Offered the chance of an exclusive interview with Vienna-based Greentube’s Chief Financial and Games Officer, G3 leapt at the opportunity to pick the brains of Michael Bauer ahead of the industry meet ‘n’ greet calendar event that is SiGMA
Could you explain the process in which Greentube curates its games offer?
Greentube collaborates with various development studios inside and outside the NOVOMATIC Group. We have in-house content production and based on the strength of these development studios, we try to create a diverse games offer that addresses a large group of players and ensures our offer is as interesting as possible for online operators. And it is always a mix between land-based proved titles and online first titles.
Greentube only supplies to regulated markets. Our focus is still Europe at the moment and we are looking at expanding into the Americas by entering Colombia most probably this year. The process in Colombia, for example, is that we will start with a predominately land-based portfolio, content that is already performing well in the market, and then add a selection of our best online titles. Once we see emerging trends, we can continue to produce in that direction and if there is some new content rolled out in the land-based area, we also try to develop it for online.
When you select a game from the Novomatic portfolio for release online, what are the timescales involved and what processes does the game undertake within Greentube before release?
If the game is already fully developed for land-based, we first contact the studio that has produced the game. Some of those studios are also actively producing these games on the Greentube SDK – meaning for our online channels.
We can also produce that game in-house. Based on the complexity of the game, this will take a few months up to half a year until the game is finished. From that point it goes into our QA and we start developing the marketing material. Once QA is finished, we’ll go into the licensing process to get the product licensed for the different markets. Afterwards, once the definite go-live date has been defined, the game lands in our release roadmap and is available for our B2B partners.
What are the most difficult elements to translate from a land-based to online game?
Land-based versions have more screens, bigger sizes, some of the games even have additional elements like vibrating chairs and other equipment, and it’s obviously difficult to replicate all of that experience online. We try to replicate the land-based game at its best and to make the optimal product for online. We try to be as close as possible from a graphics perspective, while the math and game mechanics are replicated.
Games are becoming increasingly narrow-casted, in that they are created to appeal to a very defined player, as opposed to a more general player-type. Is this good for the industry in the long-term and does this limit the appeal/lifespan of games?
We have always focused on different player groups in the development of our games, but we also develop market-specific titles. For us, the Spanish player is different from a UK player, from a Nordic player or a Romanian player. All of these markets even in Europe have different tastes and we try to accommodate each of them.
Who do you create games for – the operator/customer – or the end user, the player? How difficult is it to satisfy both and are the objectives different or the same?
We create games for the player because if the players like the game, it’s the operators who will benefit anyway. We are trying to select, together with the operator, the games from our portfolio that best fit their player group.
Some of the bigger operators have a unified marketing strategy, one that they ideally launch in as many markets as possible. In that case, a game that is developed for a specific market might not be as appealing to a player in another market, so we work with operators to ensure the game selection is more local.
How do you create distinctive long-lasting games brands in a space that is churning through titles so quickly?
There is no magic recipe on how to create games that are long-lasting and will be a definite success. We are building on our long-standing experience as a producer of a few of the most successful titles to create an experience that gives the game a chance to being a success.
How do you ensure your games jockey for position amongst endless menus of games?
Our sales team has good relationships with the operators to make sure they are supplied with the games that best fit their player groups. Based on the success of previous releases, we try to get better positions with the clients. Ultimately, the success of the customer is beneficial for us and we work extremely hard to do what’s best for them.
Is online games development becoming a ‘fast churn,’ with too many titles being launched without focus, balance or longevity?
The number of game developers in the market is extremely high at the moment and we expect further consolidation in that market – based on price and regulatory pressures. And this will give quality producers room to develop new games.
What can you tell us about the games you are working upon right now and about your forthcoming release schedule?
We are focusing on developing games for new regulated markets that will open in the near future, such as Switzerland, the Netherlands and certain jurisdictions in the Americas. This again strengthens our message that we are only active in regulated markets.