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Exclusive CEE interview with Evoplay Entertainment 

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Exclusive CEE interview with Evoplay Entertainment 
Exclusive CEE interview with Evoplay Entertainment Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

With the CEE region no doubt set to be one of Europe’s biggest growth stories this year, we caught up with Evoplay Entertainment’s CBDO, Vladimir Malakchi, to talk through the region’s demographics, opportunities and hottest markets through 2021 and beyond.

The CEE region has become an increasingly important factor for growth on the continent, which markets do you see being the main drivers?

It’s all about the big-hitters that have an established framework in place, whether that be Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Croatia or any of the other regulated markets. What we’ve seen in the last few years has been exponential in terms of growth, and that’s undoubtedly a good thing. Solid, concise frameworks that allow a safe and level playing field for both player and operator has created a wide berth of entry for multiple international brands across the region. Given the windfall on revenue for governments, rather than seeing GGR go offshore, will undoubtedly prove to be a good thing for local economies, and has already proven to be a significant contributor to national budgets.

In hand with that development comes a surge in the quality of gaming available – as well as a more advanced menu of entertainment experiences – whether that be table games, instant games or slots. I’m fully confident that the advantages of a safe, regulated market will continue to be felt by countries that have established a steady GGR growth rate and a favourable environment for doing business.

In general, how would you define the typical CEE player’s profile towards slots, instant and table games? What kind of entertainment are players looking for?

The typical CEE player mainly shares characteristics with those you’d find elsewhere in Europe. Having said that, the transition to online has indeed come later than in the West, so it is inevitable that we see games that have a lot in common with the land-base sector to appeal to players. We’re also seeing plenty of interest in instant games (especially when it comes to our stable of titles), which I believe to be a massive growth area. Why? The clue’s in the name – they give players a chance to enjoy instant entertainment, lighting-fast game rounds and a quickfire result.

Are there any particular territories that stand out for you as having a unique player demographic?

While we’re certainly not a brand that believes in a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to global delivery, from personal experience I can say that the extent that one sees unique player demographics vary from country to country is relatively minimal. A greater factor that shapes delivery of product, and in effect defining the demographics of the players you deliver to in each market – is the infrastructure and accessibility. For example, with rural or highland areas, slower internet speeds are inevitable and therefore require more adaptable content that can either be leveraged via game engines to enhance the download speed, or alternatively through the application of light technical requirements for the game itself.

Having said that, CEE is digitising at an impressively fast pace. Heavy investment in high-speed broadband coverage can be observed throughout Europe, with 86% of the Czech Republic’s rural locations now connected to the internet, for instance, while Romania (as I’m sure any citizen there will be fast to tell you), has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world!

How should operators in the region be looking to tailor / customise their content to further drive retention and engagement?

There’s really no substitute for analysing the market in depth. That means closely studying the preferences of local players and the state-of-play for any potential competitors. Operators who get that process right can adapt their offering accordingly, thus driving revenue in the long-term.

We know that while session durations are relatively consistent across Europe, the average stake value is not. This is especially the case in the CEE region, where arguably the economic fallout from COVID-19 can be felt harder than most, which requires a gaming experience that can provide extended entertainment without draining player’s bank balances in minutes. This is especially the case for what is a hugely tech-savvy demographic – who are far more discerning than many outsiders would assume – and therefore require a solid product with the maths to back it up. Success here is all about authenticity, and players will recognise a lack of it from a mile off.

Gamification’s going to be a hot topic in the months ahead given the need for entertainment – as a market expert, what types of features do you believe will be key in 2021?

Tournaments are very strong right now – and formats that allow players to compete against each other in real time are going to be a mainstay in gaming development this year. I see this as being indicative that providing players with an additional sense of competition, such as pitting players against players through formats like multiplayer gameplay, is a whole new level of gamification in itself that can do wonders for making your products more interesting for your audience locked down at home.

I’m particularly excited about what multiplayer can offer, and we’re taking this area very seriously. They’re going to be a serious asset when it comes to providing an additional dimension of gameplay. Combine that with faster rounds with instant games (which are very hot right now), as well as the opportunity for more varied stakes – and you have a lightning-fast experience that can create a hugely exciting betting environment and really drive engagement and retention.

Ukraine of course is going to be very closely watched – how would you rate the regulation process so far and do you believe we’re on track to go live by mid-next year?

We’ve seen good progress in Ukraine since July last year when online gambling was officially made legal – and the government has been working hard to get a regulatory framework in place, with a commission already formed to monitor the issuing of licenses to casino operators.

It is also expected that the number of licences that the authorities choose to grant will be limited – this, just like we’ve recently seen in Argentina, means that we have a queue of foreign operators waiting for certification, and I predict will start seeing the results show in around six months. I look forward to contributing towards the creation of a safe and regulated gaming environment for all, as well as seeing the benefits that gaming revenue will bring to our national economy – just as it has for other regulated CEE territories. The future is certainly looking bright!

And last but not least, are there any leading figures or businesses you can recommend to our readers for 2021 inspiration?   

The biggest source of inspiration to me personally continues to be the fantastic team of staff we’ve got right here at Evoplay Entertainment. The tremendous success we’ve enjoyed as a company drives me to strive for more, and I genuinely believe that when we work together as a company, there is almost nothing we can’t achieve.

Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from your own accomplishments, no matter how large or small. It’s a reminder that your greatest days lie ahead – something that’s particularly important to remember in the current circumstances!

