Online gaming as we know it is slowly but surely changing and, by the decade's end, it might be an entirely different industry from the one we got used to. As crypto leaves its status of promising new trend behind to become a consolidated vertical and new technologies emerge -VR, metaverse gaming, NFT-based gambling-, it's hard to tell exactly which ones will survive and which will become a fad. But whatever may lie in store, industry players are taking notes, and game developers are no exception.
"BGaming has never been a slot-centered game provider," Marina Ostrovtsova, Executive Director at BGaming, tells Yogonet. "Our portfolio comprises card games, roulettes, casual titles, or instant games from the very beginning." But a look at latest releases and announcements shows the company is going even further in its intentions to offer a varied portfolio of gaming products, adding new mechanics, going crypto and even taking a gamble on NFTs.
However, figuring out the winning combination is not an easy task. "There is no key," the executive says. "There are specific phycological rules that you can maintain, there is vast and in-depth background, there are innovations (everywhere nowadays), but there is always a great deal of chance you might not win this title." Still, BGaming has a strategy: enriching the product. In an exclusive interview, Ostrovtsova explains how.
BGaming has recently released a new Aztec-themed slot game, Aztec Magic MEGAWAYS, the company’s first title with this top-rated mechanic. What impact do you expect it to have for the company and what added value does MEGAWAYS bring to BGaming? Are there plans in place to further release more MEGAWAYS games?
This is indeed the first mechanic of a kind into our portfolio. This is like a good taste in game dev, absolute staple – a proper game developer needs to release MEGAWAYS™ slots.
Our game Aztec Magic MEGAWAYS™ comes with free spins, sticky wilds in free spins, wilds with multipliers in the main game. Buy chance and buy bonus are also great additions to the game. Developing new mechanics is fun: it enriches the team with an innovative mindset, it adjusts your game engine, it broadens your portfolio, which is appealing to our clients, and, above all, MEGAWAYS™ slots are truly unique and rewarding for the players.
Observing how we launched the game and how it performs, and how it attracts more players, it is safe to say that the era of MEGAWAYS™ will stay with us for longer. And yes, we will be releasing new titles with MEGAWAYS™ in the nearest future.
What is even more fascinating about this is that Megaways inspires you to mix and try new things and experiment more, so we will try even to enrich this rewarding mechanic.
The company has also recently launched Space XY, the company's first crash multiplayer game. What can you tell us about this title? How does the company approach implementing new mechanics to its titles, and what benefits do they report in terms of, for instance, player engagement?
BGaming has never been a slot-centered game provider. Our portfolio comprises card games, roulettes, casual titles, or instant games from the very beginning. So having the idea to make some of our casual games (like Plinko) a multiplayer game is not a new one for BGaming.
When you do everything that way, it should be done. You know when the time is right, so last year, we made this decision to add a multiplayer game to the portfolio. And the timing could not have been better.
We’ve already seen the growing demand from a crypto world and crypto projects (like Stake, BC.GAME, etc.), and they all want crypto games (or fast games, or instant games). The rock start of the whole crypto package is, of course, a crash game (nothing new here, the game just got the second breath – but fresher). So there was no longer thinking and picking – we knew we wanted a multiplayer crash, which is how we addressed our development team.
Speaking of multiplayer games in general, this makes an invaluable contribution to the industry already because this type of game can be titled community-driven games. Let’s face it, there are quite a few slots titles out there that managed to build the community around them. And for the time being, they are already quite aged.
BGaming has long expressed confidence in the worlds of crypto and online gaming merging. What opportunities could crypto bring to the iGaming industry and how would you assess this integration thus far? How is the company leveraging crypto within its products?
Safe and secure, instant transactions, worldwide coverage, anonymity – you can hear that from every corner, and in fact, this is true.
Crypto can improve the gaming experience for players, and here is important to choose the platform that will allow you to have this experience in the first place. But this is the story of the operator and the player.
Our story is a bit different. To participate in this improved experience, we need to have a system in place to support this multiple choice of cryptocurrencies. We have been doing great with this from the very start and can support any of them on the market.
On top of that, the crypto project rush has broadened the potential for game providers – to be able to release something else, something that players and operator wants. I already mentioned the crash game that we have released. And now we want a whole package – the crypto games pack, which should go live in the nearest weeks.
BGaming has developed a “Provably Fair” system for gambling, which utilizes cryptography to verify a game’s results, thus making online gaming safer. What opportunities does this solution bring to iGaming and what has reception been like among online casinos?
We need to be very careful with the description here. The provably fair system does not verify the player’s result. It proves that the game’s outcome was random, meaning that nothing and no one can affect this result.
BGaming has always been an advocate of trust. There is no way to build a fruitful relationship without trust (it is reflected everywhere – in personal life, business, and communication with our audience).
Provably Fair system will not resolve your problems with new markets, regulations, sales, etc. But it definitely adds an additional layer of trust, and I am very grateful that we decided to introduce this feature many years ago into slots.
