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“My vision was to create a game that can deliver excitement and anticipation with every spin” – Exclusive interview with Toby Woolhouse, PO at Push Gaming

George Miller

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Exclusive interview with Toby Woolhouse, PO at Push Gaming
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Push Gaming has made a name for itself as a supplier that always looks to deliver on quality over quantity. In one of our latest exclusive interviews, we sat down with Push Gaming’s youngest PO to talk through his vision for their latest slot, Wheel of Wonders, as well as how we should expect player preferences to evolve this year when it comes to entertainment.

Wheel of Wonders marks the final slot released by Push Gaming in 2020, what made this title your favourite? 

As one of the younger POs on the team, I’m very much drawn to providing a gaming experience that can really offer something different. As a passionate gamer, I’ve always been into Ways and the Cascading style of games, so I really wanted to deliver something that matched the same aesthetics, but also offered a real twist with something fresh and exciting.

The mathematics behind the game also provide something entirely new, especially when it comes to balancing the gameplay. My vision was to create a game that can deliver excitement and anticipation with every spin. As a result, Wheel of Wonders is absolutely crammed with exciting features that ensures that every single part of the game can bring in massive wins of over 1000x! But more importantly, anything can happen along the way, which is what makes the game hugely unpredictable and fun. For me, Wheel of Wonders is a truly entertainment-first product. Every feature is there to engage the player, rather than the usual mode of waiting for free spins to trigger.

Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the game’s features?

Features were a massive part of the thought process behind Wheel of Wonders, and we wanted to develop something that would really stand the test of time. I’ve used a lot of the cascading influences from our games – and rather than your usual 5×3 slot, it instead dynamically expands through each spin, bringing layers ever-changing win possibilities for each spin to really keep things interesting.

To a certain extent it’s a relatively new concept, but it’s something I really think players will buy into given what we’ve seen from games with similar ideas. Elk’s Gold series has plenty of shared characteristics, as well as Cygnus – which makes me confident that players will really enjoy the hugely changeable gameplay as the fundamentals of the game continue to shift throughout.

Last but not least, for the theme, we wanted to do something that centred around the best of the ancient middle east. Mesopotamia, Babylon, Assyria – we were influenced by them all. Our team put in some serious research into the music and sounds to ensure we could really bring together a disparate set of cultures, and I’m absolutely delighted by the result.

Are there any particular features that you wanted to incorporate that would particularly resonate with current player preferences?

I’m very excited about Wheel of Wonders’ variable reel set because it provides the player with a fantastic level of additional engagement. Games with progressive elements such as these are proving particularly popular right now, and I believe the inclusion of gamified features is something that is resonating very strongly with players.

Whether that’s randomised sequences that evolve as the game continues, or the expansive selection of completely new combinations of elements, there was a gameplay flow that we wanted to capture, and expanding reels proved to be a great option for doing that.

We took the slot through plenty of rigorous tests and we actually refocussed the game on this mechanic during the creation process. We saw what would make the game even more exciting and we incorporated it into the development, which really allowed us to elevate the parts that were entertaining. For me, the key learning is that we didn’t start out looking to tap into a fundamental formula, but rather evolving the title as we created it to come out with a game we were really happy with, and ready to share with our players.

Can you give us some insight into some of the standout moments players can expect in Wheel of Wonders?

For me, there’s two things players should look for. The first, and this is the same as any top-quality cascading game; a really fantastic element of unpredictability that will keep you engaged throughout each stage.

The second, and it’s something I’m really excited about, is the Base Game wheels – you can effectively work out the prizes you want to see. Because of how variable the game is, and the raft of different prizes and multipliers that come with it, there’s just so many ways you can move advance through the slot and begin to really understand what will be the most valuable on the reel at any moment. I think this type of entertainment will really keep players hanging on to their seats, and we’ve had some really great feedback since its launch.

When it comes to development, is there a signature style at Push Gaming and one that players can recognise across your catalogue?

