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Unwrapping seasonal games with Gaming Corps, Booming Games, 1X2 Network and Apparat Gaming

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Unwrapping seasonal games with Gaming Corps, Booming Games, 1X2 Network and Apparat Gaming
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With the festive season fast upon us, we spoke with four game studios to understand the opportunities that come with Christmas slots and some of the challenges they face in developing them

 

Just like the retailers and their eagerly anticipated Christmas TV ads, it’s that time of year again when studios unwrap their Christmas-themed slots. These games often dominate casino game lobbies for the next few weeks, allowing operators to cash in on the festive fun.

But with such a short shelf-life, these games can be challenging to develop. They need to come with a captivating theme that stands out from the other Christmas and themed slots, combine a striking design with a big sound, and still put players on the edge of their seats with every spin.

In short, they need to deliver in the same way as any other game leaving the studio’s production line would. But with such a short window of time in which to monetise these games, developers must balance the resources required to produce them with the return they will generate.

Many studios simply reskin an existing, proven game from their portfolio, but others believe they must still go through the full development cycle if they are to deliver the quality players expect. This includes Gaming Corps, whose Christmas cracker – Xmas Plinko – has just hit the market.

 

Connor Blinman, Head of Games at Gaming Corps, said: “Christmas games are hugely popular and can generate significant revenues even though they are only played for a handful of weeks. But to hit the mark with players, the game must deliver the fun, thrills and big win potential they have come to expect.

“This year, we wanted to bring some Christmas magic to the plinko format which is now hugely popular in markets across the world. We are the first Christmas-themed plinko game to hit operator lobbies, and bringing together a festive theme and soundtrack with the plinko experience was something we knew players would enjoy.

“Xmas Plinko has been through the full development cycle to ensure it provides the quality to not only meet but exceed player expectations. This includes rebuilding our plinko engine from the ground up, allowing for better game performance and delivering the best quality to players.”

With Xmas Plinko, players are encouraged to jingle all the way and drop into the holiday spirit as they watch their baubles cascade down the tree and land among the presents where they have the chance to win 3,200x their stake.

The game sits at the high end of the volatility scale – because there can never be enough excitement at Christmas – and has a return to player of 97.05%.

Some studios really do get into the Christmas spirit, and that’s certainly the case at Booming Games. The developer recently launched its festive title, Holly Jolly Bonanza.

You can’t not feel the festive fun when firing up the reels on this five-reel, six-row slot, which is packed with enough joy to make you feel like a kid on Christmas morning. There are plenty of bonus features to unwrap, too.

This starts with a stocking filler – when a win forms, winning symbols are removed and new symbols cascade down like snow from the sky, filling the spaces and potentially forming new wins. The cascades keep coming until there are no more win combinations available.

The festivities keep going with Free Spins. These are triggered when four Scatter symbols come down the chimney and land anywhere on the reels, awarding ten Free Games. If three or more Scatters land during Free Spins, another five Free Games are awarded.

But that’s not all. Random Multipliers can appear at any time during Free Spins, with a max Multiplier of up to 100x for truly Santa-sized wins. Of course, if you’re name is on the naughty list and you still want to unwrap Free Spins, there’s the option to Buy the Bonus.

 

Moritz Blume, Director of Product at Booming Games, said: “The holiday-themed slots, particularly those centred around Christmas, exemplify how seasonal games can significantly enhance the studio’s overall performance.

“These games actively engage in various Christmas promotions, collaborating with both operators and affiliates, providing an additional boost to their performance.

“With Holly Jolly Bonanza, we have dropped several popular bonus features that appear in our other titles firstly because it makes for thrilling festive gameplay, but also so that players get a taste of what Booming Games’ slots are like if they haven’t played them before.”

Of course, Christmas slots are just one season that studios produce games for with Halloween being another popular holiday. But there really is no limit to the imagination of studios looking to deliver games around popular events.

Apparat Gaming, the developer of slots with a German accent, launched its October Bier Frenzy title ahead of the world-famous Munich Oktoberfest which took place back in September. Again, the studio looked to deliver thrilling gameplay alongside the theme via Free Spins with a Collector mechanism in the Beer Frenzy Bonus.

This is triggered when three Scatters land anywhere on the reels. When this happens, the soundtrack of the Bavarian brass band changes to a famous Oktoberfest party song – the lyrics basically say the drunker you are, the easier it is to sing.

Free Spins are then awarded and as they play out, players collect the Beer symbols that are served onto the reels. If the player collects 40 of these symbols, an additional 10 Free Spins are awarded with any winnings from the Beer symbols Multiplied by x2, x3 or x10.

During Free Spins, players need to keep their slightly blurry eyes peeled for the Beerman as when he appears together with the Beer symbols, he drinks them all and Collects all of the values that are on the symbols.

If there is a Wild but no Beer symbols, he cheers the bar with a “Prost” and turns random symbols into Beers before collecting their values.

