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Vanilla content will always be second best – argues Reflex CPO

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addiction-bet-betting-casino-1 Vanilla content will always be second best – argues Reflex CPOReading Time: 4 minutes

 

Ahead of ICE London 2019, Mat Ingram, CPO of independent developer, Reflex Gaming, explains why the commoditisation of content is a race to the bottom

Looking back on 2018 what have been the highlights and the key achievements in the online space for the Reflex brand?

2018 was a year characterised by strategic and steady expansion for Reflex in the online sector. We went live with five new top tier operators as well as numerous smaller operators courtesy of our existing distribution partnerships which continue to do well for us. We have adhered to our “quality over quantity” philosophy, resulting in six new game titles over the course of the year, all but one emanating from our market-leading portfolio of land-based content. We have forged new commercial relationships, worked with new development partners, and continued to learn a lot.  There’s no doubt that 2018 was an important and successful year.

How would you describe the main challenges for the online sector – is it facing a case of over supply?  Is there a danger of quantity subsuming quality when it comes to games content and what can be done about it?

For me, the sector is surprisingly slow-moving given its entirely-digital nature, but this is a symptom of the complex distribution routes that are now so prevalent, along with the hugely busy supply chain. Many planets have to align technically and strategically for a relatively simple event to occur, such as a game release. Compare this to our server-managed land-based machines, where I can develop a game in half the time and release it overnight to thousands of machines, but of course in this case I am in complete control of the tech stack and the content strategy, which helps enormously! The over-supply of what I would describe as vanilla, ‘global’ content has turned the previous art of game creation into a production line building commodity ‘widgets’ whose value to the supplier is measured in how low they can get their costs. This must, in turn, reduce quality, however this is not always immediately apparent. There are so many games being released that without any promotional activity (that the bigger suppliers can fund), one game performs much the same as another, thus perpetuating their commodity status. As such, I believe there is an increasing requirement for specialised, ‘hyper-local’ content – by which I refer to games that have been specifically created by suppliers with local expertise and experience for local players. As suppliers, we often have to modify our games anyway to suit local regulations and language, so there is already an existing idea that games must be localised, but I believe that it is also better for the user if the games with which they are presented are those that have been crafted for them rather than the one-size-fits-all approach that is often used. Reflex have some of the most successful games in the land-based markets in which we compete and we should leverage these with partners who have expertise in distributing hyper-local content.

Has your thinking on omni-channel gaming changed since ICE 2018 and if so where do you stand now?

No, my opinion hasn’t really changed on this. It may be sometimes difficult to quantify the benefits or produce empirical evidence of them, but intuitively I feel that it has to be better UX for a player to be able to move from one channel to another and play the content they know and enjoy on platforms that support a seamless transition from one place to another. Surely, if the player has a better experience whilst doing this, they are more likely to stay loyal to the retailer / operator and indeed the games? It just seems to make sense to me. This is why Reflex are talking to a number of operators who have both a land-based and an online presence about how we can work together to provide UK-specific, omni-channel games, and we are one of only a few suppliers who can do this.

How will Reflex be using ICE London 2019 and what does success look like?

We will be using ICE to showcase our diverse land-based and online product ranges. It’s one of the few opportunities we have to put everything together in the same space, and our omni-channel credibility becomes really apparent when you see it all together. The range includes UK and Dutch land-based machines of many styles and categories, through to purely online and mobile content, with the same design ethos running across all channels. The star of our land-base range is the GamePro cabinet which will this year include the new GamePro Max, a sit-down lounge-style machine. Our view is that whatever a player experiences in a land-based environment, they should be able to experience on their desktop or mobile within the confines of the devices. A successful exhibition for Reflex is mostly not about the number of contracts or deals we sign, as most of the hard work has been done on these prior to the show, but rather it is about how many new people we meet and new opportunities present themselves, and judging by the number of meeting requests we have already had, we should be in for a busy few days!

As an exhibitor do you get the opportunity to spend time walking the aisles at ExCeL and taking stock of the industry and the direction its travelling in – how important is it to do this?

I think this is hugely important, although being honest, I don’t get as much time to do it as I would like, as I am generally busy on the stand. However, I have a great team who come to the show and who act as my eyes and ears on market trends and important product innovations.  I wouldn’t say it’s a military style operation but we have regular catch-ups whilst the exhibition is in progress and they take me to see the things and meet the people that have caught their eye. I am a firm believer that Reflex should stand independently with respect to innovation and not succumb to parodying the ideas of others, but that said, it is important to know and understand what other market sector participants are doing and why.


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Vanilla content will always be second best – argues Reflex CPO

George Miller (Gyorgy Molnar) started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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William Hill lowers profit forecast

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William-Hill-lowers-profit-forecast-2018 William Hill lowers profit forecastReading Time: 1 minute

 

William Hill is all geared for remodelling its retail business in 2019, after it lowered its full-year 2018 adjusted operating by about 15 per cent lower compared to the previous year.