On one hand, we put a lot of stock into the elements that go into the gameplay experience, as we want to make sure it emotionally satisfies the moment that comes with the pay-out.

When we’re making a game, the Push team is always looking to be as flexible as possible during the development process to find ways we can make our games deliver that little bit extra. We’re always ready to leverage that during production, and we do everything we can to ensure our games can deliver something that is truly fun to play. Key here is to make sure that our games can still be broadcast years later as a flagship for the brand. Jammin’ Jars, Fat Rabbit and Razor Shark are great examples of this from our catalogue, and I’m proud to be part of a brand that really pulls all the stops out to make sure we deliver a premium level of gameplay.

How do you think player preferences towards slots have changed this year?

There are a few conflicting schools of thought here. For me, two things are really popping off right now. I’m a big believer in ‘in your face potential’ when it comes to the gaming experience, and I think super-clear, big numbers, exciting gameplay and a clear understanding of the mechanics are what’s needed right now. Easy-to-understand gamified elements are really taking off too, such as progressive jackpots and the like, and players are really buying into it.

Games crammed with plenty of different mechanics and a wealth of symbols to choose from can create massive wins – which is the holy grail for many, but with it comes plenty of challenges for design and mathematics. From what I’ve seen over the last few years, there’s a strong risk that players may find too many instructions as a barrier to engagement, but I also think that’s really opened the door for a massive variation of elements that players can connect with.

Players always look for new experiences and shifting preferences are starting to open the door for mechanic-driven titles, as well as feature-rich slots that offer multiple additional levels of gameplay. As a PO, I’m going to be very happy if that is the case, because it opens the door for us to get even more creative with our content.

Interviews

Interview with Casino Robots about No Account Casinos

George Miller

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Interview with Casino Robots about No Account Casinos
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Casino Robots is a leading online gaming platform where you can play slots, poker, roulette, blackjack, bingo, baccarat, keno, and more – for free.

Why did we choose to interview Casino Robots

There are several online gaming models available and “no account casinos” is one of them. The model is popular with first-time players. There’s no signup process or account verification needed to get behind the slots or card tables.

Casino Robots spent time analyzing the offers from all the leading no account casinos. As industry leaders and influencers, Casino Robots aims to give you the information you need to enhance your online gaming experience.

In this post, Casino Robots breaks down the benefit of no account casinos.

 

Q: Why did you decide to review all of the no account casinos?

A: We decided to review the leading no account casinos in the industry to level the playing field for new gamers. 2020 saw millions of gamblers around the world transition from visiting the local casino to playing online.

With so many new players coming into the digital market to find action, there are plenty of bad actors out there running scam sites. At Casino Robots, we wanted to give players a resource to find the best no account casinos and those they should avoid.

 

Q: How do you rate the no verification casinos?

A: Assessing a no account casino is a challenging task for our review team. When we look at a no account casino, we’re interested in finding out information regarding critical aspects of the platform’s safety and fairness.

We start by looking at the casino’s cyber-security, ensuring they use encrypted networks and that they meet all aspects of cybersecurity protecting the customer.

We also assess the casinos offering by the speed of transactions – how long it takes to fund your account and process a withdrawal.  Other important factors that sway our decision include the types of payment methods and the support available to players.

 

Q: Have you tested the no account casinos?

A: Yes, Casino Robots tests all the no account casinos we review. We put real money into accounts, play some games, and make a withdrawal to assess the entire player experience from start to finish.

 

Q: What are the main differences between traditional and no verification casinos?

A: If you’re playing with a traditional online casino, you’ll need to sign up for an account. The signup process involves giving the casino your personal information. You’ll also need to provide them with a form of photo ID, and in some cases, a proof of address.

The purpose of this process is to fulfill “Know Your Customer” (KYC) policies to prevent money laundering through digital casinos.

