For online slots players, the level of game choice available is almost infinite, with dozens of new titles being released on the market every month.
As a result, operators are faced with the continual challenge of differentiating themselves from the crowd, grabbing the attention of punters and finding new ways to keep it.
To gain a better understanding on what makes a successful slot and how operators can continue to attract and engage slots players well into the future, we caught up with Vsevolod Lapin, COO for market leading game developer, Playson. During this interview he shares his thoughts on how to leverage content to give the best customer experience and ultimately, facilitate slots operators’ ability to maximise their player lifetime values.
The rise of online casino means that the market has become almost saturated with different game choices for the player. How does Playson ensure that its games stand out from the crowd in regard to quality and provide a market-leading gaming experience?
“We stay ahead of the curve by setting a very high bar for production quality. We spend a lot of time on the last 5% of each game, polishing the small details to set us apart from other studios. This not only relates to the visuals, but to the math behind them and ensuring it is simple enough to feel intuitive to players. Of course, though the gameplay is easy to understand, there lies a lot of complex work underneath.
“We are always striving to improve the back end and ensure the spin time is as short as possible, making the game run smoothly and responsively. This is particularly important on mobile devices. Our strategy is to be inspired by the classic land-based technology, while polishing the game so it is seamless to play on digital devices.”
Customer loyalty levels are at an all-time low, due to the level of choice available in the market. How can Playson products help operators to reduce churn levels and maximise player lifetime value?
“A key priority and focus for us is our promotional tools portfolio which frame us not only as a game provider, but as a service and experience provider. Our promo tools such as Short Races, Cash Blast and Tournaments help increase the reason for players to stay on our games and motivate them to stay beyond the usual span of the average play session. Short Races, the latest addition to our suite of promo tools, currently has a return rate of 77%.
“The compound effect on the player numbers is significant. Cash Blast is our random prize payout tool which is quite entertaining as a gamification feature. It gives players a reason to come back and does not affect the RTP. The concern that wins will be less frequent or easy to get with promo tools is not true – it stays the same.
“By the end of year, we will have released more interesting promo tools too. We try to curate an experience where players want to get to the top of the leaderboard. The cohort of Short Races isn’t that big so players can clearly see what they need to do to win.”
Is there enough innovation in the slots sector currently? What do you see as the next biggest trend in the market?
“I think you have to be careful not to over-engineer things and to keep them simple on the surface, even if there is a lot of work going on in the background. From a game design perspective, one of the trends is that more and more games have modifiers for the bonus game. The bonus game is the same and there are a lot of variables that can influence how it plays out. However, it isn’t about increasing the number of bonus games. It’s about streamlining while adding some variety.
“It all comes down to accelerating the content delivery speed so the times will get shorter. The hardware improvements will enhance the player experience and there are sessional latency trends that a lot of providers are working on to make games more responsive.
“I think generative AI will also play an increasing part in the production process. Hopefully, it won’t become the conveyor of low, mediocre games but empower really brilliant teams to create better content quicker.”
New iGaming markets are opening up continuously, across the globe. Are there any regions in particular that you’re most excited about and why?
“For Playson, our number one focus is Europe because it’s our home ground and there’s still a lot of market share to win.
“That being said, we are quite excited about Ontario in Canada. We were one of the first to get a licence in the province, so we are excited to be part of that story. We look forward to seeing its potential.
“South Africa is interesting because some time ago we were certified and went live with our first customer there, Kiron Interactive. It’s very exciting geographically with growth potential across multiple countries.
“There is a lot of talk about South America’s growth opportunities and we are monitoring this closely in order to expand our presence in the region. There’s potential for further regulation of this market, but overall it is more volatile compared to others.
“Our expectations are a balance of improving the quality of our offering in existing markets such as Europe and working on quantity. We are live in more than 23 jurisdictions and that’s a lot for us. We’re covering a lot of ground so adding something new to that has to be within the geographic where we have a lot of growth potential.”
After speaking with Vsevolod, it’s clear that despite the highly competitive market conditions within the online slots sector there are still amazing opportunities for growth geographically and through new products.
Key regions such as South Africa and South America provide exciting avenues to expansion, with plenty of eager players ready to enjoy the experience of market-leading and localised games developed by companies such as Playson.
Vsevolod also believes that although there may be plenty of innovative ideas emerging in the market, we must be careful, as an industry, not to over-engineer the products. Playson put the majority of their focus on developing products that accelerate the content delivery speed, reduce latency for better responsiveness and most importantly, enhance the player experience.