Josip Vrbić, Managing Director for Seven Games
Online casino is the most competitive and, for that reason, the most evolved online gambling category in my opinion. There are so many providers trying to attract as many players as possible to their product ecosystem. Competition has skyrocketed online casino games to another level. It’s not easy to even imagine a slot game that doesn’t already exist as there are so many different visual styles, configurations, mechanics, and bonus games across the category.
Keeping in mind the hugely diverse slot game portfolios from various providers, it is not surprising to see new game branches developing in the online casino. As this category often has the highest number of visits and engagement among players, providers of casino games don’t want to miss their chance to position themselves in it. Everyone is hoping to bring a new product so that they can stand out, disturb the market and attract players into new ways of having fun. I see this as a natural stage of development.
It is not just tech. Everything around us and our lives happens at a fast-paced rhythm. People want everything as fast as they can get it. Then they move on to the next thing.
New game mechanics
At the moment, we can see the rise of new trademarked mechanics on the market. All the game providers are working hard to offer players new ways to have fun in novel, unseen ways. Games that work in a different way from any known existing games, if done right, can easily catch a player's attention. This is one of the ways to show yourself if you are not a top-notch provider. By just taking a small amount of traffic from slot games to these new games, providers can generate massive revenue in the short term while also making a good foundation for the future. One of the most popular new mechanics offers the player a greater sense of control over the game they are playing. The best example of this is the huge success of crash games.
Not only the games, but also the services built on top of the games are becoming an integral and important part of better and faster online casino experiences. The social and multiplayer aspect of the game is making even the most simple ones attractive for players. Services such as tournaments, achievements and live chats are offering a completely new experience for players; as now they can interact with other people and have something of added value to compete and play for.
Gaming inspired casino games I think new casino games are increasingly inspired by gaming. While the first online casino games were inspired by land-based casinos, the new generation (the millennials) come with an online gaming background and are understandably more willing to engage with something they are familiar with. That is why we will see more gaming-inspired fast casino games in terms of the mechanics and dynamics of playing. The providers who manage to bring the excitement of gaming and the simplicity of gambling will find their way to the top for sure.
As was the case in gambling before, with the further development of technology we will see new types of games and branches in online casinos. The rise of smartphones, which allows players to gamble anytime, has helped the development of fast-paced games. Alongside this new medium, the development of some technologies, such as WebGL, will create even more space for the creative strike of fast casino games.
We can say one thing with certainty: the online casino will continue to lead the industry through innovation, toward exciting new paths.
Josip Vrbić is a Managing Director of NSoft’s Seven Games unit. With a strong background in UX/UI Design and Product design, Vrbić firstly led a design team within the company, before gaining a new role as a casino product owner. After establishing solid foundations for further development of this product branch within NSoft, Vrbić was appointed to the position of MD of the whole Games vertical.
Araksi Sargsyan, Head of Business Development at DS Virtual Gaming
ast games can be considered as one of the youngest disciplines in the iGaming industry, and one of the most thriving nowadays due to their simplicity and brevity. Many companies have begun to develop them, since the demand for fast games is not showing signs of subsiding. In order to get a share of adrenaline from them, one does not need to have special knowledge of the games themselves. The odds are calculated before the game round starts. This guarantees that they are not manipulated or dependent on the accepted bets. Also, access to these games is simple; through both computers and tablets, as well as through mobile devices. Some operators have even started accepting bets on this product in their betting shops.
It is worth noting that the logic of fast games is somewhat different from that of the classic slots we are used to. It is true that the games are constructed on the basis of RNG, however, fast games have many additional characteristics of a sportsbook. The decisive element is that the player themself makes bets on outcomes and is thus not only dependent on luck. Giving control to players’ hands and enabling them to make their own decisions is a very attractive feature for any game. And herein lies the success behind those games. Here we can draw a parallel with a land-based or live casino, where an end user playing blackjack, baccarat or roulette chooses the positions that will allow them to win. Almost all fast game providers have a very captivating feature where you win before the round is over (Rocketon/Crash/Blast, etc.). There is a subtlety here, in that the player never knows when winning becomes impossible, and, with every fraction of a second, the odds on the bet grow, meaning an increase in potential winnings. Imagine yourself taking a win at odds of 2.5 and watching the odds go up to 200 and higher! This is a real test of endurance!
Interesting fact: the logic behind fast games makes it possible to transform absolutely any game into a fast game by adapting to the regional needs of a given operator. For example, the ancient Chinese game of Sic Bo, which appeared before the invention of paper, is ideal for the Asian market, while Brazil has been enthusiastic about Jogo do Bicho for two centuries already.
