Chief Editor Chris Taylor from Online-Slot.co.uk spoke to Daniel Hansen, Head of B2C Marketing at Pragmatic Play in early summer. Based in the Philippines, he previously worked as the Chief Product Officer at Videoslots Casino.
The conversation with Daniel was frank and included questions about how 2022 went, what to expect this year, sequels, regulations in the UK, player needs/wants, slot themes, his favourite slot and Jackpot Play. Enjoy!
There are many contenders in our vast portfolio for the best-performing slot, however, last year Sugar Rush. The slot picked up multiple awards, namely being voted Game of the Year at the EGR Operator Awards 2022 and was both critically and commercially successful. The game has an amazing blend of easily understood mechanics and ever-increasing multipliers that are packaged in a popular theme.
Players with a sweet tooth for a consistently increasing bonus are in for a treat with this game! The slot of course offers a cash reward for creating a win, allowing players to quickly build huge hits in both the base game and free spins round. Providing an exciting maths model, fun graphics and simple yet surprisingly expansive features, there’s every possibility that Sugar Rush was not only the best-performing game of 2022 but will have the staying power to become one of our classics like The Dog House and Sweet Bonanza.
Well, we’re over halfway through the year now, but our objective remains the same as always: provide player-favourite games for our partners that they love time and time again. The best way for us to achieve this is to create more engaging and entertaining titles.
Players trust that when playing a slot Pragmatic Play has created, they can expect a certain level of quality. This trust is everything to us as a company, and it’s exactly why we challenge ourselves to push the boundaries further with each of the eight new titles we create every month. Whether the slot is a pay-anywhere title, a Megaways™ release, a sequel, or an entirely new concept, you can be sure we will provide thrilling experiences throughout the year.
On the horizon, we have a return to one of our classic franchises with Big Bass Amazon Xtreme, which will also be launching along with Big Bass Crash™ , a new Crash game we’re adding to our portfolio following Spaceman’s success. This game will combine our player-favourite Big Bass character and theme with the exciting mechanics available via Crash-style gameplay. We also have Treasure Adventure™ launching later this year, which will be the latest addition to our expansive and ever-popular Live Casino portfolio.
Many of the titles in our portfolio are sequels that build on players’ favourite features, such as themes or aesthetics present in original releases. This is evident within some of our biggest franchises like Big Bass Bonanza and The Dog House which have spawned many iterations, a testament to the popularity of our sequels.
Recently we’ve really enjoyed building titles that, whilst not being direct sequels, are instead inspired by original releases. Our most recent example is Wisdom of Athena, launched just this June which is set in the same universe as one of our top games, Gates of Olympus, whilst thematically following the recently released hit, Zeus vs Hades Gods of War. Wisdom of Athena features familiar mechanics with an added twist of wins unveiling an additional reel.
In our experience, players are often keen to progress the narrative of their favourite slots, either through a direct sequel or a slot that builds upon the success of the earlier title. We always factor this in when it comes to new releases, ensuring the follow-up (whether direct or not) acts as an expansion of the original, always offering something fresh to level up the entertainment factor.
In essence, we have found the most success when we take the most popular elements of our hit slots and use those to create something new and exciting with a sense of familiarity.
Being one of the leading suppliers in the industry, we offer games in a variety of markets, often each with its own regulatory requirements, just one of those being the UK. For that reason, our slots are designed meticulously to ensure that we comply with the key requirements of each regulated market.
Player protection is our top priority, which goes closely hand-in-hand with our focus on creating a fun experience when it comes to developing any of our games. From the conception of a new game to the way its marketed, responsible gambling and player protection is at the forefront of our development considerations.
Players’ needs do change as a whole and currently, there is a slight pivot towards players engaging with lower volatility titles. Several years ago, providers would race to offer bigger and bigger max wins. Now
This could be attributed to several different factors, the most likely being watchful spending and time spent playing. With more and more players switching to their mobiles to play on the go, lower volatility titles allow customers to jump in and play without having to commit to a long session.
Some themes do have more appeal than others and this definitely varies with player preferences in different markets. In the UK, for example, we’ve experienced that our most popular themes tend to be fishing games, Irish-themed titles and classic casino styles aligning with the long history of land-based slot machines.
Globally, however, titles that have a sweet aesthetic or a theme based around animals typically perform well.
My personal favourite from this year so far has to be Zeus vs Hades Gods of War. The rich graphics lend themselves well to the expanding multiplier reel mechanic which depicts the two titans battling.
Additionally, the slot comprises two distinct themes depending on the player’s volatility preferences. They can enjoy a tranquil, heavenly aesthetic in Olympus or a foreboding, fiery landscape by choosing the Hades option. This impacts the volatility level players will be presented with, along with some of the bonus features, allowing them to have agency over how they interact with the game.
While this is my firm favourite, a close second would have to be Wisdom of Athena which built upon some of the thematic aspects and mythological narrative from our other hit title Gates of Olympus.
The game features a reveal mechanic that is progressively unlocked for each additional win secured by the player. This allows for an escalation of prizes to be won where each tumble triggered adds more symbols to the board and more opportunities to create wins, adding another level of entertainment to an already popular format.
Jackpot Play is the latest addition to Pragmatic Play’s growing jackpot offering. It allows operators to configure their own local progressive jackpots across a selection of Pragmatic Play’s top performing slots.
This list is continuously expanding, but currently includes our most popular titles like, the multi-award-winning Sugar Rush, Gates of Olympus, Sweet Bonanza, Big Bass Bonanza, The Dog House, and many more, with additional new games being added in the coming months.
The mechanics are straightforward in that it offers to four jackpot tiers, that drop randomly at any time during the game. We’ve had positive feedback from operators as it’s easily integrated via Pragmatic Play’s Jackpot API, and each tier comes with its own win probability and jackpot seed.
What this means for players is that their favourite Pragmatic Play titles now have this progressive jackpot element, which creates boosted win potential and even more in-game entertainment and excitement.