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“My vision was to create a game that can deliver excitement and anticipation with every spin” – Exclusive interview with Toby Woolhouse, PO at Push Gaming

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Exclusive interview with Toby Woolhouse, PO at Push Gaming
Exclusive interview with Toby Woolhouse, PO at Push GamingReading Time: 5 minutes

 

Push Gaming has made a name for itself as a supplier that always looks to deliver on quality over quantity. In one of our latest exclusive interviews, we sat down with Push Gaming’s youngest PO to talk through his vision for their latest slot, Wheel of Wonders, as well as how we should expect player preferences to evolve this year when it comes to entertainment.

Wheel of Wonders marks the final slot released by Push Gaming in 2020, what made this title your favourite? 

As one of the younger POs on the team, I’m very much drawn to providing a gaming experience that can really offer something different. As a passionate gamer, I’ve always been into Ways and the Cascading style of games, so I really wanted to deliver something that matched the same aesthetics, but also offered a real twist with something fresh and exciting.

The mathematics behind the game also provide something entirely new, especially when it comes to balancing the gameplay. My vision was to create a game that can deliver excitement and anticipation with every spin. As a result, Wheel of Wonders is absolutely crammed with exciting features that ensures that every single part of the game can bring in massive wins of over 1000x! But more importantly, anything can happen along the way, which is what makes the game hugely unpredictable and fun. For me, Wheel of Wonders is a truly entertainment-first product. Every feature is there to engage the player, rather than the usual mode of waiting for free spins to trigger.

Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the game’s features?

Features were a massive part of the thought process behind Wheel of Wonders, and we wanted to develop something that would really stand the test of time. I’ve used a lot of the cascading influences from our games – and rather than your usual 5×3 slot, it instead dynamically expands through each spin, bringing layers ever-changing win possibilities for each spin to really keep things interesting.

To a certain extent it’s a relatively new concept, but it’s something I really think players will buy into given what we’ve seen from games with similar ideas. Elk’s Gold series has plenty of shared characteristics, as well as Cygnus – which makes me confident that players will really enjoy the hugely changeable gameplay as the fundamentals of the game continue to shift throughout.

Last but not least, for the theme, we wanted to do something that centred around the best of the ancient middle east. Mesopotamia, Babylon, Assyria – we were influenced by them all. Our team put in some serious research into the music and sounds to ensure we could really bring together a disparate set of cultures, and I’m absolutely delighted by the result.

Are there any particular features that you wanted to incorporate that would particularly resonate with current player preferences?

I’m very excited about Wheel of Wonders’ variable reel set because it provides the player with a fantastic level of additional engagement. Games with progressive elements such as these are proving particularly popular right now, and I believe the inclusion of gamified features is something that is resonating very strongly with players.

Whether that’s randomised sequences that evolve as the game continues, or the expansive selection of completely new combinations of elements, there was a gameplay flow that we wanted to capture, and expanding reels proved to be a great option for doing that.

We took the slot through plenty of rigorous tests and we actually refocussed the game on this mechanic during the creation process. We saw what would make the game even more exciting and we incorporated it into the development, which really allowed us to elevate the parts that were entertaining. For me, the key learning is that we didn’t start out looking to tap into a fundamental formula, but rather evolving the title as we created it to come out with a game we were really happy with, and ready to share with our players.

Can you give us some insight into some of the standout moments players can expect in Wheel of Wonders?

For me, there’s two things players should look for. The first, and this is the same as any top-quality cascading game; a really fantastic element of unpredictability that will keep you engaged throughout each stage.

The second, and it’s something I’m really excited about, is the Base Game wheels – you can effectively work out the prizes you want to see. Because of how variable the game is, and the raft of different prizes and multipliers that come with it, there’s just so many ways you can move advance through the slot and begin to really understand what will be the most valuable on the reel at any moment. I think this type of entertainment will really keep players hanging on to their seats, and we’ve had some really great feedback since its launch.

