George Olekszy, Play’n GO: “Rich Wilde and the Tome Insanity has become one of the most significant new games of 2024”

George Olekszy, Head of Game Retention at Play
George Olekszy, Head of Game Retention at Play

Play’n GO’s head of game retention talks about the incredible reception of “Rich Wilde and the Tome Insanity”, the keys to making a game successful and what the company has in store for the coming months.

Exclusive interview.- Rich Wilde and the Tome Insanity – the latest in Play’n GO’s world-leading Book of Dead series – was released just a few weeks ago, but is already shaping up to become one of the casino entertainment studio’s biggest launches ever.

Focus Gaming News spoke to Play’n GO’s head of game retention George Olekszy to find out what goes into a blockbuster new game.

Rich Wilde and the Tome of Insanity was released at the end of May and quickly became a player favourite. To what do you attribute this success?

It’s an understatement to say that huge expectations were going into the release of Tome of Insanity. As the follow-up to Tome of Madness, and the latest in the legendary Dead series, we know that millions of slots fans worldwide are going to be checking this game out. We simply can’t disappoint as the pressure is well and truly on!

Fortunately, the results so far have been beyond impressive. The number of rounds players tracked at 160 per cent the average during its first week. Player count was up 57 per cent on the same metric. It’s not just been one of our biggest releases of the year; it’s one of the most significant new games of 2024, full stop.

What do I attribute to the success? In short, I think we’ve built an instant classic. It’s everything Play’n GO does so well: an engaging narrative, renowned IP, the best gameplay in the business, and of course audio and visuals that carry the player into another world.

The game is on its way to becoming one of the top slots of the year. Did you expect such a significant impact?

Sometimes you know when you are onto something special very early, and this was definitely the case with Tome of Insanity. We do extensive internal testing on all of our new games before they get released into the wild, and everyone at Play’n GO who got the chance to play this one during that process knew we were onto a winner. It’s nice to see the players clearly agree with us.

When discussing a good game, many say that gameplay and bonuses or rewards are what matter most. However, others claim that the story, graphics, and sound also play a fundamental role. What is your opinion on this?

From my perspective, I don’t think it’s possible to isolate individual elements of a game and say something like: ‘This title succeeded because it has great graphics’.

Of course, everything you’ve listed there is important when building slots. And if you deliver something sub-par across any of those elements, the game isn’t going to find an audience.

I’d say the real ‘secret’ of great slots is found in the alchemy of bringing gameplay, narratives, audio, visuals and more together in such a way that the end result is greater than the sum of the parts. It’s in the small details. Sometimes you might look at the audio of a game by itself and think it is nothing special. But if it perfectly matches the rhythms and feel of the gameplay, elevating the entire experience, then that’s the perfect choice.

Undoubtedly, Rich Wilde and the Tome of Insanity has set a high standard. Does this pose an additional challenge for you when developing new games?

We’re always pushing ourselves anyway. Yes, Tome of Insanity raises the bar, but I think I speak for everyone at Play’n GO when I say that the challenge of always going one better is a big part not just of our success, but also a reason to get out of bed every morning!

It’s no secret that we’ve always been adventurous when it comes to new games. We’re not scared of trying something new, because we’re a team of slots fans who want to move the medium forward.

“we’ve always been adventurous when it comes to new games.”

George Olekszy, head of game retention at Play’n GO.

Play’n GO has already released 21 games so far this year. What releases do you have planned for the coming months?

We’re really proud to have released so many premium games already in 2024. Remember, there’s an added challenge for us because we live in so many regulated markets (more than 30 at last count). This means there’s a huge amount of planning and coordination required every time we launch a new title; it’s not just a case of pushing the game out into the world.

In terms of what’s coming next, I can assure you we have a packed roadmap in place for the rest of the year, with some of our most exciting titles ever. As I always say, Play’n GO is not in the business of disappointing!

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