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Vanilla content will always be second best – argues Reflex CPO

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Ahead of ICE London 2019, Mat Ingram, CPO of independent developer, Reflex Gaming, explains why the commoditisation of content is a race to the bottom

Looking back on 2018 what have been the highlights and the key achievements in the online space for the Reflex brand?

2018 was a year characterised by strategic and steady expansion for Reflex in the online sector. We went live with five new top tier operators as well as numerous smaller operators courtesy of our existing distribution partnerships which continue to do well for us. We have adhered to our “quality over quantity” philosophy, resulting in six new game titles over the course of the year, all but one emanating from our market-leading portfolio of land-based content. We have forged new commercial relationships, worked with new development partners, and continued to learn a lot.  There’s no doubt that 2018 was an important and successful year.

How would you describe the main challenges for the online sector – is it facing a case of over supply?  Is there a danger of quantity subsuming quality when it comes to games content and what can be done about it?

For me, the sector is surprisingly slow-moving given its entirely-digital nature, but this is a symptom of the complex distribution routes that are now so prevalent, along with the hugely busy supply chain. Many planets have to align technically and strategically for a relatively simple event to occur, such as a game release. Compare this to our server-managed land-based machines, where I can develop a game in half the time and release it overnight to thousands of machines, but of course in this case I am in complete control of the tech stack and the content strategy, which helps enormously! The over-supply of what I would describe as vanilla, ‘global’ content has turned the previous art of game creation into a production line building commodity ‘widgets’ whose value to the supplier is measured in how low they can get their costs. This must, in turn, reduce quality, however this is not always immediately apparent. There are so many games being released that without any promotional activity (that the bigger suppliers can fund), one game performs much the same as another, thus perpetuating their commodity status. As such, I believe there is an increasing requirement for specialised, ‘hyper-local’ content – by which I refer to games that have been specifically created by suppliers with local expertise and experience for local players. As suppliers, we often have to modify our games anyway to suit local regulations and language, so there is already an existing idea that games must be localised, but I believe that it is also better for the user if the games with which they are presented are those that have been crafted for them rather than the one-size-fits-all approach that is often used. Reflex have some of the most successful games in the land-based markets in which we compete and we should leverage these with partners who have expertise in distributing hyper-local content.

Has your thinking on omni-channel gaming changed since ICE 2018 and if so where do you stand now?

No, my opinion hasn’t really changed on this. It may be sometimes difficult to quantify the benefits or produce empirical evidence of them, but intuitively I feel that it has to be better UX for a player to be able to move from one channel to another and play the content they know and enjoy on platforms that support a seamless transition from one place to another. Surely, if the player has a better experience whilst doing this, they are more likely to stay loyal to the retailer / operator and indeed the games? It just seems to make sense to me. This is why Reflex are talking to a number of operators who have both a land-based and an online presence about how we can work together to provide UK-specific, omni-channel games, and we are one of only a few suppliers who can do this.

How will Reflex be using ICE London 2019 and what does success look like?

We will be using ICE to showcase our diverse land-based and online product ranges. It’s one of the few opportunities we have to put everything together in the same space, and our omni-channel credibility becomes really apparent when you see it all together. The range includes UK and Dutch land-based machines of many styles and categories, through to purely online and mobile content, with the same design ethos running across all channels. The star of our land-base range is the GamePro cabinet which will this year include the new GamePro Max, a sit-down lounge-style machine. Our view is that whatever a player experiences in a land-based environment, they should be able to experience on their desktop or mobile within the confines of the devices. A successful exhibition for Reflex is mostly not about the number of contracts or deals we sign, as most of the hard work has been done on these prior to the show, but rather it is about how many new people we meet and new opportunities present themselves, and judging by the number of meeting requests we have already had, we should be in for a busy few days!

As an exhibitor do you get the opportunity to spend time walking the aisles at ExCeL and taking stock of the industry and the direction its travelling in – how important is it to do this?

I think this is hugely important, although being honest, I don’t get as much time to do it as I would like, as I am generally busy on the stand. However, I have a great team who come to the show and who act as my eyes and ears on market trends and important product innovations.  I wouldn’t say it’s a military style operation but we have regular catch-ups whilst the exhibition is in progress and they take me to see the things and meet the people that have caught their eye. I am a firm believer that Reflex should stand independently with respect to innovation and not succumb to parodying the ideas of others, but that said, it is important to know and understand what other market sector participants are doing and why.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Vanilla content will always be second best – argues Reflex CPO

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Criticism mount against casinos in Goa

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Casinos in Goa, India, continue to attract criticism. An organisation called Aam Aurat Admi Against Gambling (AAAAG), which means the organisation of common men and women against gambling, has asked the government to shut down all offshore gambling companies in the state.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party government had promised that the casinos would be removed from the Mandovi,” said Sabina Martins, the convenor of the organisation opposing gambling. “[late] Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had categorically stated that within four years of his tenure, the casinos would be phased out. Instead of phasing them out, the term of the existing casinos has been extended by another six months.”

AAAAG main objection is against the new Big Daddy casino, which was added after the government’s assertion.

“Amendments and regulations are made to favour casinos,” co-convenor of AAAAG, Anand Madgaoncar said. “While the world over, regulations govern casinos on the percentage of money to be given back to players, in Goa the casinos are having a field day looting them as no such regulations are implemented. There are no accountability mechanisms to check whether those employed are free from exploitation and addiction.”

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Criticism mount against casinos in Goa

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Red Tiger slots go live with PokerStars in Italy

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Slots from Red Tiger, the award-winning casino game and software developer based in Malta, have gone live on PokerStars in Italy.

A number of slot titles will be introduced in the coming weeks beginning with hits Mystery Reels and Arcade Bomb.

The launch follows a similar country-specific deal with PokerStars in Denmark, with Sweden and Spain on the way.

Gavin Hamilton, CEO of Red Tiger, said: “We’re very pleased to be working with PokerStars, which is one of the biggest and most-admired brands in gaming.

We’re also pleased to be entering Italy for the first time, continuing our ambition to be the top supplier in every regulated market.”

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Red Tiger slots go live with PokerStars in Italy

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Tom Horn strengthens its position in Lithuania with Betsafe.lt

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Tom Horn Gaming, a Malta-based igaming software supplier, has announced its content is now available to players in Lithuania on Betsafe.lt, one of many brands owned by the leading Swedish online gaming company Betsson Group.

Betsafe.lt belongs among the most trusted online casinos, offering the best-in-class gaming content to players in Lithuania. The operator will gradually gain access to Tom Horn’s award-winning content, including its blockbusters such as Hot Blizzard, 243 Crystal Fruits, and Book of Spells.

Tom Horn Gaming was the first online casino supplier to enter the Lithuanian market. The partnership is in line with the supplier’s long-term strategy to further expand its footprint in the Baltic regulated markets, building on the popularity of its titles among players and trust and recognition it has earned among the operators and regulators in the region.

Ondrej LapidesCEO at Tom Horn Gaming said: ‘This is further evidence that our content is in high demand among players in Lithuania and we’re delighted to have joined forces with such an acclaimed brand like Betsafe.lt. I believe that with this latest partnership we will further grow our presence in the Baltics.’

Kaido UlejevManaging Director Baltics at Betsson Group added: ‘Tom Horn Gaming is a modern-thinking company that has built a reputation for developing beautifully designed games, that are packed full of intriguing features, complex math and mechanics that players love. The company has a well-established presence in Lithuania and we know that our casino offering, featuring Tom Horn games, is strongly positioned among players in the market.’

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Tom Horn strengthens its position in Lithuania with Betsafe.lt

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