CasinosHunter & Swintt: Q&A On Slots, Brands, and Trends
CasinosHunter continues asking tough questions to some tough online casino software providers; this time, we asked David Mann, Swintt’s Chief Commercial Officer, to share his opinion and insights about making online casino slots and branded games, working with affiliates and watching the new gambling trends unfold.
About the Speakers
David Mann, Swintt’s Chief Commercial Officer, represents Swintt in these talks. Swintt is one of the comparatively new software providers that have, however, already won the leadership in the slots sub-niche. Swintt makes slots and also Live Dealer games, and this award-winning company develops its smart marketing and partnering strategy to enter new markets on a regular basis.
Mike Hunter is a co-founder of CasinosHunter, an online casino reviewing platform that provides all the necessary info about online casinos and gambling to players, mostly from Canada. CasinosHunter boasts informative guidelines and over 100 online casinos on site, and also often collaborates with providers like Swintt in making some interesting content for the players.
Swintt and CasinosHunter Talk
Swintt makes online casino slots, table games, and Live Dealer games. CasinosHunter reviews slot games and reviews online casinos that have slots, table games, and Live Dealer games. Is there any universal recipe for cooking a potentially popular online casino game, for all these categories, or for each of them? Is there a key secret ingredient?
David: If there was an easy answer to that question, we’d be delivering a new top-performing game every single month! I believe Swintt – like all game developers out there – is always looking for new ways to bring the next blockbuster game to the market.
From our experience, one of the key factors is offering a diverse selection of games, as this is what will ultimately enable you to satisfy as wide a range of players as possible.
We develop roughly three games per month and pay huge attention to ensuring each has a unique theme, volatility, and mechanics.
I think one of the keys to our success is Swintt’s commitment to developing innovative features like the ones found in our Xtra series. Our best release to date has been Aloha Spirit XtraLock TM, which introduced the brand-new XtraLock TM mechanic. By activating this ground-breaking feature, players were able to participate in a series of free re-spins during which special Tiki mask symbols would lock in place on the reels. Any adjacent masks would then clump together to form larger Tiki shapes, with one of four local bonuses available based on the size of their biggest Tiki shape. This addition proved hugely popular among players, with Aloha Spirit XtraLock TM seeing a 403% increase in bets placed during its first week of launch.
Mike: Our experience shows that there is no perfect recipe for a popular online slot, but exclusive features and well-implemented mechanics greatly increase the chances of success. Also, the popularity of a game often depends on the market, for example, one game can be very popular in the Canadian market, but at the same time be not the top in LatAm.
Another important factor is the uniqueness of the slot and the quality of the visual part because the number of studios that develop games for online casinos is growing every year and everyone wants to make a super popular game.
A mix of all these components, as well as a good choice of the theme of the game, may well be the perfect recipe for a popular slot.
Branded slots are an effective marketing tool to boost interest in players, and an effective tool for collaborations with famous companies or people. What are the main difficulties in making branded slots, considering that gamblers are usually so fond of them, and yet few providers make any branded products?
From a software provider's point of view, it’s really about the price, because branded slots can ultimately be quite costly.
For that reason, you have to think long and hard about who will be the best ambassador for you as a company before committing to a collaboration. Given the person or company that you choose will be front and centre, their character or reputation will essentially frame how people see your brand, so you have to think it through very carefully.
It's for that reason that Swintt decided to collaborate with Vinnie Jones on The Crown. Despite his tough-guy movie persona, these days Vinnie is an avid philanthropist with a heart of gold. We felt that Swintt shared the same vision in terms of giving back to the community, and that’s why we decided a portion of all profits from the game would go to Vinnie’s favourite charity. Having him on board definitely helped us generate a lot of buzz about the game – as evidenced by the popularity of Vinnie’s appearance at our stand at ICE – and The Crown was certainly well received by operators, being picked up by 330% more brands than our average release.
Mike: From a slot reviewer's point of view, the hardest thing about developing branded slots is to please the fans of a particular star or franchise if the slot is based on a movie, series or show. As a rule, the fans are very prejudiced, and during the player feedback research, we quite often see criticism from the fans like “this does not quite correspond to the spirit of the movie”, “the characters were drawn wrong here, they do not look like the franchise”, etc.
