The Slotegrator team interviews Vladimir Malakchi, Chief Business Development Officer at Evoplay Entertainment, their new partner.
Online casino software provider Slotegrator is building thriving relationships with its partners, regularly learning about new business practices, up-to-date tendencies and innovative solutions within the gambling landscape. This time the company’s team talked to their new partner, game developer Evoplay Entertainment, addressing their questions to its Chief Business Development Officer — Vladimir Malakchi.
Slotegrator: Greetings, Vladimir. Following Slotegrator and Evoplay Entertainment’s integration, we are excited to discover your vision of the iGaming market. First of all, it’s always interesting to hear how a person decides to start a career in the gambling sector. Can you please tell us how your path began?
Vladimir Malakchi: Prior to joining Evoplay Entertainment, my primary area of expertise had been marketing and sales. I played a key role in developing successful strategies to raise the overall business potential of several tech companies.
The first time I was introduced to gambling was in 2017 when I started to work with casino operators, helping them to implement the latest blockchain solutions. I already had a passion for esports and the gambling industry provided a great professional interest. It influenced my choice to join Evoplay Entertainment as Chief Business Development Officer three years later, and I’m delighted with how this year has been.
Presenting the industry’s first 3D/VR RPG-inspired slot, ‘Dungeon: Immortal Evil, has been a particular highlight of my time so far. The game impressed me both as a fan of RPG games and as someone who is always on the lookout for innovative new products.
For a long time, I’ve been very interested in the creative and unique games showcased by Evoplay Entertainment. It left me with no doubt that this was exactly the company I was looking for. My experience so far proves I was right. We’ve got a very exciting development pipeline and I’m looking forward to showing what we’ve got!
S: The role of Chief Business Development Officer is a major responsibility. How do you feel about it and what are the company’s achievements you are most proud of?
VM: I’m responsible for determining the company’s commercial strategy. I am really proud of the milestones Evoplay Entertainment has reached since the beginning of the year.
The company has added dozens of innovative games to its catalogue, including the first-ever RPG-inspired ‘hack-and-slash’ slot game, Dungeon: Immortal Evil, which was launched to great acclaim at ICE London 2020.
We have also developed a variety of cross-channel offerings, notably Penalty Shoot-out and Football Manager, which proved hugely successful at providing content-hungry sports fans with alternative entertainment during the pause on live fixtures.
Evoplay Entertainment has also added its first branded engine, Spinential. It elevates the player experience and by emphasizing the importance of every spin, as well as accelerating loading and download speeds. We were finalists in the SBC Awards and Login Casino Awards and became the first Ukrainian game supplier to be shortlisted for ‘Game of the Year’ at the EGR Operator Awards. With all of that under our belt, there is more to come in the future!
S: That sounds exciting. What business strategies is Evoplay Entertainment implementing?
VM: For 2020 we developed a comprehensive business strategy with primary focuses on B2B and B2C marketing, aimed at reaching an ever-growing army of international fans. So far, Evoplay Entertainment has expanded its player reach to Romania, Bulgaria, and Italy, and we’re about to enter Croatia.
Although our primary focus is currently on Europe, it’s safe to say we’re always looking for new audiences to whom we can introduce our content. We’ve also launched a couple of social casino games with some of Europe’s leading providers. We’re proud to work with high-profile partners from the streaming community including Jooxlan Casinos Twitch, Jonas Kyllonen (Mr. Gamble), Slot Gamblers, and Motamashe, who are real fan favourites.
S: What’s your vision of game development? Should we expect more innovative solutions to the gameplay of RNG games entering the market soon? How do you see the social casino game industry?
VM: The gambling industry is currently undergoing an era of transformation caused by changing consumer demand. Players are becoming more tech-savvy and are demanding that operators keep pace with new trends and technology.
Such technologies as Blockchain, IoT, and VR are changing everything in every field. Virtual Reality is among the latest major inventions paving the way for more exciting playing experience. VR Headsets will also become an even more prevalent addition to the world of online gambling.
Gamification has been steadily climbing up the agenda for several years now, with content developers offering a wider variety of, for example, bonus options and accumulation systems. The pattern is a boon to player engagement and will continue to help drive customer retention in the period to come.
Another interesting area is social casino games that aim to increase the interaction between players to create real communities linked by their favorite games. That sector is searching for new initiatives and closer alignment with regulators to shape a future that should attract a wider demographic of players to the social casino market.
S: What’s your gambling market predictions? What tendencies in a player’s behavior can you see right now and how are they likely to change? How will Evoplay Entertainment be meeting these demands?
VM: Recent years have brought some revolutionary ideas to the table and we expect to see them continue to develop. Evoplay Entertainment, as a game supplier with a user-centric approach to game development, focuses on customer experience optimization, operational flexibility, and innovation.
Players are searching for a more engaging gaming experience that goes beyond that offered by traditional slots. In today’s world, the conventional ‘spin and win’ approach simply won’t do. It can no longer grab the attention of players – especially Millennials – as it once did.
Another tendency amongst players that I would like to emphasize is a fondness for mobile-first content. Gamblers are spending more time and money enjoying entertainment on their smartphones and tablets, and this is a trend that will only grow stronger.
Evoplay entertainment’s own Q1 figures, for example, show that more than three-quarters of our traffic comes from mobile devices. Not only that, but mobile users play more often (every 4.2 days) than those who play on a desktop (every 6.7 days), so an increase in mobile usage is likely to boost overall levels of customer engagement.
Casino game streaming has also become popular. The casino section on Twitch is growing daily with top streamers reaching more than 6,000 viewers per video. It’s rapidly becoming one of our industry’s hottest trends, and suppliers and operators alike are taking notice.
Streaming also provides us with another way to garner feedback from both existing and potential customers. By monitoring the number of people watching it and the comments they make, we can assess players’ response to a particular game. Finally, streaming has boosted the visibility of our content in an efficient way, so it’s a fantastic way of introducing new titles to our audience.
Cross-channel offerings will also play an ever-more important role going forward. Players will be more likely to move between product verticals in the future, and that fluidity means that the boundaries between those verticals will blur.
S: What advice can you give to casino operators on how to increase players’ attention to a specific type of game content?
VM: Whether a user chooses to enjoy an online casino, sportsbook or social casino, they must be offered a personalised entertainment experience, regardless of whether they are doing so on a mobile, tablet, or laptop.
S: What do you need to keep in mind when building a strategy for a gambling business?
VM: Flexibility, innovation and a customer-centric approach are the three most important factors in determining a commercial strategy. This year has challenged every business’s ability to adapt and react to global changes.
With the cancellation of sporting events, this spring it was vital to provide players and casino operators with an online alternative. The boldest game suppliers developed fresh and exciting gameplay that offered something genuinely different. They showed how slots can revolutionise the betting market.
As providers, we need to pay closer attention to the needs of operators. By segmenting audiences by age, preferences for gaming genres, themes, bonus features, mechanics, and visual components, suppliers can better understand players’ needs. For example, a product that is in demand in Europe will be significantly different from that which occupies a leading position in the lobby of the Asian casino.
This is why analyses of both our own and our competitors’ game content can help us understand our strengths and weaknesses and improve Evoplay Entertainment’s brand presence and performance.