Interview with James Watson, Director of European Sales at Genesis Gaming

Interview with James Watson, Director of European Sales at Genesis Gaming

All you AskGamblers players surely had a chance to try out titles by Genesis Gaming and wondered where they get ideas for their amazing games. So we decided to get in touch with James Watson, Director of European Sales at Genesis Gaming and learn more about this well known software provider. Read on and find out all about their latest releases and get some hints on the upcoming slots.

1.  You’re one of the few companies based in the very heart of gambling industry. Does the Las Vegas environment help you see the players’ needs more clearly, and thus deliver unparalleled gaming experience?

Having an office in Las Vegas allows for a team with experience and extensive knowledge about the gambling industry. Our staff not only create slot games but also enjoys them as well, delivering insights on current games and trends. We can submerge ourselves into the Las Vegas environment and understand the game experience from the player’s perspective. 

2.  On the other hand, a part of your company is situated in Vancouver. Does this give you the opportunity to be up to date with the latest technological innovations?

Vancouver is essentially the Silicon Valley of Canada. Technology companies, both established and start-ups, companies looking to make the next great mobile or video game, and special effects and graphics studios from the entertainment industry all have a significant presence in this city. All of this has come together in our Vancouver office, with all of these sectors represented by our employees.

3.  Last year, you released a very unusual game Machine Gun Unicorn, which is a unique 5 Reel, 10 Line game with 2 Way Pay. It was a finalist in the “Game to Watch 2015” competition at ICE Totally Gaming 2015. Are you satisfied with its success?

There was a lot of buzz leading up to the release of Machine Gun Unicorn slot, and I would say that we did not disappoint anyone. Players were very excited with the final game and we received a lot of positive feedback to its unique theme and quick game play. We consider it a great success, and a benchmark for all our games going forward!

I am pleased to announce we are creating a follow up title. Expect the same quirky sensibility of Machine Gun Unicorn with a new twist on the theme.

4.  While talking about this game, I have to add that we at AskGamblers absolutely love it. We’ve always wondered where you got the inspiration for such a slot.

During our game concept development process, we have brainstorming sessions to come up with interesting and unique themes. When the name was first suggested, we all cracked up and could not stop talking about it. We instantly knew it was going to stand out. We were extremely happy with how the whole story and characters developed, and the final game. We even created a website around all the different characters with profiles, a quiz and comic book series.

5.  How do you generally decide what kind of slot to make next? Do you consult your players in any way?

Our Vancouver office often enjoys video game nights on the company XBox, our London office frequently explores new online games and the Las Vegas office is fully immersed in the land-based casino industry. Each office’s gaming experiences gives a unique perspective and employees are constantly sharing new game releases, and discussing what they liked and didn’t like. We also check out online blogs and review sites to see what’s trending among players. Games are constantly evolving, especially in the online space, and we like to create unique themes and pair them with innovative game play mechanics to deliver a superior game play experience.

6.  We’ve noticed that some of your slots can be played only at certain casinos. For instance, Ski Jump can be played only at Mr. Green Casino, whereas Star Crystals at Sky Vegas Casino. Are you planning to perhaps launch another exclusive slot any time soon?

It all depends on our casino and platform partners. Our games can be released to a platform exclusively, or for a limited exclusive period, or for general release. We frequently release games for a limited exclusive period. For example, we’ve released quite a number of games for a 3 month exclusive on Unibet Casino via the Relax platform.

7.  What are the benefits of making a game available in a single online casino?

Developing a bespoke game exclusively for an online casino allows the game to be customized to a specific player demographic. We work closely with the platform to determine what their players would enjoy in order to create a new and engaging experience.

8.  You also design games primarily for general distribution across the widest range of platforms in the industry on Flash, HTML5 and native apps. What are the cons and pros of distributing games in this way concerning players?

With general release games, players can play the game however they choose, whenever they choose, whether on desktop, mobile or via an app while at home or on the go. We work with multiple platforms to launch in many casinos and many regions. Our large distribution also allows us to make games for a wide range of players. For example, we have a game to be released in May across multiple platforms with a popular football theme matched with proven successful game play mechanics.

Players may be challenged in deciding which casino to play our games on when they are accessible across many online casinos.

9.  Players love progressive slots, because of the odds of becoming a millionaire instantly. Have you ever considered developing one?

As part of exclusive development for some customers, we have developed progressive games in the past, and have also developed a progressive jackpot to overlay any game on a casino site. Previously we have found progressives work best when we develop them in partnership with a casino, however, we are developing a title we hope to launch later this year.

10.  You also make slots for land based casinos. Is there any difference between these two types of players, and therefore in your approach to making games?

The players themselves are often the same player, but are playing for different reasons, and have different expectations for the game play experience.

This means that while some games will work in both land based and online casinos, they will never be exactly the same. So much of the player experience has to be adjusted for online play, where the environment is not controlled. Land based casinos have the benefit of controlling the form factor that players use, often down to the volume of the game. Online casinos have the benefit of being able to reach players wherever and whenever they want to play, but that makes controlling the player experience more of a challenge.

When we design a game, the question of what a player expects from the game is always at the forefront, so it naturally makes us approach development differently. The development cycle is also extremely different, as land based games typically take a very long time to develop and receive regulatory approval compared to an online title.

11.  You’ve recently announced a focus on the USA social casinos market and a new line of video slots tailored specifically for this market. What steps do you plan to take to firmly establish yourself in this market? Do you think it’ll open doors for you in regular US-facing online casinos?

Our focus is to develop our partnerships, primarily with platform providers. Our partners help us reach a wide range of land-based casinos who are either entering or expanding their options in the social market. Success in the social market does position us well for the regulated US online markets.

12.  What other challenges are awaiting Genesis in the near future?

We are constantly challenging ourselves to create boundary-stretching innovation in our games. Our competition is fierce and we love that we have to push our teams creatively to stay at the forefront of this industry.

Right now, we’re working on the challenge of attracting the millennial player. Our Jason’s Quest slot was developed with the millennial player in mind. We brought in leveling elements from mobile games and the epic storytelling from video games. Wrapping it in a well known story and theme gives players an entry point into this world. We are building on this concept with our Euro Golden Cup slot, which takes players through a football tournament, unlocking various championship stages of football-related game play, just in time for the UEFA Championship in summer 2016.

Last but not least, we would like to thank James for this exclusive interview. It’s a real pleasure to have Genesis shed some light on its role in this thrilling industry. We wish them all the best of luck in their future endeavors and hope to see more amazing slots soon.