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Yggdrasil Q&A: Why companies need a culture of innovation

Stuart McCarthy, Head of Product & Program at Yggdrasil Gaming, speaks to Gambling Insider about the supplier's aims to be at the forefront of innovation.

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Stuart McCarthy, Head of Product & Program at Yggdrasil Gaming, speaks to Gambling Insider about the supplier's aims to be at the forefront of innovation.

Why is innovation valued so highly at Yggdrasil?

Put simply we, Yggdrasil, exist in a highly competitive landscape where studios large and small are vying for the attention of casino operators and ultimately players. Without the constant search to find a competitive edge in how we build games, how we conduct business or how we fashion new tools to drive player and operator engagement, our place in the market would soon be taken by hungrier and smarter providers. That is why innovation across the board is built into the Yggdrasil DNA.

How do you define innovation? What elements does it include?

Taking a great game-changing idea and executing on it in a big way. It stems from a need to challenge the status quo, an ability to recognise how things can be done better and the drive, skill and determination to execute on that idea flawlessly to maximise its value.

What do you consider your most successful innovation and why?

To date, I would say GATI (Game Adaptation Tools & Interface) is our greatest piece of innovation. We have done many great things in the 10 years that Yggdrasil has been a force in the gaming industry. Arguably our BOOST™ suite of marketing tools helped put us on the map, our iSense game framework brought us streamlined development times and ultra-fast load times allowing us to capitalise on the abilities of our creative teams and our GEMS (game engagement mechanics) such as GIGABLOX™, MULTIMAX™ and DOUBLEMAX™ continue to drive superb game performance; but I think ultimately GATI is the innovation that will define the future of Yggdrasil.

GATI is a complete reimagining of how casino slot games are built and distributed, and is the centrepiece of how Yggdrasil games and those from the Yggdrasil Masters program are commercialised. It was designed to challenge the notion that as a game studio, before you even think about building games you had to build (or buy) and maintain an RGS, locate that RGS in multiple jurisdictions and constantly refine and adapt that solution to meet every new challenge posed by market regulation... and then you had to strike deals with operators and integrate.

Without the constant search to find a competitive edge in how we build games, how we conduct business or how we fashion new tools to drive player and operator engagement, our place in the market would soon be taken by hungrier and smarter providers Stuart McCarthy, Yggdrasil

GATI allows multiple studios developing in diverse technologies, and in locations across the world, to securely build games into a single unified platform, with a complete suite of automated development, testing and marketing tools that ensures a game is regulation-ready in every market you could wish to deliver to. It takes all the heavy lifting away from games studios and allows them to focus on what they do best, building great games. We have launched over 150 games through GATI, both Yggdrasil and Masters since we first brought it into play in 2020. It has redefined how we do business, and has enabled us to scale and commercialise our operations to a place that was unimaginable four years ago when I joined.

How do you fuel innovation within the organisation?

Innovation is fuelled by openness to ideas and dialogue within the organisation. It’s also a lot about momentum and establishing a cadence of delivery of excellence, and the celebration of success within the team. If you are a company that thrives off a culture of innovation and the successful commercialisation of ideas, then you are well placed to continue succeeding.

Does innovation just emerge or is it a planned process?

It is very much a planned process. Ideas can just emerge for sure, but ideas without commercial execution are not innovation. Time must be made to gather and assess ideas, challenge them and hone them into something of clear value that can be planned, delivered and commercialised.

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