The peak of the popularity of fast games was reached in 2020, when all sporting events were suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Even with the lifting of restrictions, this discipline still has not lost its relevance, becoming an excellent offshoot of online casinos, and so available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the whole year.
We think that the industry will soon see even more from the category of fast games as well as more providers. The demand for them will not subside and, with the legalisation of the gambling industry in new markets, the number of fans will be multiplied many times over.
In 2013, Araksi Sargsyan took her first steps in the online gaming segment as a Customer Service Representative at BetConstruct. She was quickly promoted to Account Manager, where she was in charge of developing B2B projects around the world. Subsequently, she left B2B to develop a B2C project in Kazakhstan. Then she worked as Business Development Manager for Latin America at Digitain. With an active and entrepreneurial spirit, Araksi is since 2020 the Head of Business Development at DS Virtual Gaming, a leading brand in the virtual betting domain.
Vladimir Malakchi, Chief Commercial Officer at Evoplay
The majority of casino operators are in constant search of unique products to extend their game offer. Instant games meet this requirement. It makes the process of entering new markets much easier – instant games stand out against other gambling titles and draw players’ attention with their exclusiveness.
The most significant advantage of instant games over other types of online casino games is the freedom they give in developing, and therefore, reaching players and running the iGaming business. The fundamental merit of this lies in the absence of the traditional structure for gambling games – reels, lines, symbols and limitations in terms of in-game features.
In essence, it’s a free canvas that can be realised differently each time, and this is what makes instant games a good solution for game portfolio diversification. They allow for the implentation of a wide range of themes, storylines, mechanics and features, borrowing them from the experience of different verticals: from iGaming, gaming, and other verticals outside of these. And of course, this helps to differentiate the gambling experience and expand the audience of players by reaching other verticals.
Those who don’t take instant games seriously are losing an opportunity to reach a huge audience, including sports bettors and players from other gambling verticals. It is essential to mention that wagering on sports comprises 40% of all the online betting activities (data from Visual Capitalist).
The audience of instant games
The potential of instant games is so huge that it covers almost all types of digital entertainment consumers – from conservative flash game players to the young generation interested in YouTube, Twitch and video games. As data from Statista shows, 4.5 billion people are engaged in digital entertainment, and they are of profound importance for instant game developers.
Classic casino games don’t impress this audience, that is a big challenge for all now as we’re shifting to the new generation of users. Thus, a brand new type of gambling product is required. Instant games aren’t limited by mathematics, which allows them to meet the needs of a wider audience, in contrast to slots, which are narrowed by reels and rows.
The fast download on almost any device, availability of multiplayer gaming, social nature and the variety of game plots, make instant games viral. Interest in them grows organically. They have the potential to open new horizons in iGaming and become the next billion-dollar industry.
Sports bettors are already in
According to general statistics, almost 70% of sports bettors are willing to gamble. In addition, according to YPulse, 55% of 20-38-year-olds bet on sports, which shows that Millennials prefer the betting mechanics.
Bringing betting features to the football-themed instant game is a bright example of situational marketing that helps adapt gambling products to emerging demands and attract a new audience, sports bettors, to iGaming. Those companies that have analysed the market in a timely manner and created an alternative sports-themed game with the ability to place bets are still in a winning position, even though sporting events have returned. They have learned to interact with new audiences, adapt the product, what they offer to partners and players. Therefore, they are flexible in doing business, which has recently become perhaps the most important quality of business.
The last two years have demonstrated big successes in terms of satisfying the needs of sports bettors in light of the cancellation of such major sports events like Euro 2020.
The instant games sector will be actively developing in those regions where it can cover the demands of local entertainment preferences. For example, players from Romania, Serbia or Latin America, where football and wagering are highly popular, will enjoy instant games based on betting mechanics. Pachinko-themed games will
appeal to Japanese players, etc.
With such a large list of benefits, the question may arise as to why there aren't many gaming providers developing instant games. They do have vast potential. The answer here is simple: instant games are a more complex product, requiring experience, creativity, and a unique approach. To develop a high-performance instant game, it is necessary to analyse its target audience, to understand their preferences and expectations of entertainment. However, even after this, it is impossible to bet on a product’s success with full confidence. Every instant game is a test, starting from scratch.
Saying this, I have no doubt the future of instant games is bright. Of course, they won’t substitute other verticals for non-casino players, but they will definitely attract them with a more gamified playing experience and diversity of mechanics.
A start-up entrepreneur at heart, Vladimir Malakchi has successfully scaled multiple early-stage companies across the tech space, including one of the world’s top five blockchain developers. Since joining the iGaming world in 2019, Vladimir Malakchi has applied his knowledge and expertise to develop strategic plans, manage business development teams and set key marketing objectives that became key to Evoplay’s outstanding success in the past two years.