branded slots receive a more optimal position

The apparent golden age of film and television that the public is currently experiencing is believed to be one of the main drivers behind the revival of branded slots.

These were the thoughts of Simon Hamon, Relax‘s newly elected CEO, who will participate in a panel discussion at SBC Summit Barcelona next week on this topic.

Prior to his appearance, Hammon discussed how branded slots compare to in-house original creations, with operator appeal reflecting brand selection and the impacts of social media on the slots industry.

CasinoBeats: Branded slot titles seem to be having a bit of a renaissance recently, what can you attribute that to?

Simon Hamon: There are many reasons why this is the case, including the fact that branded IP owners have become aware that there are huge revenue gains to be made in the igaming industry. . On top of that, on the developer side, there are now far fewer unknowns in the process of exploiting IP to attract players to a new game than even five years ago.

One of the main drivers of this renaissance is that we live in the golden age of film and television, there have never been so many gripping themes and narratives that capture the imagination of gamers as there are currently none.

Branded slots give providers the ability to release games that automatically receive a more optimal position in an operator’s lobby. This subsequent marketing support is then a valuable marketing tool for operators looking to dramatically increase their acquisition, retention and engagement.

Of course, using a branded IP is just one way to stand out from the crowd and create visibility or recognition, but it has proven to be effective in this area.

CB: In terms of data, is there a substantial difference between the performance of a branded slot machine and an original in-house version?

SH: Ultimately, the data will reflect how the game resonates with players, and that may be a result of its brand, but there are no hard and fast rules here. A branded slot can accumulate a higher than usual unique player base because it naturally generates more curiosity than an unbranded game.

It may even mean that it gets preferential operator positioning in lobbies, but what can often happen is that it falls much faster than another slot once the plot has settled down. faded.

In terms of statistics, the tangible return on investment and the financial performance of a production must be taken into account. Given the high level of competition in the video game industry, paying brand fees on top of existing costs can often mean they are less profitable than those using a company’s own intellectual property.

Game mechanics and gameplay are far more important in terms of ROI. Gamers will come back again and again to a game they enjoy, while a brand they know will only draw them back once if the game isn’t working. Combining a recognizable brand with engaging gameplay is the best of both worlds, but it’s easier said than done.

CB: How important is operator appeal in deciding which brand to select for slot machine development? Are they just used as an acquisition tool or is there more depth?


SH: Operators have a deep understanding of their customers and what works well in their lobbies, so we’re always keen to get their perspective on what players will find interesting. Ultimately, listening to our operational partners is the best step we can take to mitigate any risk of failure.

The power of branding as an acquisition tool is unquestionable. But investing in a brand is nevertheless a calculated risk. Knowing they’ll get an extra boost helps cover the cost of the investment, but it doesn’t guarantee success. The game under the brand is the real investment, it still has to be enjoyable so that it does not fall apart quickly, and that is what Relax promises in its products.

CB: Social media video platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, are the go-to apps for a younger demographic. Do you think the slots industry would approve of branded content based on social media influencers and how can the industry use these platforms to promote their branded titles?

SH: The biggest benefit the likes of TikTok and Instagram give us is that they are a window into the next generation of gamers. The slot industry can learn a lot from these channels, both in terms of user behavior and thematically.

In terms of promoting game brands on these platforms, the first step would be to ensure that the age limit is set for viewing such material. Second, it is important to adapt all messages and content to the platform itself.

Basically, in terms of formatting, this would mostly mean short, catchy, entertaining videos for TikTok and the use of the real-time story for Instagram.

On a deeper level, however, it’s important to stay human on these platforms and embody the brands in a channel-appropriate way. In the case of Relax, we frequently update our Instagram profile and use stories for live updates at events and in offices, just like an influencer would. This helps us stay relevant to our social media audiences.

CB: Studios usually have to pay a percentage of the profits to the brand licensee. How much does this delay vendors/operators and what impact does this have on the player experience?

SH: In reality, the player shouldn’t be impacted in the slightest. In this competitive market, providers should produce branded content to stand out from the crowd and not just as a means to win over operators.

This approach was the norm a few years ago, but operators won’t pay for it these days, nor should they be expected to. There are simply too many high-quality choices on the market to justify operators paying a premium for branded content that isn’t necessarily worth the investment.

CB: How does a studio decide which brand to use for their next release and what challenges do you face when developing a branded slot?

SH: It is essential to choose a brand that appeals to a large audience. If a brand is too niche, you risk putting off casual players. It’s also worth bearing in mind that avid fans of the brand might also be disappointed with the game if they feel the themes are distorted or the gameplay might more accurately reflect the IP.

A brand does not necessarily perform better, due to the expectations set by the brand association and it is very easy for fans of the brand to think it could have been done better.

An obvious challenge is that adding a brand to a location also means adding an extra level of endorsements from the brand owner, which can sometimes lead to a “too many bosses” situation. “.

Adhering to certain brands’ strict guidelines can also hamper the game’s production process, making the game more rigid that gamers are less likely to enjoy.

CB: Going forward, what could we see from branded slots in the near future that isn’t already available (other than a new IP address)?

SH: Being the company creating the brand experience or being part of the brand world is a smart way to combine several elements that make slots enjoyable for players. Some live casino providers have taken brand IP and made it into an integrated player experience, which is a good approach. It offers a more immersive player experience than just viewing a brand as a slot machine.

However, gaming under the brand is the real investment – it still has to be fundamentally enjoyable. Perfecting this combination of familiar brands and engaging gameplay will be a reliable path to success as we move forward.

iGaming Innovation will be one of the key aspects of this year’s SBC Summit Barcelona 2022, which will be held at Fira Barcelona Montjuïc from September 20-22.

This will see 6,000 delegates enjoy a 12-track conference covering all aspects of the international sports betting and online casino industries, an exhibition with 200 companies showcasing their latest innovations and a program of spectacular evening networking events.

Visit the SBC Summit Barcelona website to book your all-access or discounted group pass.

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