The iGaming industry is constantly changing and evolving.
The challenges presented by modern times have reshaped and, at the same time, revolutionized the market. To get a better understanding of what is going on in the European iGaming world, GBC Time has interviewed Ivan Kravchuk, CEO of the leading slot development studio – Evoplay.
What is happening in the online slot development market of Europe right now? Have the recent economic changes affected the iGaming software development niche?
Changes constantly and naturally happen throughout the world, not only in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine – all of this has left an imprint on diverse verticals, including the economy and, as a result, our industry.
The pandemic revolutionized the industry in many ways, shifting land-based players to online, which gave operators a considerable revenue and growth boost. It’s also quite interesting to see how the offline sector gradually reverts to its initial standing, now that the pandemic is over.
Meanwhile, Ukraine had established itself as one of the more prominent development centers in iGaming, with the war now forcing developers to adjust their product releases. However, what we clearly can see is that the industry did a fantastic job of staying afloat and has exhibited extraordinary resilience.
Evoplay has recently expanded its European presence by signing a Romanian casino partnership and launching in the Italian market. What other markets are you planning to enter in the near future?
Evoplay focuses not only on unlocking new regions but also developing in markets where we are already entertaining legions of players. Following our green light to supply our products in Italy and MGA-regulated markets, we will significantly reinforce our presence in these regions too.
At the same time, a great deal of our strategy is expanding across the globe and giving more players the chance to play our innovative products. We keep our eyes open to all markets, their development process, and trends. For this year, we have identified Switzerland and Portugal as areas of potential.
How does slot development in Europe differ from the other regions? What are the biggest perks and drawbacks of being a slot provider in the European iGaming niche?
Although I would label the European audience a conservative one, the new generations’ increasing interest in iGaming has urged developers to change their perspective. New audiences have incredibly diverse demands – there is not an all-in-one solution for them. Gambling products have no other way but to evolve in order to meet the preferences of modern players.
As Europe encompasses many countries, our task as a game supplier is to keep our finger on the pulse and learn what is happening across jurisdictions. From a commercial perspective, it is essential to keep up to date with changes, as our delivery and integration of our products depend on regulatory aspects, especially in terms of gaming mechanics.
What about regulations and compliance? Evoplay has recently obtained an MGA Recognition Letter, from one of the most reputable regulators in the world. In your opinion, how will it affect the company’s growth strategy?
Getting our much-coveted MGA Recognition Letter is an important milestone for us as a provider, this is something we’ve really been looking forward to. The MGA market is time-honored and well-established, and we have already experienced its privileges, and we cannot wait to begin entertaining players.
Additionally, the accreditation opens plenty of opportunities for partnerships and introduces our portfolio to more countries. What helps is the fact that we already boast our partnerships with industry leaders such as Oryx Gaming and Soft2Bet.
From your perspective, what are the key trends in slot development right now?
To reach a wider audience, developers must prioritize gamification and innovation in all aspects. Evoplay is steadily focused on covering various types of audiences, and our team is driven by this approach while creating new products.
Our latest release, Goblin Run, is another successful experiment inspired by modern players, and we are glad to say that it is already reporting incredible figures. We took a well-known crash mechanic and implemented it in a brand-new way. Thus, a mere “line going u” pattern was broken, instead, we got a captivating plot and features that attract a wide range of players.
According to EGBA’s research, in 2021, half (50.5%) of all online bets were placed on mobile devices. Did you see this trend affecting your development strategy? If yes, how?
Mobile-first approach is one of the key aspects of our ideology. We established this in 2020 when our research and analysis confirmed that players choose mobile as a platform when seeking online entertainment. As a result, our data now demonstrate that 75% of our players place bets on mobile devices.
That is why mobile-focused development is our main priority and at the core of our development strategy. When working on upcoming releases, we thoroughly explore and examine the mobile gaming market, allowing us to see the latest trends and apply them to our products. With all this in mind, it is quite clear that a mobile-first approach is a must-have for developers that aim to establish themselves as top-tier.
How do you see the slot market developing in the next few years? What technology is going to influence slots the most?
Resting on the fact that younger generations and modern audiences seek innovation and cutting-edge solutions, technologies such as VR and AR will take the spotlight. Operators are interested in covering new audiences, and the content with VR/AR elements is one of the best ways to draw their attention. State-of-the-art technologies have always been within our scope of interest: we have tested VR in our 3D slot Necromancer and actively implement AR in Evoplay’s marketing materials.
The metaverse is another concept that has every chance to bring a fresh experience to iGaming, if it is implemented in the correct way, it could potentially revolutionize the online casino sector.
What are Evoplay’s plans for the rest of 2022 and 2023?
We never stop working on entering more markets and expanding our game portfolio with new gamification-packed titles. Meanwhile, we dedicate our attention, time, and effort to growing our offering to our network of partners, providing them with a range of activities, as well as B2B and B2C offers to increase their business metrics. Our main task is not only to develop superb products but help our partners use them effectively.
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