Alex Lorimer, Gaming Corps’ Chief Operating Officer, discusses the growth of newer online casino products such as crash and mine games, and what will be required to make headway in this increasingly competitive area of the market.
The iGaming industry has reached a point where the market is so competitive that it is difficult for any new supplier to make an impact in the market. Every time you blink, another studio pops up on one of the RGS solutions and the level of saturation increases beyond what is already a level far too high for most new studios to make waves.
With this in mind, we have altered our focus in recent times towards products like crash and mine games. Getting a foot in the door is the hardest part and for us, the motto has always been ‘variety is the spice of life’.
It was clear to us there was a saturation of slot content in the market and a lack of sustainability in traditional slots. Don’t get me wrong, if you have the customers, games and the brand identity, slots are a no brainer, but we had to find a point of differentiation as yet another supplier in what becomes a bigger pool of suppliers every day.
We have slowly seen the arcade sections becoming saturated too, so to make sure we future-proofed ourselves from becoming lost among the crowd, we built our products with a key focus on customer branding and localisation.
I’ve certainly seen a large shift in viewpoints from two years ago when we released our first products like these, even though at that time a lot of operators said they didn’t need them. Now, the consensus is these games are an essential part of portfolios, and if you haven’t been pushing them, you’re probably already late to the party.
For the most part, it is a younger demographic that tend to play these games and they are popular in markets where gambling wasn’t previously so prevalent or accessible. The advances in wireless mobile connections have really opened up the market to a vast number of people who were not previously able to engage.
It’s not just the younger generation playing these games though; many of these games bring a sense of nostalgia with them that appeals to an older generation and the average bet values for these games in a lot of markets are generally far higher than they are with traditional games.
Starting from scratch
To a large extent, we had an opportunity to start from scratch with the technology. I hear from so many of the bigger, older companies about how painful it can be when their systems are so outdated, but it’s too big to just start again, so the solution is to just keep tagging on fixes.
Our focus however, has been to create smart engines for each of our products where once they exist, minimal work is required to then create an alternative game within that product line. The desire is to continue to grow the team and our output, but compared to two years ago, we’ve almost reduced the resources required by 50 per cent per game, so this is something that can improve over time.
Experiences are key
Going forward, I would say the focus will be on how to create that x-factor product, and also how to offer first-to-market experiences to players. It’s about consistency, being in front of the player and making sure that when they do eventually try a game, the experience is captivating enough that they will come back for all future releases.
This is how you build a player base before increasing your traditional content like slots. Once we have the player base, I believe we will increase the frequency there as most others do, but it is key to do this at a pace that will never sacrifice quality. I hear a lot of feedback from operators and players that certain studios have ramped up too fast and subsequently their games have lost quality and damaged their reputations, so it’s a fine line.
Taking market share
Each time I go to a trade show now, I see 10 more studios that have built a crash or mines product. They are relatively easy to build, and you can keep your costs low and ride the wave with just a couple of games. However, given how far ahead the biggest players in the market are, I struggle to see how companies will take enough market share with this mindset. They will have to do something very different and really find the angle that entices players to their game.
There is no doubt you have to think outside the box now. The market is too saturated already; especially with crash games. You can’t push your community to 20 different games or the herd loses its strength. I believe non-traditional games will continue to take more market share in the coming years, but if you want to be at the forefront of that, you need to be coming up with something original and the idea has to be driven by data and a feedback loop from people playing the games. I also believe the multiplayer element will continue to grow and people need to be ambitious with how they tap into that.
If I was to advise any supplier entering the non-traditional online casino games market, I would say make sure you build on the best possible foundations. Automation, scalability and modularisation are my key words of 2023. We are still a very young company, but we’ve achieved a lot in a short space of time thanks to a lot of hard work by some incredibly talented people, and that is something that would be integral for any new supplier coming into the market at any time.