Tony Plaskow of Black Cow: Making Mooves In The Multiplayer Gaming Space

The idea of multiplayer games has been around for some time. But the technology required to produce them is very complex and has presented serious challenges for companies to overcome, writes Lauren Harrison.

Several have accepted the challenge, with BeyondPlay, for example, recently hitting the headlines after being acquired by Flutter’s FanDuel.

Another company making mooves in the space–forgive the pun–is Black Cow Technology, whose Multiplayer RGS is currently the only transactional multiplayer server in the marketplace.

While these two companies have different approaches to multiplayer games, they share one commonality: Tony Plaskow.

Tony was the Founding Director and Advisor to BeyondPlay and is the Commercial Director at Black Cow. He has been in the iGaming business for over a quarter of a century.

Curtis Roach, iGF Head of Content, caught up with Tony to learn more about multiplayer servers and ask the pathfinder how multiplayer content is set to revolutionise our industry.

There’s been a lot of noise recently around multiplayer games. Why have they become such a hot topic of conversation?

“Multiplayer games are starting to appear in different forms in the iGaming space.

“They present significant technical challenges that companies have been working hard to solve.

“Companies are taking different approaches to overcoming these challenges, and there are some really exciting products coming to market, including Black Cow’s Multiplayer Remote Gaming Server, which gives operators and suppliers a robust software platform with which to create a truly ‘multiplayer’ experience including community bonus rounds, tournaments and jackpots.

“The excitement around multiplayer games has grown in recent weeks following FanDuel’s acquisition of BeyondPlay – although Beyond-Play’s approach is diametrically different from Black Cow’s approach as the Beyond-Play product is based around a pooled stake concept, whereas Black Cow’s technology allows multiple players to play the very same game at the same time.

“That this technology is now available to operators and suppliers after years of development, testing and refining is why multiplayer games have become a hot topic of conversation.”

You were a Founder Director and Advisor to BeyondPlay and have been a key figure in Black Cow developing its Multiplayer RGS. In your opinion, why do multiplayer games present such a big opportunity?

“Outside of iGaming, players and entertainment consumers have started to prefer entertainment experiences that are social and interactive. They want to play online with their friends and in teams to have a shared experience.

“For gambling, that means replicating the way players play in real-world casinos, which includes being side-by-side on a Blackjack table, or sharing a roulette spin or craps roll with even more players, at the same time, on electronic table games. The online casino space has been far behind the curve in this regard, but multiplayer games will offer the social interaction that players are seeking.

“Multiplayer games–regardless of the format they take–allow players to interact and enjoy their favourite games with others, and this will absolutely help operators engage wider player audiences, especially Millennials and Gen Z-ers. I think it won’t be long before multiplayer games are a category in their own right.

“If you look beyond our industry, to the worlds of mobile and video games, for instance, it’s multiplayer games such as Fortnite and Roblox that dominate. Operators and suppliers have long been searching for similar community-driven games and experiences. And multiplayer casino games are the answer.”

Tell us more about Black Cow’s Multiplayer RGS, and how it works. What makes it different from other multiplayer products in the market?

“Black Cow’s solution is the only transactional multiplayer server in the market right now, meaning we enable multiple players to play the same game in real time whether the same deck of cards, the same slot, or just in the same room. And it’s available today! It can support any game type and provides a robust foundation for easily adding features and functionality, such as community jackpots, community bonus rounds, and tournaments.

“Operators and suppliers can use our technology to create unique multiplayer content which will create strong player loyalty and brand awareness alongside a much more enjoyable and engaging experience all round.

“The multiplayer slots we are developing in collaboration with Pixiu Gaming, PlayJeux Studios, and Light and Wonder, for example, will see pods of players, each playing their own base game, but once one of the players in the pod triggers the bonus round, everyone goes in and plays together.

“With Raging Rhino Multiplayer Wonderverse–the first title to launch later this summer–we are bringing a brand new gaming experience to players.

“Right now, there are players who are bored of the single-player offering they currently have. They will love shared experiences and a strong sense of community around the game, as players play and win together.

“Games can be hooked up to a wide range of bonuses, including community jackpots, allowing operators to tap into the high demand for jackpot content. Operators can launch branded multiplayer games, while studios can create new titles or revitalise existing titles as multiplayer games.

“In terms of what makes Black Cow’s Multiplayer RGS different, it is the only transactional multiplayer server in the market and the only one that is actually ready for operators and suppliers to use.”

From a technical perspective, what makes multiplayer games so challenging?

“Multiplayer games are a simple concept that require tremendous technical capabilities to pull off.

“We have invested a huge amount of money and time, over four-years so far, into creating a powerful and flexible technology suite that can be used to develop any type of multiplayer game.

“The MultiPlayer RGS provides a robust developmental foundation that is flexible and powerful.

“Then, of course, there are also compliance considerations. This is why it’s taken so long for technology companies to develop multiplayer servers and why there is so much excitement now that they are coming to market for the first time.”

Have you seen significant interest in your Multiplayer RGS?

“We have. In fact, we are already working with some of the biggest providers in the industry, supporting them in using our Multiplayer RGS to bring their first multiplayer games to market.

“As already mentioned, our first title, Raging Rhino Multiplayer Wonderverse, will launch in late summer, with two more huge Light and Wonder brands going live by the end of the year. These are existing player-favourite titles we have improved by adding interactive and fun multiplayer bonus rounds.

“This is a really strong approach to introducing multiplayer games, as it allows players to familiarise themselves with the format through a game they know well.

“And this is just the start of what can be achieved with multiplayer games. At Black Cow, we will keep pioneering the technology required to deliver these highly entertaining, social experiences to players.”

Editor’s Note:

Multiplayer games are becoming increasingly popular in iGaming, attracting the attention of Millennials and Gen-Z players as well as on-trend gamers and those players seeking social and interactive gambling experiences.

Creating such games presents significant technological challenges, which explains why bringing a credible and comprehensive product to market has taken time.

But Black Cow’s multiplayer RGS solution is now ready to roll. It’s a game-changer and allows operators and developers to create and adapt games for multiplayer use easily.

Uniquely, it means players can compete for pooled prizes and simultaneously play the same hand, round, or spin as others in real time, enhancing the iCasino experience.

Tony believes that Multiplayer games are set to disrupt the industry, signalling a “new era” of gaming.

How big will they get?

You won’t have to wait long to find out, as Black Cow’s first adaptation, Raging Rhino Multiplayer Wonderverse, will go live in the summer, with more titles to follow.

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