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#VIDEOGAMES


I think you have much higher chance to succeed if the game is marketable in an easy way, and here I think a key factor is for the game to resonate with its surrounding environment – a good game is often contemporary in at least some way. But obviously the core gameplay will always have precedence. If you don’t get the core right, it’s never going to be good enough. Geoff: Today’s audience has high technical expectations. Most obviously, everything needs to work smoothly on a mobile phone: about 70% of all online play is on a mobile device. New players are used to playing complex 3D games on their mobile phones, so we ought to be able to get a slot machine or table game running a similar experience. David: We now have access to high speed, high performance mobile devices at large. This in its own creates many opportunities for game developers and for gamers as well. Gaming is ‘always on’ when you are mobile and on the road. It has become for some people a constant part of life because it is so accessible and not limited to a geographic venue. Annamaria: I believe this new demographic expect a lot more than your simple bet and spin. These players want interactivity and expect the same sense of engagement and long-term progression that they find in their favourite non-casino games. This is why the ability to earn experience points, secure unique treasures and further XP is all so essential to our vision for Max Quest – and for the future of online casino as a whole. Mark: The advancement in technology for slots and video games has been significant in recent years. When I started out, we had set requirements for sizes and capabilities of games and there was hardly any animation. Today, there are slot games that are mini video games in many ways. Players today have the luxury of living in a world where the advancement in technology is huge, and so much more can happen in games today that was simply unachievable 20 years ago. It’s also about the player base. some regional players, for example, expect higher levels of quality and interaction within a game than say UK players. Christopher: The industry is more competitive than ever both in terms of making great games but also competing for the attention of players who have so much choice online across all different types of gaming content.


Our role is to produce games that attract the greatest number of players on a consistent, repeat basis. Great slot games must make players both win and feel like they’re winning whilst being visually appealing and


keeping up with player trends, tastes and themes, and  feedback. A lot of our thinking, design, concepts and game functionality pulls from video gaming where even when you lose and don’t quite make it to the bonus round or free spins, the surge and feel of getting there feels good and you try again.


The games we create are largely suited to gamers or players familiar with video games and we’ve seen over the years that new players are attracted to what we’re bringing, with Yggdrasil games more suited to a new audience and next generation of real-money player.


CIO: What changes do you expect in future iGaming products directly driven by customers’ video gaming tendencies? Erik: That’s the million-dollar question! I don’t think it will be limited to influence from video gaming, more entertainment products in general. Because of this, we arrive back at the marketable argument again. iGaming products need to connect or resonate with what happens in the surrounding world to be successful. By this I don’t necessarily mean that new slots should be based on movie titles or similar, but rather that a game has a far higher chance of success if it rides on an underlying trend. Which then brings us back to player focus – who is this game made for? Annamaria: Traditional slots have long since passed the point of saturation. Tens or hundreds of content providers have been publishing reel-based games on a monthly cycle for years now, and although themes and mechanics and features vary, we know seasoned players will welcome something out of ordinary – a daring new take on a format that is quickly becoming tired. Christopher: Shorter sessions. As more players move to mobile, the length of sessions will shorten. More people are tuning into ‘Twitchers’ playing games and consuming their content in that way. In regular video gaming this often makes games more interesting and enjoyable to watch than just play and I can see that happening more often in iGaming sessions. David: We’ll see iGaming products that are associated with watching rather than playing, enlarging the potential of people interested and drawn into iGaming activities. In addition, young generations will


We still need to make sure we create gambling experiences that appeal to a wide variety of players, and that means learning from video games where we can” – GEOFF SCAPLEHORN


Gaming is central to everything we do” – MARK CLAXTON


CIO MAY 2019 85


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