In the second episode of SlotBeats Spotlight investigations, we quizzed our experts on the growing impact streamers currently have on slot development and if games are being influenced to how they may appear on the streaming channel.
To what extent would you say streamers are having a growing impact on the development of slot games? Are games being influenced outright to how they might be presented on a streaming channel?
Will Barnes, Hideous Slots: We’ve already seen some active collaborations between Casino Grounds and Relax Gaming, and Big Time Gaming have been very involved in the streaming scene since its inception.
We are seeing some providers move towards massive volatility and with that comes an assurance that those top end hits will feature in videos and streams. As creators, we need to be careful to present those volatile games responsibly, as they will often have long periods of disappointing returns to accommodate the big wins. We need to let people know that slots come in all these different flavours – I feel it’s our job to describe them well.
Pawel Piotrowski, Yggdrasil: We’re constantly watching Twitch, seeing what the players react to, what type of games that are relevant to them and spotting early trends to apply them into our own game design.
While we don’t shift our development focus exclusively to the streaming community, we always have them in mind and think about whether a new game we are designing will appeal to them and how we can further strengthen the appeal. Any feedback coming from the stream, especially a harsh one, is great for improving our future games and making them more successful.
Fraser Linkleter, Slots Temple: It’s possible that game development will trend towards the big win moments, moments that are entertaining and life-changing. There are certainly more high volatility games around than they used to be and this could be because game developers want those big multiplier wins in their games.
I’ve not heard of game developers actively changing the way games look to cater to streaming channels.
Yes, the best game developers want to make their games as interesting, entertaining and exciting as possible, but generally they are thinking about the user experience first rather than the streaming experience.
Vladimir Malakchi, Evoplay: Streamers’ influence on a game’s audience is no doubt increasing exponentially. I predict we’ll see this become even more commonplace in the near future. Approximaely 84 per cent of millennials have a social media presence and spend a great deal of their downtime on video content, which will continue to power this growth.
One only needs to look at the influence celebrities and various idols already hold around social culture, and when it comes to influencers in the gaming space, it’s no different.
Developers and operators have certainly taken note, and we’re seeing plenty of investment now being directed towards collaborating across Twitch, YouTube, social networks and other streaming platforms to attract players.
Of course, this means that games are developed to have an impact, whether that’s for the player or the streamer broadcasting it – but I wouldn’t specifically say that I expect to see games developed to suit that ‘initial sell’.
Instead, it should be the role of the streamer to pique players’ interest, creating a positive impression around the gameplay experience. This, I believe, is the most important part and it is the excitement from playing the game that truly resonates with players on the other side of the screen and motivates them to try the games themselves.
Andy Sekula, Kalamba Games: It’s fun to watch streams as a developer, especially when streamers are playing your game. It’s almost as if you were watching VIP playtests! Also, you can see what the chat dynamic is like and what the feedback is during a stream of a particular game, so there can be huge value in watching some of the streamers – you can often learn what’s hot and what’s not.
There are already initiatives where streamers collaborate with suppliers on game design, which then becomes a mutual learning process. It definitely helps to think if the game you’re working on would be fun to watch. If it would, then it’s happy days – the chances are that your players will like it too.
Rory Kimber, 1×2 Network: There’s no question that streamers are influencing slot titles and that slot studios are beginning to work directly with them. It also allows slot studios to have subtler forms of innovation, particularly in the bonus round, as we know streamers are likely to buy in and highlight them to players.
We know certain features excite streamers and therefore players are enthusiastic about them too so when there’s a fork in the road of how to set out game features we tend to lean towards ones that streamers appreciate.
It’s a balancing act – we keep streaming in mind but I wouldn’t say we necessarily make changes solely for this purpose. There have been occasions where the max exposures of our games are left high even though we know the majority of operators will ask for them to be capped so that streamers have the opportunity for the biggest wins.
We are in discussions about doing a Branded Megaways game specifically for some top streamers but I can’t say too much about that project (other than the fact there’s still one space available for a big streamer to have his own branded game if it works for both sides!).
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