With a no account or no verification casino, the operator doesn’t request any personal information to open an account. Therefore, if you want to play slots for free, you can do so without handing over your information to marketing teams.

 

Q: For what kind of persons are no account casinos suitable?

A: If you want to remain anonymous online while playing casino games, a no account casino is your best option. Log onto your VPN, and visit your favorite venue for a few games without anyone requesting personal information from you.

No account casinos suit US players that want to avoid marketers and any regulators sniffing around their digital footprints. With a VPN and a no account casino, no-one knows where you are in the digital universe or what you’re doing.

No account casinos are venues suiting first-time online players. These players don’t want to jump in the pool right now; they want to get their feet wet in the gaming world. No account casinos are for those players who want to try their luck on a few hands of poker or some slots. Operators understand that not everybody wants to sign up and start playing with thousands of dollars right away.

No account casinos are the so called “fast payout casinos” and are very suitable for those who want to take their money instantly out of the casino. Most of these types of casinos operate with cryptocurrencies and transactions are processed in seconds.

Therefore, no account casinos exist to give players a taste of what they can expect when signing up for a real casino account.

 

Q: What is Casino Robots’ opinion about no account casinos?

A: If you want to play on a no account casino venue, make sure it’s legit. Read through the review archives on Casino Robots for more information on the platforms you’re thinking about using online.

No account casinos are tremendously beneficial to players if they have good management and follow best practices. However, a few fly-by-night operators run bucket shops designed to steal your information and your account.

Avoiding these venues is essential if you want to prevent identity theft and fraud. Casino Robots point out established and credible platforms for your online no account casino experience.

 

Q: How do no account casinos operate?

A: Casino Robots explains that no account casinos are different from traditional operators for several reasons. First, they don’t require any personal data to sign up, and second, they still offer payouts.

However, most no account casinos put limits on daily withdrawals and deposits. You have the option of raising these limits, but you’ll have to submit your information to fulfill KYC and AML requirements.

If you’re submitting your information to the casino for a payout, make sure you read the terms and conditions. Pay attention to the parts of the agreement stating what the operator can do with your data.

It’s also advisable to sign up for a paycard service or use a form of payment other than your credit card or bank account when funding or withdrawing from your casino account. This strategy puts an extra layer of protection between you and cybercriminals.

 

Q: What are your final words and recommendations to the clients of such casinos?

A: No account casinos are safe, as long as you stick to the recommended venues in our reviews. We checked all our recommendations, finding them to offer ethical and safe no account casinos for new players.

No account casinos will pay you out, and they come in a variety of options for currencies, including Pounds Sterling, Euro’s, Dollars, and even Bitcoin! Try a no account casino experience today with one of our approved gaming websites.

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Interviews

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR RETAIL BRANDS IN 2021 – Q&A with Robert Dowling, CCO at Singular

George Miller

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OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR RETAIL BRANDS IN 2021 - Q&A with Robert Dowling, CCO at Singular
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

  1. What are the differences between operating online vs brick-mortar operations (understanding the differences first before discussing what the synergies might be)?

It is a common misconception that having successful brick and mortar operations guarantees online success. These two sectors, although intertwined, are two unique, and very complex ecosystems that require different approaches and technologies for each, even different skill sets. To be successful in both areas, you have to understand the cultural biases, psychological factors, and technology implementation to take advantage of both verticals.

Land-based betshops attract players that enjoy placing a bet with their friends exchanging information prior to placing the bet. This is all part of the pattern of the social gambler. For this type of player, location can be an even bigger factor than the brand itself. However, this does not mean that the social gamer will not go online to place a bet. With the increased use of mobile betting, this has even intensified. Online operators have come up with a number of social features like live chat, live dealers, and options for social sharing of bet slips to recreate the community feeling. In some instances, the engagement between the player and the dealer is reinforced even further via live dealers. For successful online operations, operators must invest in seamless technology that allows their land-based operations to interact and link players to their online portals. For the player, it is essential to experience a seamless transition from the offline to the online space. The seamless technology allows players to start the game at their favorite betshop and continue playing from the comfort of their home.