When it comes to development, is there a signature style at Push Gaming and one that players can recognise across your catalogue?

On one hand, we put a lot of stock into the elements that go into the gameplay experience, as we want to make sure it emotionally satisfies the moment that comes with the pay-out.

When we’re making a game, the Push team is always looking to be as flexible as possible during the development process to find ways we can make our games deliver that little bit extra. We’re always ready to leverage that during production, and we do everything we can to ensure our games can deliver something that is truly fun to play. Key here is to make sure that our games can still be broadcast years later as a flagship for the brand. Jammin’ Jars, Fat Rabbit and Razor Shark are great examples of this from our catalogue, and I’m proud to be part of a brand that really pulls all the stops out to make sure we deliver a premium level of gameplay.

How do you think player preferences towards slots have changed this year?

There are a few conflicting schools of thought here. For me, two things are really popping off right now. I’m a big believer in ‘in your face potential’ when it comes to the gaming experience, and I think super-clear, big numbers, exciting gameplay and a clear understanding of the mechanics are what’s needed right now. Easy-to-understand gamified elements are really taking off too, such as progressive jackpots and the like, and players are really buying into it.

Games crammed with plenty of different mechanics and a wealth of symbols to choose from can create massive wins – which is the holy grail for many, but with it comes plenty of challenges for design and mathematics. From what I’ve seen over the last few years, there’s a strong risk that players may find too many instructions as a barrier to engagement, but I also think that’s really opened the door for a massive variation of elements that players can connect with.

Players always look for new experiences and shifting preferences are starting to open the door for mechanic-driven titles, as well as feature-rich slots that offer multiple additional levels of gameplay. As a PO, I’m going to be very happy if that is the case, because it opens the door for us to get even more creative with our content.


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: “My vision was to create a game that can deliver excitement and anticipation with every spin” – Exclusive interview with Toby Woolhouse, PO at Push Gaming

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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GIANTS SOFTWARE AND SPORTFIVE AGREE PURPOSEFUL MARKETING PARTNERSHIP FOR GAMING BRAND FARMING SIMULATOR

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GIANTS SOFTWARE AND SPORTFIVE AGREE PURPOSEFUL MARKETING PARTNERSHIP FOR GAMING BRAND FARMING SIMULATOR
GIANTS SOFTWARE AND SPORTFIVE AGREE PURPOSEFUL MARKETING PARTNERSHIP FOR GAMING BRAND FARMING SIMULATORReading Time: 2 minutes

 

Publisher and global sports business agency hereby focus on Esports and authentic in-game brand integrations

GIANTS Software and SPORTFIVE today announce a purposeful marketing partnership, which focuses on the gaming brand Farming Simulator and aims to enhance the related Esports universe and the authenticity of the game environment via the realistic in-game integration of brands.

In trusting the Esports know-how and commercial experience of SPORTFIVE, GIANTS Software further accelerates the marketing activities for its competitive Esports series Farming Simulator League. The global sports business agency SPORTFIVE hereby adds a truly valuable element to its portfolio that highlights the immense potential in regard to in-game advertising possibilities. These integrations offer an authentic way for a variety of brands to get involved with Esports, especially for rather traditional brands that have never had contact with the Esports cosmos before. At the same time, this provides unique access to a new, large and additional target group within the Esports landscape.

The video games series Farming Simulator is the most popular gaming title from developer and publisher GIANTS Software. The game series is a global phenomenon and available on all popular platforms including consoles, mobile phones, tablets and PCs. Since 2008, over 25 million versions of Farming Simulator have been sold worldwide on PC and console alone.

SPORTFIVE now is supporting GIANTS Software in the acquisition of new partners in selected areas. The Farming Simulator world offers an attractive variety of authentic integration possibilities for brands: From becoming a partner of the professional Esports series Farming Simulator League, over in-game advertising via geo-targeted billboards to usable in-game content, i.e. stores, working equipment or vehicles.

