About Light & Wonder
The company that was once known as Scientific Games now operates under the name of Light & Wonder. The company was, and still is, a true leader in sports betting, lottery games, and gambling technologies. It worked both with products for the end users, as well as with software solutions like OpenGaming™ platform for the B2B segment. Innovation, clear analytics, data analysis, outstanding performance are all things Scientific Games, but rebranding into Light & Wonder will also add new features.
Rob Proctor, VP of Game Development at Light & Wonder, Inc., says that internal change happened to the company before the external rebranding started. The company definitely takes game designs and mechanics to the next level, and online casino sites in different regulated markets have a chance of offering the highest quality gaming software by Light & Wonder to their customers. And this is not surprising, because the company has over 5,000 employees all over the world. Such huge experience and resources cannot go unnoticed, and they don’t. But after the rebranding, more end users at online casinos will enjoy the top quality online slots by Light & Wonder.
Taking a cross-platform approach, and operating only in regulated jurisdictions, Light & Wonder is both user-friendly and ultimately safe. The company covers not only various platforms, but various types of gaming, from real money gambling to social gaming. CasinosHunter was glad to have a chance to ask Rob about the new strategic vision of the company, its values and plans, and of course its awesome casino games.
Q/A Session With Rob Proctor, VP of Game Development
I'm Rob Proctor, VP of Game Development at Light & Wonder. I look after everything from new game concepts to choosing which games to build (and which countries to launch those games in).
I started off almost 10 years ago now in the QA team at Sky Betting and Gaming. Then I moved to a product role there, and then I went into a more 'content and commercial' position, heading up their casino content. That was across Sky Vegas, Sky Casino and Sky Bingo, so it was covering quite a large range of content. Then I moved here, to what is now Light & Wonder, looking after our second-party partners - the likes of Big Time Gaming and Lightning box - helping them get onto our platform and develop their own games. I did that for about a year or so and then came into first-party.
CasinosHunter did not have a chance to organize a Q&A with the team while the company was still SG Digital, and now it is Light & Wonder. Could you please explain what are the key differences between the approaches (or vision, or tasks) taken before, and now? What makes Light & Wonder different from SG Digital and why did the company decide to go through rebranding, which is usually a painful process?
The change happened for us before the rebranding did. The rebranding is an external view of the change, which is great because hopefully it brings our business into a new light for customers and for players, but internally we'd made some pretty drastic changes before the rebranding. The main catalyst for that was the divestiture of our sports and lottery businesses. Since it was made apparent that we were going to be solely focussed on casino, there's been a real shift internally in terms of how we look at our business and how we portray our business to the outside world.
What are the main markets and certifications that are of interest for Light & Wonder?
There's not much change there in terms of switching to Light & Wonder.
Our stance on this is that we only play in regulated markets, but where we do play we’re market leaders; we're first to market most of the time with the most content and the best content.
From a market's point of view, we break them down into three, which is the UK, Europe and US. When we're looking at these markets individually we go down a lot deeper, especially when you look at the US in terms of New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania... then you go further into Canada and we break it down again by province there. And more so now in Europe; we don't put a blanket over Europe, we look at individual regions and make sure that we're serving each region as best we can. So we're in every market that's compliant, and we'll be first to market in those markets.
Can you please name the three most popular and successful games created by the company so far? What is so special about those games that the players should pay attention to?
It varies so much from country to country.
If you look at the U.K., Rainbow Riches games are still by far and away our most popular slots day-to-day on our biggest operators. If you look at our top 20 games in the UK, they're littered with Rainbow Riches content.
From a US point of view, 88 Fortunes is king, not just for us but for the market - whatever state opens up, 88 Fortune just rises to the top in terms of the most played and the most staked-on game. There's just phenomenal success, driven largely from its origins in the land-based market. You could probably fight it out for third place - it fluctuates quite a lot.
Last year we saw games like Marvellous Mouse take the world by storm. We've also had various Megaways games take that third-place spot, like Beetlejuice Megaways. Those games come and stand the test of time and stay up there. That third spot is always highly contested and ever-changing.