 

  1. What challenges operators face when building seamless retail+online operations?

The number one challenge is legacy systems that need to be integrated with modern technology. This also implies that we need people who will understand and be able to manage modern technology. Second, the knowledge gap between what is required and what is actually delivered. The delivery requirements for online operations can be very different from the ones for a retail shop. For example, customer services need to be tailored for the online expectations of the player. We have to keep in mind that we are still an entertainment industry and make sure the brand does not lose that social and fun element to it when it goes online. Moreover, as already mentioned, the player should enjoy an easy transition from offline to online and vice versa with access to their seamless wallet, access to the same games, and betting options. Casinos can take a step further by live-streaming the dealers that are currently present in the physical location.

 

  1. What are your recommendations for a retail brand that wants to shift towards online operations? What is the best strategy and approach?

We will see an increasing number of operators going online, and there is only one right way to do this is.  Build a unique player journey that delivers a seamless experience for the players from start to end. One way to do this is to acquire an online brand that has the experience and licensing requirements for online operations. This is the right choice if time is of the essence. Another option for the operator is to partner with a platform provider that has experience with taking brands online and flexibility to deliver tailored solutions for each operator. In addition to the technology, operators need to choose a team having experience and time to guide them through the process.

 

  1. Covid has changed the consumer behavior; we see a strong move to online; What does this mean for retail operations in 2021?

In 2020, retail experienced a lot of hardship and evolution caused by the frequent opening and closing of the physical betshops. This has added pressure on high-street stores with traditional retail operations to move online. In my opinion, the focus in 2021 will be on two strategic points. Firstly, strengthening the online market share while also taking advantage of newly-regulated markets. Second, operators must take a step back, review their offering and identify the weak link, the product that might be falling behind the competition and work on innovative features for their customers. For retail brands striving to take their brand online, a technological strategic alliance that can facilitate scaling while still enhancing the retail offering would be the right way forward.

Additionally, in 2021 we have a number of sporting events that create vast opportunities for growth for both established brands and startups. The pandemic and the push towards online has evened out the playing field for experienced operators and newcomers. Although established brands will enjoy higher trust and loyalty when going online, they need to bear in mind that if the user experience is not on par with the competitors, they might lose the advantage based on their brand recognition.

 

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Interviews

Exclusive CEE interview with Evoplay Entertainment 

George Miller

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Exclusive CEE interview with Evoplay Entertainment 
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

With the CEE region no doubt set to be one of Europe’s biggest growth stories this year, we caught up with Evoplay Entertainment’s CBDO, Vladimir Malakchi, to talk through the region’s demographics, opportunities and hottest markets through 2021 and beyond.

The CEE region has become an increasingly important factor for growth on the continent, which markets do you see being the main drivers?

It’s all about the big-hitters that have an established framework in place, whether that be Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Croatia or any of the other regulated markets. What we’ve seen in the last few years has been exponential in terms of growth, and that’s undoubtedly a good thing. Solid, concise frameworks that allow a safe and level playing field for both player and operator has created a wide berth of entry for multiple international brands across the region. Given the windfall on revenue for governments, rather than seeing GGR go offshore, will undoubtedly prove to be a good thing for local economies, and has already proven to be a significant contributor to national budgets.

In hand with that development comes a surge in the quality of gaming available – as well as a more advanced menu of entertainment experiences – whether that be table games, instant games or slots. I’m fully confident that the advantages of a safe, regulated market will continue to be felt by countries that have established a steady GGR growth rate and a favourable environment for doing business.

In general, how would you define the typical CEE player’s profile towards slots, instant and table games? What kind of entertainment are players looking for?