Boris Stefan, Head of Publishing at GIANTS Software, explains: “We’re delighted to reach this agreement with such an experienced marketer. It will become the origin of further immersion into our vast maps. I already envision many larger additions and even tiny details, and all together will bring our family-friendly world to life and will add authenticity to the overall simulation experience.”

Thomas Ottl, Executive Director Global Esports at SPORTFIVE, adds: “We are truly excited for this partnership, which is strongly designed to enhance the gaming experience for the family-friendly and international fan base of Farming simulator. The innovative in-game integrations are an authentic way for brands to get in touch with a diverse and large target group and with these integrations, the game will be even more like reality. We cannot wait to get to work!”

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Hokkaido Excludes IR from 2021 Budget

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Hokkaido Excludes IR from 2021 Budget
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Hokkaido has announced its initial budget for 2021 on February 19, with a 15.4% (JPY432.9 billion) increase over last year to JPY3.25 trillion (US$30.9 billion). This is the third-largest initial budget ever for the prefecture, which will now be proposed at the Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly regular session on February 25.

However, the fund for IR development was a notable absentee following a recent comment by Governor Naomichi Suzuki that an IR was not in the immediate future for Hokkaido.

Funds being set aside in prefectural budgets have traditionally been considered by experts as a strong indicator of a prefecture’s intentions regarding IRs. The fact that no funds have been set aside for IR development in Hokkaido’s 2021 budget appears to signal the death knell for any remaining glimmers of hope that Hokkaido could somehow jump back into Japan’s IR race.

At a press conference, Suzuki positioned the new fiscal year’s budget as “a budget that protects lives, livelihoods and creates a path for the future.” It is hoped this will help the prefecture navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and build a society resistant to infectious disease while also promoting Hokkaido’s future in a post-pandemic world.

Revenue has declined in the economic downturn and the prefecture’s financial situation is strained. Governor Suzuki commented, “We will firmly defend ourselves while at the same time starting on proactive policy. Balancing defense and offense has been difficult but we will accept the challenge to build a future for Hokkaido while controlling the pandemic.”

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Japanese Politician Raises Concerns Over China Blacklist on Overseas Casino Tourism Destinations

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Japanese Politician Raises Concerns Over China Blacklist on Overseas Casino Tourism Destinations
Japanese Politician Raises Concerns Over China Blacklist on Overseas Casino Tourism DestinationsReading Time: 2 minutes

 

The Japanese government has refrained from commenting following a question from House of Representatives member Kenji Eda regarding concerns that Japan’s first integrated resort developments could see the nation added to a blacklist being compiled by Chinese authorities on foreign casino destinations.

The blacklist, originally revealed by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism last August and expanded earlier this month, is said to comprise overseas tourist destinations that are “disrupting” China’s outbound tourism market by opening casinos targeting mainland Chinese customers. The blacklist system would see travel restrictions imposed on Chinese citizens going to overseas cities and scenic spots named on the blacklist.

Eda revealed via his personal blog that he had submitted a question regarding the blacklist and its potential impact on Japan’s IRs, stating, “In August 2020, China announced that it would create a blacklist system to restrict travel to foreign cities that had a casino, with the allegation that overseas casinos threatened the property and safety of their citizens. With that in mind, we can understand that there are concerns that overseas casinos are a hotbed of crime, particularly corruption and graft. I request an answer if the government is aware of this system.

“Further, this, adding to the impact of the coronavirus, could have a major impact on IR (casino) operation in East Asia, which relies heavily on wealthy Chinese visitors. In the past, The Chinese government has restricted travel to South Korea because of deployment of the US military’s ground-based missile interception system, and there is a risk they could use this system politically.

“Considering this system, even if we build casinos (IR) in Japan, we cannot have expectations that foreigners, and especially Chinese tourists, will be able to visit.”

In response, the government said, “We are aware that the Chinese government has announced the establishment of a system as you described in August 2020, but the specific details are yet to be announced so we will refrain from comment.”

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