ould you provide details about the major highlights of the company in 2020? Which are currently the most important markets for Evolution?
In 2020, we launched a record number of 12 new games, including expanding our award-winning games show games category and creating new twists on casino classics. We also launched the first-ever online live Craps game, bringing this land-based favorite online for the first time.
2020 also saw Evolution acquire both NetEnt and Red Tiger, bringing together three of the casino industry’s most renowned brands into a single ‘powerhouse’. This puts us in an ideal position to strengthen our hold on existing European markets, which continue to be a key focus for the Group.
Since our inception, our core focus has been in the European market where we work with the majority of Tier 1 operators. We also continued to focus on our growth in the United States during last year. Our presence has continued to go from strength to strength with demand for Live Casino services in the North American market ever-increasing. Based on our experience from New Jersey, our entry into our second US state, Pennsylvania, in late 2020 gave us a great opportunity to serve a growing customer base in the US gambling market. This growth in the US will continue in 2021 as we expand into the state of Michigan with a new state-of-the-art studio launching this year. NetEnt has also occupied a leading position in the US since 2015 in New Jersey and NetEnt games were live immediately on day one in Pennsylvania in 2019, West Virginia in 2020 and Michigan in 2021.
As a supplier to the gaming industry, could you detail in which ways customer demand shifted this year? Which are currently the most popular products/services offered by Evolution?
In the last 12 months, we have seen growth in customer demand across all our games; however, there is a constant and unwavering demand for our casino classic games, such Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat. We cover the widest selection of classic tables, variants, and unique twists on these player favorites. We have also seen strong growth and success from our engaging and immersive game shows, including titles such as Lightning Roulette, Crazy Time and Mega Ball to name but a few. Our latest game show addition, Crazy Time, achieved phenomenal success last year and an instant player favorite, peaking at an astounding 8,000 concurrent players.
In which other ways do you believe the online, mobile, and land-based verticals have changed during 2020 for your audience?
Our CEO, Martin Carlesund, spoke about how in the past year a paradigm shift in online player behavior has occurred, partly as a result of land-based closures during the pandemic. This year has highlighted the importance of having an online presence, in order to serve and reach the growing number of players in the online spectrum. Although the land-based vertical still holds the majority of casino revenue, we hope with our innovative games to drive the digitalization of the industry and welcome more online and mobile players in the coming year.
Last month, Evolution completed the acquisition of NetEnt. Could you expand on what this deal means for the company?
As a result of our acquisition of NetEnt and Red Tiger, we have now added top-performing online slots and one of the fastest-growing, most innovative studios to our award-winning Live Casino product portfolio. Now with NetEnt part of the Evolution Group, we will utilize some of their most iconic titles, blending NetEnt player favorites into the world of Live Casino to create a new wave of games that provide players with yet more truly unique entertainment experiences. This approach has already paid dividends for NetEnt and Red Tiger, whose collaborations on Piggy Riches MegawaysTM and Gonzo’s Quest Megaways have resulted in massively successful slots titles. As mentioned earlier, this puts us in an ideal position to strengthen our hold on existing European markets, continue with the rapid growth of our US business and move into newly regulating markets. 2021 is again set to be an exciting year as all three of our brands launch further top titles.
Could you summarize the company's plans and forecasts for 2021? How do you think the gaming industry will continue to adapt to the "new normal"?
We will continue to expand our range of immersive and engaging game shows, leveraging the newest technological and Live Casino studio innovations to appeal to an even broader spectrum of players. In addition, we will continue to build on the success of our First Person range – an industry first that combines the best of RNG and Live Casino gaming. With First Person, our superior experience from Live Casino combined with new and powerful technologies and our unique ‘GO LIVE’ button for successful cross-selling to Live Casino, means that we create RNG table games like no others. We’re also working on new games and features to support continuing strong growth in the Asian market, with tailored content for this region and its players.
The Evolution will continue with further teamwork across all our brands that will undoubtedly result in some of 2021’s biggest releases. There really is so much to look forward to in 2021 for players and operators alike!