The typical CEE player mainly shares characteristics with those you’d find elsewhere in Europe. Having said that, the transition to online has indeed come later than in the West, so it is inevitable that we see games that have a lot in common with the land-base sector to appeal to players. We’re also seeing plenty of interest in instant games (especially when it comes to our stable of titles), which I believe to be a massive growth area. Why? The clue’s in the name – they give players a chance to enjoy instant entertainment, lighting-fast game rounds and a quickfire result.

Are there any particular territories that stand out for you as having a unique player demographic?

While we’re certainly not a brand that believes in a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to global delivery, from personal experience I can say that the extent that one sees unique player demographics vary from country to country is relatively minimal. A greater factor that shapes delivery of product, and in effect defining the demographics of the players you deliver to in each market – is the infrastructure and accessibility. For example, with rural or highland areas, slower internet speeds are inevitable and therefore require more adaptable content that can either be leveraged via game engines to enhance the download speed, or alternatively through the application of light technical requirements for the game itself.

Having said that, CEE is digitising at an impressively fast pace. Heavy investment in high-speed broadband coverage can be observed throughout Europe, with 86% of the Czech Republic’s rural locations now connected to the internet, for instance, while Romania (as I’m sure any citizen there will be fast to tell you), has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world!

How should operators in the region be looking to tailor / customise their content to further drive retention and engagement?

There’s really no substitute for analysing the market in depth. That means closely studying the preferences of local players and the state-of-play for any potential competitors. Operators who get that process right can adapt their offering accordingly, thus driving revenue in the long-term.

We know that while session durations are relatively consistent across Europe, the average stake value is not. This is especially the case in the CEE region, where arguably the economic fallout from COVID-19 can be felt harder than most, which requires a gaming experience that can provide extended entertainment without draining player’s bank balances in minutes. This is especially the case for what is a hugely tech-savvy demographic – who are far more discerning than many outsiders would assume – and therefore require a solid product with the maths to back it up. Success here is all about authenticity, and players will recognise a lack of it from a mile off.

Gamification’s going to be a hot topic in the months ahead given the need for entertainment – as a market expert, what types of features do you believe will be key in 2021?

Tournaments are very strong right now – and formats that allow players to compete against each other in real time are going to be a mainstay in gaming development this year. I see this as being indicative that providing players with an additional sense of competition, such as pitting players against players through formats like multiplayer gameplay, is a whole new level of gamification in itself that can do wonders for making your products more interesting for your audience locked down at home.

I’m particularly excited about what multiplayer can offer, and we’re taking this area very seriously. They’re going to be a serious asset when it comes to providing an additional dimension of gameplay. Combine that with faster rounds with instant games (which are very hot right now), as well as the opportunity for more varied stakes – and you have a lightning-fast experience that can create a hugely exciting betting environment and really drive engagement and retention.

Ukraine of course is going to be very closely watched – how would you rate the regulation process so far and do you believe we’re on track to go live by mid-next year?

We’ve seen good progress in Ukraine since July last year when online gambling was officially made legal – and the government has been working hard to get a regulatory framework in place, with a commission already formed to monitor the issuing of licenses to casino operators.

It is also expected that the number of licences that the authorities choose to grant will be limited – this, just like we’ve recently seen in Argentina, means that we have a queue of foreign operators waiting for certification, and I predict will start seeing the results show in around six months. I look forward to contributing towards the creation of a safe and regulated gaming environment for all, as well as seeing the benefits that gaming revenue will bring to our national economy – just as it has for other regulated CEE territories. The future is certainly looking bright!

And last but not least, are there any leading figures or businesses you can recommend to our readers for 2021 inspiration?   

The biggest source of inspiration to me personally continues to be the fantastic team of staff we’ve got right here at Evoplay Entertainment. The tremendous success we’ve enjoyed as a company drives me to strive for more, and I genuinely believe that when we work together as a company, there is almost nothing we can’t achieve.

Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from your own accomplishments, no matter how large or small. It’s a reminder that your greatest days lie ahead – something that’s particularly important to remember in the current circumstances!

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