 

Thomas Wendt, Co-founder, and Director at Apparat Gaming, says the mechanics of the themed game are just as important as the theme itself.

“While players are often drawn to themed games around that seasonal event, they still expect to be entertaining and for the game to deliver the excitement and big-win potential they are seeking.

“That is exactly what we have done with October Bier Frenzy, paying great attention to the gameplay and in particular the Free Spins/collector feature. By doing this, we increase the longevity of the game beyond the time the Munich Oktoberfest takes place.”

Themed games have been around for many years, and there’s a strong appetite among players to engage with them. This presents opportunities for studios to produce seasonal slots, but they absolutely must nail the quality and experience of these games – no gimmicks, if you like.

1X2 Network is another studio that gets into the festive spirit with two games hitting operator stockings this year – Sweet Candy Christmas and Megaways Jack Frost from its Iron Dog Studio brand.

The latter is the latest instalment in the developer’s Megaways Jack series, which has been a hit with players. By taking what is essentially a game franchise and launching a Christmas special, the studio believes its Christmas slot will top the charts.

It sees players venture to the North Pole where they are treated to a stunning, snowy experience packed with bonus features including winning symbols that freeze and shatter to be replaced by new ones, as well as reels that lock in place with an enchanting icy border that gradually freezes the entire reel.

If that wasn’t enough, Free Spins can be triggered with players taken into an icy snowstorm where Multipliers and the Jack Frost feature come into play. Jack Frost showers the player with bonuses such as Symbol Swaps and Wilds in both Free Spins and the base game.

 

Alex Ratcliffe, CPO at 1X2 Network, said: “’Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to get into the spirit of the season than by developing not just one but two Christmas-themed slot games.

“This year, we decided to leverage our popular Megaway Jack series by adding a Christmas game to the series. This allows us to tap into the existing popularity of the game and to deliver a fun, festive experience to players with a brand and mechanic they already know and love.

“Our other seasonal slot, Sweet Candy Christmas, is just as fun to play and combines the ever-popular Scatter Pay mechanic with the most wonderful time of the year. The candy theme set in a Winter Wonderland has one last surprise for eagle-eyed players who may recognise who is driving Santa’s sleigh.”

Some studios are clearly up for the challenge and enjoy the benefits of developing and launching themed games, both in the near term while they are “in season” and also in the long-term kickback in the form of stronger operator relationships and player awareness.

Of course, pick the right theme – such as this year’s St Patrick’s Day release Leprechaun Charms – and you can end up with a fun, themed game that can be played all year round. So, a slot game for life, not just for Christmas. “

 

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IDnow Bridges the AI-human Divide with New Expert-led Video Verification Solution

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IDnow, a leading identity verification provider in Europe, has unveiled VideoIdent Flex, a new version of its expert-led video verification service that blends advanced AI technology with human interaction. The human-based video call solution, supported by AI, has been designed and built to boost customer conversion rates, reduce rising fraud attempts, increase inclusivity, and tackle an array of complex online verification scenarios, while offering a high-end service experience to end customers.

The company’s original expert-led product, VideoIdent, has been a cornerstone in identity verification for over a decade, serving the strictest requirements in highly regulated industries across Europe. VideoIdent Flex, re-engineered specifically for the UK market, represents a significant evolution, addressing the growing challenges of identity fraud, compliance related to Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes and ensuring fair access and inclusivity in today’s digital world outside of fully automated processes.

As remote identity verification becomes more crucial yet more challenging, VideoIdent Flex combines high-quality live video identity verification with hundreds of trained verification experts, thus ensuring that genuine customers gain equal access to digital services while effectively deterring fraudsters and money mules. Unlike fully automated solutions based on document liveness and biometric liveness features, this human-machine collaboration not only boosts onboarding rates and prevents fraud but also strengthens trust and confidence in both end users and organisations. VideoIdent Flex can also serve as a fallback service in case a fully automated solution fails.

Bertrand Bouteloup, Chief Commercial Officer at IDnow, said: “VideoIdent Flex marks a groundbreaking advancement in identity verification, merging AI-based technology with human intuition. In a landscape of evolving fraud tactics and steady UK bank branch closures, our solution draws on our decade’s worth of video verification experience and fraud insights, empowering UK businesses to maintain a competitive edge by offering a white glove service for VIP onboarding. With its unique combination of KYC-compliant identity verification, real-time fraud prevention solutions, and expert support, VideoIdent Flex is a powerful tool for the UK market.”

Whereas previously firms may have found video identification solutions to be excessive for their compliance requirement or out of reach due to costs, VideoIdent Flex opens up this option by customising checks as required by the respective regulatory bodies in financial services, mobility, telecommunications or gaming, to offer a streamlined solution fit for every industry and geography.

Bouteloup added: “Identity verification is incredibly nuanced; it’s as intricate as we are as human beings. This really compounds the importance of adopting a hybrid approach to identity – capitalising on the dual benefits of advanced technology when combined with human knowledge and awareness of social cues. With bank branches in the UK closing down, especially in the countryside, and interactions becoming more and more digital, our solution offers a means to maintain a human relationship between businesses and their end customers, no matter their age, disability or neurodiversity.

