In our latest interview with Melvin Ritsema, CMO of Royal Panda, we had a pleasure to discuss the current slots environment and his participation at the next week's inaugural CasinoBeats Summit which will take place from the 19th until the 20th of September at Olympia London.
How would you assess the current saturated slots environment?
There are so many game providers nowadays, and so many new games being released every month, that it’s hard to stand out. It’s up to the game providers to come up with exclusive games, and/or just massive volume to get any share of wallet.
Compared to four-to-five years ago, when a lot of operators would just have a couple of the biggest slot providers and release maybe three or four games per month, any provider that was a part of that would get a good wallet share of the operator.
Nowadays, releasing one game per month when the industry releases maybe 50 games, you simply don’t have the same share of voice. Either you need to produce more games, or your games need to really stand out.
Having seen a steady stream of blockbuster-based slots making its way onto the market, do you believe that these are essential for continued success?
As part of the above, that is one way to go about it. Get the exposure by using a big existing brand and make a good slot around it. A good example is connecting the game to a TV show, where every person that has watched that TV show will have an immediate appeal to the game, just from the title and the theme.
This is an instant hook and will massively increase the likelihood of them opening and trying out the game, at least once. The brand alone isn’t enough though, we’ve seen branded online slots with disappointing results as well.
Tentatively looking forward, what features/developments do you think are crucial for the continued success of the slot genre?
New exciting features, bonus games and retention tools will become more and more important. More of the same might still work to get some exposure, but if you want to stand out, you need something new.
A good example is the massive success behind some of the Big Time Gaming games. They have only a very small portfolio, but their new mechanics with increasing paylines and a chance to purchase a bonus round have taken off with huge success.
You can see them perform well on every single website they are on and sometimes rival the massive legacy providers in terms of wallet share. Game by game, they do the best job. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the industry will learn from this, but also to see if they can keep coming up with more features that are as big a hit.
How would you describe the importance of being regularly present at prestigious iGaming shows like CasinoBeats Summit?
The events are great to learn from industry experts, build and expand your network, and to find new B2B partners to work with in the future. Learning who’s new in the market, what others have done well over the past year and what hurdles and opportunities await as.
All in all, it’s important to stay up to date and connected in this industry. I suppose this is true for every type of business, but from my experience the gaming industry is so rapidly changing and evolving that this is even more important.
What are the main advantages of speaking at iGaming events such as CasinoBeats Summit?
I’m happy to have been asked to speak and excited to share my opinion and view of the industry. At the same time, I’m hoping to learn from the other speakers out there, both in my own panel and outside. I will attend a lot of the talks, and hopefully meet some new interesting businesses and people to hopefully work with in the future.
Thank you very much for finding the time to talk to us, Melvin. We hope that your future projects will be as successful as the previous ones and look forward to seeing you at other top-notch panel discussions in the future.