How many games does the company make per month, or per year?
Purely from a first-party point of view, at any one time we've probably got 20 games at various stages of production. In terms of how many games we release a month, it ranges anywhere from three to four games a month, and that's global, so not all games go to all markets, and not all games are meant to focus on all markets.
So in a particular month, we could have one or two games that go live for the UK, one for Europe and one for the US (for example). And then, from a from a wider point of view, we've got our second- and third-party games as well, which bulk up our offering to customers.
How long does it take to release a game?
The quickest we've managed to turn one around can be as little as four months. Some of the blockbuster games - the really high-end ones with new mechanics, new assets and new themes - also sometimes with a branded element that has to be signed off by the brand owner - these epics, as we call them, can take nine or ten months.
What is the biggest possible win in your games, if you can share this information?
If you look at a game like Spartacus Megaways, I think we saw a win at one point of about 97,000x, which is big! We are regularly getting wins on our newer games of 10,000x.
For our European-focussed content, we've made a conscious effort to make sure that those max wins are winnable; we don't want a max win for the sake of having a max win - we want it there because it's something players feel like they can win.
Has anyone already won the biggest sum possible, and if yes, what game was it?
Some games have max wins that might be a quarter of a million, and that's been won frequently - not every week or every month, but more times than I can remember. Max win is achievable on these games and moving forward it's something we're making a conscious effort to be more transparent about. We feel that's something that we should be really upfront and clear with players on - putting it in the game screen and putting it in the intro screen. We've got a game, "Into the storm"coming in April, which is a hold and respin game, and one of the key call ups on that game is that if you fill the screen with coins, it's an ultimate 10,000x just there and then - you win 10,000x. So it's really clear what the max win is and how you win it.
Are there any interesting collaborations you can tell us more about?
We're working with a couple of third-party providers right now to co-create content. Hopefully, a couple of those games will see the light of day this year, so we can start to talk about those a little bit more in the coming weeks and months. Internally we also have lots of collaborations going on all the time with our land-based teams, developing the land-based content. We also have more collaborations in the works around branded content, so on all fronts there are plenty of irons in the fire, just not that much I can share with you at the moment!
What online gambling trends are here to stay, and what trends slowly go away?
I think the volatility side will be really interesting in terms of how people manage volatility and manage customer needs as well as player needs. We're being told by customers that they want lower volatility games - they don't want the risk and the exposure, which I can totally understand.
Even if a player is only staking one dollar, if they win 10,000x, that $10,000 is never going back into your ecosystem because they're just going to take that money and off they go into the night. The volatility aspect is one that I think we'll see get a lot of attention, so operators not only give the players what they want but also have some security, because right now it's a little bit like the Wild West out there with some suppliers! Some of the numbers these things can reach are very very scary, and it's only a matter of time before they do.
Please tell us more about the company’s plans for the future!
As Light & Wonder, the big convergence for us has been coming together as a family internally. Historically we've been a little bit separated in terms of our thinking and in our businesses, whereas now it's much more collaborative; we're together as one and we understand each other's businesses a lot more, and respect each other's businesses a lot more. Our omni-strategy - building games to fit our market and building games to work across different segments where appropriate - is becoming more and more of our day-to-day. We still have our own areas of expertise - we're building games to suit each market, whether that be Europe, UK or US., but there's definitely more collaboration going on internally and hopefully that'll come across to the players and the customers in a positive way. We're doing it to improve our offering, which I'm sure will come through in the coming weeks and months. From a content point of view, our release schedule has never looked like it does right now; it's the strongest I've ever seen, and the feedback from operators echoes that - they're astonished by some of the content we're putting out there. I just can't wait for customers to see the finished article. I also want to see the player reactions to some of the new games we're bringing out because being rebranded has given us an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, which has come at a good time and can we can really go forward under Light & Wonder.
Thank you so much for your time, and participation in our Q&A!
No problem! Thanks for your interest and great questions.
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