Swedish slots and table games specialist Play'n Go was one of the first online slot providers to offer bespoke content for its operating partners. The deal was made back in 2012 and in a recent interview, the company has exposed their intentions to develop a bespoke gaming offering that provides one-of-a-kind gaming experiences to players. In a recent interview made with TotallyGaming.com, the business development director of the company Robert Skogh has divulged plans of what the development would bring to the industry. Plus, he discussed how bespoke content will become a major fighting ground between online casinos in the near future.
What Is Bespoke Gaming?
There are probably a few of our readers out there who have never heard of this lucrative concept. Well… sort of lucrative. Basically the idea behind bespoke gaming is specially-made games to fit a particular clients request. Kind of like tailored clothing.
Commenting on the company's history with specialised game, Robert Skogh said: “Our first exclusive game was a multi-line five-reel slot based on the Finnish crime fiction TV-series ‘Vares’ for the casino Kolikkopelit. We were soon creating bespoke games for bigger operators like Unibet and the Betsson. I think it’s fair to say that our bespoke game concept, which we initiated in 2012, was pretty pioneering at the time and exclusive content has now become one of our USPs.”
He then went on to say how Play ‘N Go have developed up to since that time and how this particular market has grown. But how do they know what the deliver to their clients? According to Skogh, they sit down with the customer and run through the game's concept, themes, graphics, music and the boring parts like the maths model. Once that is out of the way, they draw up a plan to meet in a certain timeframe. In most cases, the gaming maths models are the same but sometimes Play ‘N Go think outside the box and come up with a new one.
“Between us we can decide on which games have been particularly successful […] and cherry pick the best elements of all of them to produce a great new game. The deal has to reflect an operator getting a game exclusively, and normally we agree on special terms to give the operator exclusive rights for a year.”
The Power of Unique Content
One of Robert Skogh's main points as to the strength of bespoke content is the speed and ease with which it can be produced. He gave the general timeline as: “typically, production of a high-quality premium game takes around six months between the drawing board and going live, so it is a pretty speedy process considering the standard of the games that we deliver.”
We've seen this before, with other companies also producing bespoke content. NetEnt has an exclusive slot at Leo Vegas called Vegas Party. Interestingly, the slot is a re-skinned version of Twin Spin, which is a widely accessible slot that they also made.
However, by producing bespoke content for online casinos, casinos can benefit by offering special bonuses and rewards on their own slots, without the need to ask permission from the slot provider. Leo Vegas have shown this by giving free spins away on Vegas Party, something which they would be unable to do so easily on Twin Spins, even though they are by the same company and function the same.
“You can go to the sites of operators around the world and see the same games from the same big suppliers on practically all of them.” Rober Skough added that the clear benefit to combat this effect was “that they (casinos) have a game all to themselves from a studio like ours, which has a track-record of producing successful and much-loved titles.”
How Will This Affect iGambling?
Talking about how this will help online operators develop more of a profit, Play ‘N Go also commented that the exclusivity of the game will belong solely to that one operator and that operator alone. Sometimes players may get bored of the same games that you find everywhere else. By having unique games under their name, customers would have more reason to remain or go towards particular online casinos.
“Bespoke games are theirs and theirs alone, for a time at least, and can only be played on their site. As a result, they get behind promoting them as they are unique and cannot be played elsewhere. That helps their profits and ours.” Skorg also added: “To use a retail metaphor, I think people will always want to shop in supermarket for a lot of their food. But from time to time it’s nice to get something a bit special in the delicatessen!
With all the mega-mergers happening at the moment, it's easy to imagine that they will be many more bespoke games in the future. Play ‘N Go confirmed this as, when company's merge, there will be a focus on the ‘centralisation of content.'
“As well as attracting new players, those operators will want to hold on to their existing ones. Offering exciting new bespoke games is one way of keeping them interested,” said Skorgh.” As more and more markets open up there is going to be more and more demand for site-specific games.”
Weapon of The Mega-Mergers
We've spoken of the mega mergers here before, particularly in the wake of the most recent merger between Paddy Power and Betfair, which created the casino monster Paddy Power Betfair. Bwin Party and GVC Holdings have also recently agreed a merger, laying the way for mega-mergers like these to become the norm in the industry, in a bid to stay competitive.
But these mega-mergers bring other problems when it comes to online casinos standing out, the biggest of which being the “increasing centralisation of content.” Skough identified the biggest challenge to these mega casinos being that “as well as attracting new players, those operators will want to hold on to their existing ones. Offering exciting new bespoke games is one way of keeping them interested. As more and more markets open up there is going to be more and more demand for site-specific games.”