Top Tips: Choosing the right games for your platform, by Andy Harris


Realistic Games’ Andy Harris has 20 years’ experience as an operator and supplier in the betting and gaming industry. After managing a number of Grosvenor Casinos, he moved to the Rank Group’s online division and became head of business development. He then joined BetVictor to oversee their Casino and Games operation, before becoming director of gaming at Ladbrokes. Since working at Realistic Games, he has secured partnerships with some of the world’s leading operators.

Just days before operators and suppliers from around the world gather to do business at ICE Totally Gaming, Harris gave his tips for choosing the right games – whether your company is new to the sector or an established operator on the look-out for fresh content.

Tip 1: Big is not always best

“The world is not short of games providers and many of them are now massive, having made a fortune out of lucrative deals. But size is not always a prerequisite of success for you the operator and established suppliers don’t need to be your default choice.

“For one, their games are probably everywhere and won’t provide you with the unique content new customers crave. They may not be particularly flexible on price or delivery either, offering you a take it or leave it deal. Many also insist their games enjoy the lion’s share of marketing, which is fine if they produce good revenue, and not so good if they don’t.

“It’s a braver decision to choose content from a boutique supplier, but it’s often a better one too. What ultimately matters is the quality of the games, not the size of the supplier.”

Tip 2: One to cross off your list

“Whatever you call it – cross-platform, multi-channel, multi-device – sourcing games that are properly-provisioned for the most popular phone, tablet and desktop devices and operating systems is imperative. Mobile gaming is particularly important, not least because it has seen massive recent growth.

“Not all suppliers, despite their claims, really optimise their games for, or effectively deliver them to, the different screen sizes and operating systems required to maximise revenues. Far too many mobile games still utilise poor design, have simply been scaled to transform from a phone game to a tablet one, and don’t use good device detection software.”

Tip 3: Licensed to consume on the premises

“Never the sexiest subject, but licensing is more important now than it’s ever been. The days of getting by or skating on regulatory thin ice are over. As more territories open up there are more hoops to jump through, and your suppliers need to be careful that their house is in order.

“It’s not just your operating licence that will be scrutinised. You need to make sure they have the correct accreditation for the territories you want to operate in too.  It may mean more work for the lawyers, who are having a rare old time at the moment, but due diligence before the contract is signed will save you a whole heap of problems if things are only discovered afterwards.”

Tip 4: Innovators have it licked

“So, ‘the Oscar for most over-used word in eGaming goes to...’ Is it innovative? Is it really? What’s innovative about it, then? Tell me why it’s different to other games in your own stable or games I can get elsewhere? What are its USPs? If it doesn’t have any, it’s not innovative. If I was working for an operator these days I’d be interested in innovation because there is so much similar content out there that it often looks like a giant tub of vanilla ice cream.

“Now I like vanilla ice cream. Millions of people like vanilla ice cream. Vanilla sells by the bucket-load and makes its manufacturers lots of money. But I like other flavours too. So do other people, some of whom might be looking for an alternative to vanilla. But, if you’re offering me other flavours, with nuts, sauces and a fancy new cone make sure that’s what it is – and not vanilla again after a few licks.”

Tip 5: The price is right

“Don’t be blinded by the price. If a supplier is willing to do a deal that cuts their own throat, ask yourself why. Mobile is more important than ever and keeping up with new operating systems and devices is a constant battle. Ultimately, you get what you pay for when it comes to the work your supplier puts in here.

“The phrase ‘revenue share’ is a transparent one; you both share the revenue. What is more important than a percentage point here or there is that the game is compatible to multiple devices and is not prevented from generating this revenue. It will do so if it is a good game on all platforms.

“Remember, the less money that returns to the supplier results in less innovation, and less research and development that benefits both the operator and the end user. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a 75th re-skin of a five reel slot set in ancient Egypt and featuring a leprechaun then crack on!”

Jan 23, 2015, 1:34 PM
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