinos—which have been very successful in a number of markets. Our aim now is to produce the third of the three-card-trick and take what we’ve learned from land and social into RMG. But are the differences between the channels really so difficult to master? Personally, I’d argue that there are a few myths about the complexities. It is true that you need expertise in all three fields and there are always adjustments needed to the RTPs of games,


their volatilities, and such like. Likewise, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that the physical differences between a four-inch phone screen and a far bigger slot machine cabinet need to be considered when it comes to the development and presentation of the games.


What is far more important, as obvious as it sounds, is developing content that really engages your audience. That means immersive maths models and features that are genuinely interesting and leave them wanting


more. Once we were able to do this in the land-based environment we were able to tweak our models for the social arena. The lack of monetary reward in the latter has ensured that this particular vertical has been at the forefront of gamification developments in recent times. We’ve been no exception to that, developing a host of unique features that reward and entertain loyal players. As an operator, we’ve also been able to harvest a huge amount of data from those players, which we have ploughed back into making games they enjoy playing.


With this wealth of data and experience in the bank, we are now turning our attention to the world of European online RMG operations. We obviously realise that there are a growing list of suppliers servicing this market already and a plethora of games being produced each month. And yet, we’re still confident that we have what’s required to find our seat at the table. We’re also confident that our past successes in other fields will now allow us to complete the set if we can tailor our games as effectively as possible to the RMG environment. For the moment, DWG might well be the best slots supplier you’ve never heard of – but with a large portfolio of games and promotional tools already validated by millions of players we’re confident that won’t remain the case for long.


Real innovation is often talked about more than it is achieved


CIO APRIL 2019 59


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