As gamers now play on a wider variety of devices, with mobile growing in popularity, what characteristics must be applied to game development to accompany this trend? “Hypercasual” style games have been described as functional for mobile gaming, working on slower phones. What plans does BGaming have for this type of product?
That is a tricky one. Because now game providers should always ask the question before any development: should my audience invest in a high-quality mobile device so that I can show all the glory of the game? As a game provider, I wish the answer would be “Yes, they should.” But in fact, they do not do that.
User Interface – it might sound ridiculously obvious even to say it, but a proper UI is a must for a game. Game providers must heavily invest in a comfortable, intuitive, and clean interface if they are concerned about their audience preferences.
Game assets are the most challenging part of making the game lightweight yet keeping quality. Indeed “Hypercasual” style helps with this issue since this reflects the simplicity, but at the same time, it lacks the strategic and psychological depth that a slot game needs.
Speaking of our plans, we have already launched hypercasual games. Once again, the timing is great for us – the growth of crypto projects and increasing interest in them just brought this new perspective to what type of games can be placed to a casino.
While crypto has been consistently gaining presence within the iGaming ecosystem, other new technologies such as AR and VR have yet to gain momentum. Do you expect this to happen? NFTs have also become a big talking point in the online ecosystem. Do you expect gaming to further integrate them in the near future?
To be honest, I am seriously skeptical about VR and stuff.
From the point of view of technology and interest in construction in this new environment – this is fascinating.
But from the point of view of reality and the sense of reality – I personally do not believe it will replace anything whatsoever (at least I know I will not change my sense of reality to anything else). Nonetheless, I give it a shot to the fact that I have never met a proper VR slot or even a casino.
We have the VR geek in BGaming, knowing absolutely everything about it so that it might happen, we will open this door together.
Speaking of some other novelties, we cannot but mention NFT. It is everywhere now, and yes, we are already digging into this to introduce it to our clients.
BGaming’s Bonanza Billion game, its first refilling reels slot, recently achieved record results in its debut month, exceeding the company’s former top title by 21%. What are the keys to developing a popular title? And how does the company’s approach to development change when it comes to Brand Exclusive slots?
I might upset you on this, but there is no key. The more I emerge into game development, the clearer I see. There are specific phycological rules that you can maintain, there is vast and in-depth background, there are innovations (everywhere nowadays), but there is always a great deal of chance you might not win this title.
Refilling reels mechanic is well-established, buzzing around for quite some time now. Our approach is always around enriching the product. It is BGaming signature to add something else. Bonanza Billion is no exception. Our version is more generous on free spins than ever - 5 scatters offer 20 free spins and 6 scatters – 30. On top of that, we were just in time with the market trend.
If we switch to Brand Exclusives – the one word suits best here to describe – it is fast. The development process of these games is much faster than the major titles.
Actually, this new branch of our business indeed unlocked more potential in our processes, tools, and approaches.
Results show 2021 was the company’s “most successful” year to date, doubling GGR and bets from the prior year. What explained these landmark achievements and how do they position the company going forward? The company has also doubled in size in 2021. What new capabilities has this opened for the business?
There are always people behind the successful business, and business is only as good as the team. So this result is only the result of BGamers who are dedicated and what is most important in our culture – BGamers who care.
We all do care what products we release to the market, and 2021 showed us that we could fight for the roadmap as effectively as we agree to what will be the best fit for the company. The products launched within the year contributed a lot to these achievements and made BGaming sounds louder to the market.
We do care how we interact with our clients because it is not about just launching games anymore. It is always beneficial to offer something on top of a simple piece of content. There are always added values when your manager is here to help you, share insights, and run through the latest stats of your performance together. We planned the milestones of launching the client area and help desk, and we successfully accomplished those intentions. Our product marketing department thrived throughout the year – every request was covered in time and was delivered in the most splendid way.
We doubled in size as a company indeed and we faced some real proper assessment and processes adjustments – this also ministered towards our achievements. In fact, everything we processed and built within last year invested into BGaming so that we can further develop ourselves and yet feel comfortable.
BGaming credits among landmarks for 2021 having obtained an MGA license and entering the LATAM market. What are the company’s expansion plans for this year, and what new markets could offer new growth opportunities to the business?
There are several directions for BGaming summarising everything that has been told here so far.
This year we will increase the number of releases by 2 times – you can expect 2 titles per month (and here we are talking about slots roadmap).
Crypto pack. You can anticipate observing BGaming styled crypto insta games to be launched in several months.
Among 2021 landmarks, we also had a Greek licence, so we plan to secure our positions on this market and obtain the ISO 27001 certification. Spain, Italy, Slovenia - are some of the closest markets to enter for BGamign as well.
Analytics (working with our big data) is something we are planning to go all out on. There is no better investment – be data-driven!