To sum up, branded slots are a very cool option to promote your products and reach a larger audience, but it is also complicated because of the franchise fans.
VR gaming is something everyone likes to discuss but few do a thing about it because it is mostly believed that we still lack a medium available to more than a few people. But now we have Metaverse, and many gambling experts claim this is the right media for VR online gambling. Will Metaverse create a really effective medium available to online gamblers in VR, and make VR online casino gambling actually widespread?
The current problem with VR is definitely the question of accessibility because up until now the equipment required to use it has been relatively expensive.
Naturally, everyone involved in online casino gaming is trying to replicate a land-based casino experience, where people go to socialise as well as play. With that in mind, VR seemed like a great idea when it was introduced and we were all very excited about its potential, but we didn’t fully appreciate that most people didn’t yet have the right technology to experience a VR casino.
This may very well change in the near future with Metaverse as VR becomes more accessible to players and suppliers start really exploring the possibilities that this creates. It’s definitely a significant development and we wouldn’t be surprised if there was a greater focus placed on Metaverse and VR casinos going forward, but the key thing to remember is that the primary goal of VR is to bring the land-based experience online for as wide an audience as possible.
Recent years have shown that the demand for VR online casinos is growing significantly.
I completely agree with David that the main stumbling block that slows down the development of VR gambling is the high cost of equipment.
Metaverse can really give a completely new round of development for the iGaming niche, especially in the content text of Live games. And this will be connected not only to a new experience of interaction between the player and the game, but will also become a good environment for developers to implement new and sometimes bold ideas.
As the industry evolves and the trends change, online gambling affiliate sites and bloggers also have to follow the trends. In your opinion, what are the key trends today that work well for affiliate projects in the online gambling industry?
For affiliates, the main thing that has changed in the way that they co-operate with operators or casinos directly is that there’s a greater demand for quality content.
Of course, some of the best content available is focused on the games, so we work very closely with our affiliate partners to ensure they have access to all the information they need. We supply everything from assets to game sheets so that they can share all the relevant details with their audiences. We believe having this close relationship with affiliates is, in itself, a new trend, because it’s one of the best ways for a provider to get really close to its end users – the players themselves.
The main change in the affiliate context is that operators and providers realized that working with affiliates multiplies the quality of the content created by the affiliates.
Now, this is the main trend, which also has a very positive effect on the quality of the content provided to the end user.
The second trend is that most providers have become more open to different collaborations with affiliates, such as joint Q&A like this.
Game design is something that constantly evolves and software providers start making state-of-the-art designs for slot games that can compete with video game graphics. What key trends in design can be mentioned today?
Every provider strives to create state-of-the-art designs that are as close to video games in terms of graphics as possible because all players appreciate titles that are beautiful to look at.
That being said, I’d say the trends themselves differ from market to market. While the younger generation loves these video game-style releases, it’s not the case everywhere. Take for example the German and Dutch markets, where we see more players gravitating toward familiar games from the land-based space. They’re looking for classic slots, so our Premium games have proved particularly popular there and are performing really well in those markets.
On the other hand, we can afford to be a bit more experimental in other markets and invest in making sure our designs are up to video game quality. Candy Gold is a really good example from the point of view of both graphics and game design. For one, the slot’s colourful visuals and the ability to purchase power-ups did a very good job of emulating the popular mobile games the current generation of casino players has grown up with, but we also moved away from the 5x3 format to expand the reels and make the game mobile-friendly in portrait mode.
The growth in competition in recent years has forced many providers to improve the graphics and design of their slots.
This is especially true for older and larger studios. Now slots are trying to be more like modern video games, especially due to the enormous development of 3D graphics and animation technologies.
Indeed, it is much more enjoyable for youngsters to play slots that are well designed and cool in terms of technology, while more old-school players still prefer their favorite old games.
In the context of old games and design, it is also notable that recently the trend of re-designing slots, which were successful in the mid-2010s, is gaining momentum. Now many old providers are reviving their popular titles or releasing sequels to breathe new life into them and attract a younger audience.
This roundup Q&A was organized by CasinosHunter.com together with speakers taking part in it. All rights are reserved. If you would like to share this material or part of it, you should provide a clickable backlink to this page as a source.