Malta-based game developer Playson has been very, very busy. In addition to the new slots they’ve released over the summer, the company has expanded its operations into Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Romania, forging partnerships that will bring its games to thousands of lucky new players. Such good work does not come without recognition; the company’s Business Development Manager, Lars Kollind, recently won Sales Idol of the year at iGaming Idol 2019.
Playson’s portfolio of exciting games includes variations on classic themes like fruit and ancient or exotic civilizations as well as some unique gaming experiences that you won’t see replicated by any other provider.
Hot on the heels of their very productive summer, Slotegrator sat down with Playson’s Head of Product, Vsevolod Lapin, to find out what’s driving the company’s impressive success.
On slot creation
Slotegrator: How do you come up with slot topics and storylines?
Vsevolod Lapin: We always keep a close eye on what the market needs and we combine this with tracking key trends in the industry. We also have some very inspired game developers, which helps.
S: Do some current trends inspire you or do you prefer to stick to classics when creating slots?
VL: It really is a mix of trends and classic concepts. You always want to innovate but not to the degree whereby you ignore the heritage of some classic games. They’re classics for a reason, after all.
S: How often do game developers need to release games to stay successful?
VL: It all depends on the market you’re releasing into and your resources as a company. There must be a balance. You don’t want to saturate the market or steal the limelight from well-performing releases just because you have a predetermined schedule, but at the same time you need to keep up a profile. I think it’s more about being flexible than having a strict regime.
S: Can you give a few tips for beginners in slot creation? What should they start with and what aspects should they keep in mind?
VL: Try and play as many games as possible – no one ever got worse by having more knowledge! It’s important to get the fundamentals right as you can always add to things, but essentially great gameplay comes from solid foundations. It’s also prudent to learn just as much from your mistakes as your successes as they both build up your core knowledge.
S: Could you share the stages of your slot creation process? What do you start with and what are the main stages of the process?
VL: Knowing your target audience is paramount. Targeting their needs leads to a suitable maths concept. This again is a great grounding, and from there you can develop good visuals and sound which enhances the experience. Then it’s just a case of polishing it until it’s perfect.
S: How can you create a slot that will appeal to both beginning players and high rollers?
VL: The most accessible games for different levels of players are simple, straightforward and fun. A solid concept with recognizable, eye-catching artwork combined with medium volatility will be attractive to both newcomers and seasoned players.
On slot promotion
S: What are your strategies to inspire new gamblers to play your slots?
VL: We have already hosted a number of big-money tournaments such as All Hail The Solar Queen and Endless Summer, and these have been a big draw for new players. We’ve also been enhancing our slots with cutting edge audio and visuals to make the gaming experience more immersive.
S: What are your game advertising tools and how do you promote new slots?
VL: We use a wide range of advertising tools to promote our latest titles such as PR, affiliates, social media, general notifications, tournaments, and jackpots. We also focus on producing good games in general, so that players look forward to our new releases.
S: What should the slot have, so that the player will choose it instead of all the others?
VL: The first thing that players see when they enter the casino lobby is the game icon, so that needs to stand out and be instantly recognisable. Word of mouth is also hugely important in getting players’ attention.
S: Do you think it is better to invent new features or provide popular ones to make a slot attractive?
VL: It all depends on what you call a popular mechanic and what you’re classifying as innovative. It’s always important to keep things fresh, but successful mechanics are always a sturdy foundation to build on.
S: How successful are tournaments as a marketing tool?
VL: Our tournaments have proven to be fantastic engagement tools and we’ve seen a marked increase in player numbers, bets and extended player session time.
A personal view on slots
S: Which slot topics and storylines are the most popular among players?
VL: There will always be perennial storylines and topics that excite players. The classics such as fruits, Egyptian-themed, and general treasure hunts are surefire ways to attract players.
S: How do you think the slot’s name influences its popularity?
VL: The names of slots are incredibly important. They need to be SEO friendly and give a hint of what the game has to offer, but most of all they should be catchy and memorable.
S: Name the components of the ideal slot, in your opinion.
VL: I think the right math mechanics, fluid playability and beautifully designed artwork and sound combine to make the perfect game.
S: What is your favorite slot in the Playson portfolio?
VL: It has to be Solar Queen - we’re truly proud of it. All our games are great to play, but personally, that’s the one that I play most often. We’re so proud of Solar Queen we named a tournament after it!
S: Why do you think slots are so popular among gamblers?
VL: There’s a sense of excitement that comes with the unpredictability of slots. Unlike many other forms of gambling, it’s immersive and tactile. Unlike the lottery where you’re almost a bystander, slots have an attractive physicality to the experience.
The story of the company
S: How have your slots changed over the course of your career? What is different in features, storylines, and the creation process?
VL: We change our approach to the creative process constantly. As an agile company, we are fortunate in that we can adapt and evolve to changes to make sure that we tailor our offering, making it the best fit for both our clients and Playson fans.
S: How has the gambling market changed and developed since you entered the online casino industry? What are the main differences you can name?
VL: The change in how dynamic the regulatory regimes are now. It’s a fascinating time to be in this industry with new markets opening up all the time.
S: Why did your company decide to focus on slots? Do you plan to introduce other types of games in the future, and why?
VL: We decided to focus on slots because it’s always interesting to work in a market that is constantly evolving, and it’s fascinating to invent and reinvent products. Yes, we plan to re-launch our video-poker and we have numerous other ideas under construction but we don’t want to spoil the surprises quite yet.
S: What are your plans for future development?
VL: We’ve had a very industrious year, but we’re not slowing down at any point soon. In fact, we plan to grow and expand our presence into new legal markets. Regarding slots, we have an exciting year on the horizon where we are enhancing our approach to game development, increasing our levels of innovation, and improving our future games.