“VideoIdent Flex is designed from the ground up for organisations that cannot depend on a one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring their customers are who they say they are. In a world where fraud is consistently increasing, our video capability paired with our experts adds a powerful layer of security, especially for those businesses and customers that require a face-to-face interaction.”

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Strive Gaming, the award-winning real money gaming platform provider for North America, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Smith as its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). With an illustrious career spanning over two decades in the gaming industry, Smith brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Strive.

Smith’s impressive career includes significant leadership roles at William Hill, Rank Group, Flutter Entertainment (owners of FanDuel) and Game Play Network. He has been instrumental in the technical development and growth of these businesses, each at varying levels of maturity and size.

At Rank Group, one of the UK’s leading land-based casino and bingo businesses, Smith oversaw the company-wide expansion of their Player Account Management (PAM) and Omni-Channel experience, demonstrating his ability to drive innovation and scalability within complex environments. This experience is extremely valid to tribal and commercial casinos alike who are figuring out how to create an ideal connection between land based and digital experiences.

With additional experience across Class III and Class II gaming, and a deep understanding of US regulatory and technical complexities, Smith brings a unique perspective to Strive Gaming. Known for his hands-on approach to technical leadership, Smith is committed to driving innovation and excellence within the organization.

“I’m thrilled to join the talented team at Strive Gaming,” said Smith. “Having worked with their PAM product from a customer perspective, I have firsthand experience of its quality and potential. I am confident that together, we can further evolve the company and achieve our vision of becoming the number one PAM provider in North America.”

Smith’s appointment underscores Strive Gaming’s commitment to fostering innovation and delivering cutting-edge solutions to its clients. His vast experience and proven track record make him an invaluable addition to the leadership team.

“We are delighted to welcome Ian Smith to Strive Gaming as our new CTO,” said Max Meltzer, CEO of Strive Gaming. “Ian has rare characteristics; exceptional hands-on skill, experience and yet a sense of calm, humility and above all a desire to help talent around him flourish. This coupled with his extensive industry experience in the gaming industry make him the right person to lead our technical initiatives and helping the business achieve its goals”

 

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Golden Matrix Acquisition of MeridianBet Group Receives High Praise from IPO Edge

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Esteemed financial analysts at IPO Edge recognize the merged Golden Matrix and MeridianBet Group entity as a burgeoning global gaming leader with a promising financial outlook and innovation

Golden Matrix Group Incorporated (NASDAQ:GMGI) (Golden Matrix) and MeridianBet Group, the newly-consolidated entity in the online gaming world, are honored to receive positive analysis from IPO Edge, a leading portal known for its insightful and credible financial analyses.

The distinguished coverage highlighted the Golden Matrix acquisition of MeridianBet Group as having a significant potential to reshape the gaming landscape, focusing on the combined entity’s strategic positioning for expansive growth and technological innovation.

The entire analysis can be found at: https:/ /IPO-Edge. com/strike-gold-with-gmgi-and-meridianbets-global-gaming-powerhouse/

IPO Edge Insights

The recent article by IPO Edge analysts casts a spotlight on the strategic merits of the $300 million acquisition of MeridianBet Group by Golden Matrix. According to the portal, this bold move is poised to establish a global gaming juggernaut with projected sales reaching $182 million by 2025. The merger not only signifies a monumental leap in market expansion, spanning over 15 markets including Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia but also underscores the entity’s prowess in emerging markets such as Mexico, Tanzania and Peru.

A Story of Strategic Growth and Innovation

At the heart of the Golden Matrix acquisition of MeridianBet Group lies a shared commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction as the combined group owns a scalable tech platform that leverages machine learning for continuous improvement, alongside unique betting features like Empty Bet, which empowers players to craft their own bets. This synergy of technological advancement and market intelligence sets the stage for an unprecedented growth trajectory in the online gaming sector.

Financial Prudence and Future Prospects

Underscoring the merger’s financial strategy, IPO Edge commends the conservative financing approach, with an anticipated 2x leverage post-merger. This prudent fiscal management, coupled with the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Brian Goodman, enhances the company’s capacity for further strategic mergers and acquisitions.

The CSR Segment

The merger’s dedication to corporate social responsibility, with initiatives aimed at converting players into patrons of meaningful CSR programs, distinguishes it beyond financials and market expansion. This commitment reflects a broader vision of achieving profitability while fostering a positive social impact.

The Market Potential Not Yet Anticipated

As pointed out by this analysis, the market may not fully recognize Golden Matrix’s potential yet. The company’s enterprise value is close to $400 million. That compares with multiples of eight times for Caesar’s Entertainment and a whopping 22 times for DraftKings, according to Sentieo, an AI-enabled research platform.

For more information about the Golden Matrix, please visit https:/ /GoldenMatrix. com/company/ or https:/ /ir.MeridianBet. com/.

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