In this special SlotBeats roundtable, we’re joined by industry four experts; Steve Mayes, partnerships director at SG Digital, Lloyd Purser, chief operating officer of FunFair Games, Peter Causley, CEO and co-founder of Lightning Box and Andy Sekula, head of games at Kalamba Games, to discuss exclusivity within the igaming sector.
In the first of two questions in this series, we asked our guests of the importance of exclusivity in title launches and what specifically drives the demand.
How important is exclusivity within the igaming industry in today’s marketplace? What’s driving the demand for it?
Steve Mayes, SG Digital: Exclusive content certainly serves a purpose in helping operators to differentiate their offering, but the games on offer need to be of a high standard to truly maximise its potential. Players are inevitably attracted to new games that carry the exclusive tagline, but they’ll soon switch off if the gameplay fails to deliver.
From a content aggregation perspective, these deals can propel an offering and provide that all important competitive edge. If you hold exclusive distribution rights to the next game release from a major developer, operators will instantly take notice as they’ll want to be first to launch the new content. Last year, we secured the rights to exclusively distribute Big Time Gaming’s content across regulated markets worldwide.
Scientific Games, through the OpenGaming platform, is the sole distributor of all new BTG content within the US and Canada. In addition, all operators in the UK and Europe have exclusive early-market access to all new BTG games, such as its latest release, Wild Flower.
Knowing that a content aggregation platform has high quality and exclusive content, with integrated responsible gaming tools assures operators, they have a strong product roadmap at their disposal for a long period of time.
Andy Sekula, Kalamba Games: For the supplier, exclusivity can boost a project in a few ways. Depending on the set up, sharing the costs of developing games can substantially de-risk and reduce the time and money game creation takes, and it also means that a certain amount of promotional positioning comes ‘baked-in’ as the costs and risks are shared.
Similarly, the supplier can leverage the marketing channels and customer knowledge from the operator, meaning that the game has a higher chance of resonating with its target audience.
From the casino perspective, there has for some time been a drive to provide targeted, personalised content to their user base – and what better way to do it than actually develop games with their own customers in mind?
There is normally an exclusive period for the operator too, which again reinforces this intent, and because the targeting is superior, key demographics can be driven to the game, and/or generate better acquisition campaigns. This, in turn feeds back into better learning about player behaviours, so it’s a win-win basically.
Peter Causley, Lightning Box: I think it’s really important for operators to be able to present players with unique content, even if that is for a limited amount of time. It is a differentiator and marks one brand out from another in a crowded marketplace.
We’ve been doing short-term exclusive releases for a number of partners for a number of years and everybody wins: we get a good push for our new game (as it is an operator’s best interest to do so), they get a unique selling point, and their players get their hands on new content first. It’s no different from any other form of entertainment.
Netflix, Amazon and the other on-demand TV channels battle it out to provide new content (or exclusive access to old content) on a daily basis. Viewers, or in our case players, want to engage with the latest show or game and the suppliers races to keep up with demand. It is self-perpetuating.
Lloyd Purser, FunFair Games: Demand works both ways – it has to come not only from the operator, but also from the supplier. For brands, having a genuine USP in the form of a gaming title that can’t be found elsewhere is an excellent way to attract customers. Offering something unique drives player retention and builds loyalty.
For content developers, it establishes a close commercial relationship with an operator partner, allowing you to work side-by-side with its marketing department to position your games. Working with Betsson exclusively for our first multiplayer game launch was a great strategy for us as a new supplier to the market.
It gave our title, Astroboomers: To the Moon!, prime positioning and global market exposure, helping us to build a relationship with a like minded operator who already had similar games live. From a PR point of view, being so closely positioned with a tier one brand such as Betsson is a fantastic boost for FunFair Games.
Even though the game has a very simple mechanic, it’s not something that slots players might instantly understand, so it has to be showcased in the right way. An exclusive release therefore helps us inform other operators ahead of the network-wide launch, allowing them to maximise its potential.
This process gives you two bites of the cherry, hitting a peak in demand from the exclusive launch, and another spike in interest following the network-wide release. It also enables a supplier to create some FOMO (fear of missing out) in the market, which is enhanced through the prime positioning and marketing exclusive games receive.