The company had reduced its profit forecast in November due to increasingly stringent regulations, particularly on lucrative fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), and warned of more losses in the United States.

It said its US business had broadly broken even in the year.

European gambling companies have been looking to expand across the Atlantic in light of regulatory curbs in Britain and as US states ease curbs on betting.

William Hill said 2018 adjusted operating profit from continuing operations would be 234 million pounds, slightly higher than company-supplied analyst estimates of 232.2 million pounds.

Profit was lower in its retail business due to tough high-street conditions and the offering would be remodelled in 2019 as Chief Executive Officer Philip Bowcock looks to make the firm a “digitally-led international business,” the company said.

The company had said in November that it would look at new products to offer alternatives to FOBTs.

“With rapid expansion underway in the U.S. … and the acquisition of Mr Green nearing completion, we look forward to making further progress this year,” Bowcock said in a statement.

William Hill has earmarked about 120–130 million pounds for 2019 to fund its US expansion.

 


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: William Hill lowers profit forecast

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FTSE4Good Index admits GVC Holdings

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FTSE4Good-Index-GVC-Holdings FTSE4Good Index admits GVC HoldingsReading Time: 2 minutes

 

GVC Holdings, the multinational sports-betting and gaming group based in Isle of Man, has been admitted to the FTSE4Good Index Series following the FTSE4Good’s annual review in December 2018.

The FTSE4Good Index Series is designed to measure the performance of companies demonstrating strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices. Transparent management and clearly-defined ESG criteria make FTSE4Good indexes suitable tools to be used by a wide variety of market participants when creating or assessing sustainable investment products.

GVC was admitted to the index after an independent scrutiny of its practices and public documents against a series of criteria including:

  • Governance (including risk management, corporate governance and anti-corruption)
  • Social practices (including human rights, labour standards and health & safety)
  • Environmental commitments (including energy usage and waste management)

Kenneth Alexander, GVC CEO commented:

“We are proud to join FTSE4Good and be recognised as a leader in corporate social responsibility, which is at the core everything we do as a business. Acting responsibly and maintaining strong governance is not a luxury but fundamental to our long-term success and a key driver of shareholder value.”

 

About GVC:
GVC Holdings PLC is one of the world’s largest sports betting and gaming groups, operating both online and in the retail sector. The Group owns a comprehensive portfolio of established brands; Sports Brands include bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Ladbrokes and Sportingbet; Gaming Brands include CasinoClub, Foxy Bingo, Gala, Gioco Digitale, partypoker and PartyCasino. The Group owns proprietary technology across all of its core product verticals and in addition to its B2C operations provides services to a number of third-party customers on a B2B basis. GVC acquired Ladbrokes Coral Group plc on 28 March 2018 and is now the UK’s largest high street bookmaker, with over 3,500 betting shops. The Group, incorporated in the Isle of Man, is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index and has licences in more than 20 countries, across five continents.

For more information see the Group’s website: www.gvc-plc.com

 


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: FTSE4Good Index admits GVC Holdings

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Macau’s casino companies receive rating upgrade

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Macau’s-casinos-receive-rating-upgrade Macau’s casino companies receive rating upgradeReading Time: 1 minute

 

Brokerage Sanford C Bernstein has upgraded the ratings of Macau casinos Galaxy Entertainment Group and Sands China. This was done after a re-evaluation of the companies and also considering the capacity expansion in 2020.

According to Bernstein analysts, Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu, even as GGR is expected to decrease from 14 per cent (2018) to 3 per cent this year, there is a positive future for Galaxy and Sands in 2019. They clarified: “On a longer-term fundamental view, Galaxy now looks relatively inexpensive, especially factoring in Phase 3 and 4 developments of Galaxy Macau.” 

They added: “Galaxy continues to improve its Mass operations at Galaxy Macau and StarWorld while maintaining a leadership position in VIP. While the VIP segment is most at risk of considerable slowdown over the next 6 to 12 months, over the medium term, the key value driver is operating leverage improvement and improving business mix which will enhance margins.”

Furthermore, they explained that Galaxy “stands to have outsized growth over the long run” as it completes Galaxy Macau Phases 3 and 4.

“We continue to look favorably upon Sands China’s management team, product positioning and strategy focused on Mass market, a strong balance sheet and hefty dividends,” Bernstein analysts said about Sands China and added: “Redevelopment of Sands Cotai Central and upgrades at the Parisian will help boost its high margin Premium Mass business. The long-term (beginning in 2020) growth story from hotel suite capacity expansion and the Londoner redevelopment is evident. Sands China’s valuation look attractive for a stock that consistently trades at a premium to Macau gaming stocks and is now trading well below its historical average.”


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Macau’s casino companies receive rating upgrade

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