A pragmatic approach to entertainment and mobile is key
Yossi Barzely, Chief Business Development Officer, Pragmatic Play.
The company has been growing in amazing pace, but to continue this process it needs a clear vision and plans for the future. What are these plans?
We are unquestionably one of the leading providers in the igaming sector, with a firmly established multi-product portfolio spanning multiple tier one operators in a diverse selection of regulated markets. This is the key message that we will convey from Stand N8-120 at ICE Totally Gaming 2019.
One of the core themes Pragmatic Play will be promoting at the show is the upcoming launch of our brand-new live casino products, delivered from a newly-built, state-of-the-art studio. We will be debuting an exciting range of products including blackjack, roulette, baccarat and three card poker – a landmark moment for us that further underlines our market position at the forefront of the igaming industry. We are diversifying our product offering, delivering bigger and better experiences to effectively engage with many regulated markets.
We are a market leader when it comes to in-game promotions and CRM tooling, and this is an area that will continue to expand as we strengthen our mutually-sustainable relationships with our partners.
Last year Pragmatic Play launched a lot of new entertaining games. Can we expect any new games to be released in the upcoming months?
Absolutely. We are always looking to push the boundaries when it comes to delivering the exciting gameplay that players look for and can keep them engaged in the long term. Popularity with players and profitability for operators are central to our development cycle of releasing two games a month, and we plan to expand this release schedule in the second half of the year.
Alongside our landmark live casino launch we will be unveiling a number of new video slots in 2019, bringing our in-house content portfolio to more than 100 highly-regarded titles. Among these new video slots will be Safari King, a 4×5, 50 paylines video slot featuring immersive graphics and an involving free spins mode.
We have a clearly defined product roadmap incorporating several verticals, and you can expect plenty of announcements from us as 2019 progresses – watch this space.
What was your company’s biggest achievement in 2018?
While it would be tough to boil down our great progress in 2018 to one significant achievement, I would say that a key indicator of our ongoing delivery against our strategic ambitions was our entrance into new regulated markets, most recently Sweden following the regulation of the country’s igaming market. Our products are already live in Sweden with tier one brands including PokerStars and Svenska Spel.
Our focus is on growing our footprint in regulated markets, and to that end we have significantly boosted our presence in markets including Spain, Italy and Portugal, signing with operators such as Scommesse Italia, Bet.pt and Casino Barcelona.
The strength of our games portfolio was also recognized. Wolf Gold’s enduring quality and popularity led to it winning game of the year awards at both the Malta Gaming Awards and 5 Star Awards.
What do you think about the overall future of slots?
It is fair to say that player expectations have grown at a tremendous rate over the last few years, and with more players than ever entering the igaming ecosystem it is increasingly important that we meet these varied expectations with new and innovative experiences. We need to deliver compelling, player-centric content which goes beyond traditional gaming and into the realm of entertainment. In my view, 2019 is set to be the year of design – the year in which we will see a significant shift in the industry landscape towards designing better and more innovative experiences.
With that being said, it is vital that we do not lose sight of the core fundamentals – that is to say, the excitement that comes with spinning the reels. While new experiences will drive player engagement, it is solid, well-modelled core gameplay that will ultimately see players retained in the long-term.
How is the business structured in terms of offices/locations, employees and their specialisms?
We have developed Pragmatic Play over the last five years to become a truly global company, with employees all over the world working collaboratively to deliver against our vision of innovation and excellence. From our primary hub in Malta, we place a great deal of emphasis on promoting a team-oriented culture that puts trust in our employees, giving them the autonomy they need to fulfil their potential, whether they work as part of our talented group of game designers or ever-expanding commercial team.
How much of your business is now being driven via mobile devices, and how do you expect this to grow over the next 12-24 months?
With regard to the pace at which technology develops and the manner in which this industry is taking advantage of the opportunities it presents, I would say that we are through the mobile story now – many players now make handheld devices their first port of call.
As such, at Pragmatic Play we design all of our products with a mobile-first focus in mind. Studies have shown that a load time of even a couple of seconds can lead to players closing a game or app, and we ensure that all of our games load rapidly on mobile, even on older 3G connections, while our user interface adapts seamlessly to any screen.
In an increasingly technology-dependent and on-the-go world, mobile will continue to rule the roost.