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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SoftSwiss expands its innovative solutions to Brazil

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SoftSwiss expands its innovative solutions to Brazil
SoftSwiss expands its innovative solutions to BrazilReading Time: 2 minutes

 

SoftSwiss has recently announced its expansion to the Brazilian market with its most popular solutions for the iGaming and sports betting industries. SoftSwiss’s advanced Online Casino Platform is now fully equipped with local ready-to-use payment solutions, such as Boleto Bancário, by far the most popular payment method in Brazil, pay4fun, PayRetailers, and more. As the company representatives explained, SoftSwiss will not stop in Brazil and will continue its systemic expansion into other Latin American markets in the near future.

In addition to the payment gateways tailored to Brazil, SoftSwiss clients can also expect to benefit from CoinsPaid, the rapidly-growing crypto processing engine. A reliable tool for handling crypto transactions comes in handy: the LATAM region and Brazil in particular appear to be the leading regions in terms of popularity of crypto payments, as recently highlighted in the SoftSwiss Game Aggregator Q1 2021 corporate report.

Furthermore, the company plans to expand its gaming portfolio by adding more game content that is of high demand on the local Brazilian market. The current SoftSwiss Game Aggregator’s offering already consists of more than 11,000 games with over 3,000 available for playing with crypto.

Max Trafimovich, ССО at SoftSwiss, commented on this topic: “SoftSwiss continues setting its footprints all over the globe this year. In fact we’re expanding to the second new continent after our recent move into Nigeria in February. That’s a milestone and we cannot wait to welcome new players and clients from the LATAM region. We, in turn, are committed to giving them the proven technology that will make their overall iGaming experience more versatile and safe”.

SoftSwiss keeps blazing trails to new markets – in less than six months the tech brand adapted its software solutions to better cater to five new territories including Japan, South Korea, India, Nigeria, and now Brazil. 

 

About SoftSwiss:

SoftSwiss is an international tech brand supplying widely acclaimed, certified software solutions for managing iGaming operations. SoftSwiss holds a number of gaming licenses, providing a “one-stop-shop” white label solution by taking care of all technical, legal, and financial processes on behalf of its customers. The company has a vast product portfolio, which includes an Online Casino Platform, Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, an affiliate platform, and a recently launched sportsbook platform. In 2013 SoftSwiss was the first in the world to introduce a bitcoin-optimized online casino solution. The company has thus been regarded as the leading technical expert when it comes to the use of cryptocurrencies in online gaming.

 

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WEBINAR DGA GAMING FIELDLAB – MAY 18

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WEBINAR DGA GAMING FIELDLAB – MAY 18
WEBINAR DGA GAMING FIELDLAB – MAY 18Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

On May 18 the Dutch Games Association will host a webinar that concludes the DGA Gaming Fieldlab. With the Fieldlab the DGA aims to stimulate the collaboration between game companies and researchers. Five research projects that had their start in 2019 will show their results. The subjects vary from VR-applications in healthcare and education, quality analysis of choice processes in serious games, to design principles for applied games.

Find detailed information about the webinar, the projects and the speakers on the registration page.

In the webinar, CLICKNL will elaborate on the possibilities of new research collaborations. CLICKNL serves the interest of the Creative Industry as a top sector.

The presentations start at 13.00 till 14.45. Before and after the presentations you have the opportunity to network with speakers, DGA representatives, CLICKNL employees, and other participants.

Click here for more information and registration.

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Guild Esports Launches The Guild Academy

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Guild Esports Launches The Guild Academy
Guild Esports Launches The Guild AcademyReading Time: 3 minutes

The Guild Academy is the most comprehensive and innovative in the industry, developing the esports stars of tomorrow

Guild Esports today announces the opening of the Guild Academy – the world’s most comprehensive and innovative esports online academy.

The online academy will welcome budding players aged 11+, and provide a range of resources designed to nurture their learning and life skills, as well as gaming abilities. The Guild Academy will provide all players of any ability individualised support and personalised challenges.

Academy members will be able to access detailed training programmes, designed to improve specific areas of play. They will also be able to test their skills in tournaments, and have gameplay performance analysed by Guild’s team of experts. 

For beginner and intermediate players, Guild will offer peer-to-peer coaching and advice, whereby players are able to record specific areas of gameplay which can then be reviewed by more experienced players and feedback and advice given.

Guild’s vision is to use its unique academy structure to find the next generation of talent within esports by scouting players showing the most potential. These players will be offered live player development, greater 1-2-1 support, and invitations to bootcamps to participate in local area network (LAN) tournaments. This is part of Guild Esports’ path to pro strategy – using its in-house talent scouts to recruit the next generation of players.

The Academy is launching first with Fortnite & Rocket League specific training, with more esports to follow in the next six months, including FIFA and Valorant. The Guild Academy online platform is the first step in creating an esports talent pipeline based on the traditional sporting model. 

The mission at the heart of the academy is to ensure all players leave having acquired new skills, both in gaming and life, regardless of whether they turn professional. Guild’s priority is to put the person first, the player second. The academy will take the personal development of each player beyond gaming – with its industry-leading team delivering masterclasses designed to both improve learning, and provide knowledge and skills to succeed in later life. 

Guild understands the importance of taking parents on the journey with their ambitious gamer children. As part of the online academy, there will be a dedicated Parents Centre, keeping them involved and informed about careers in esports. Robust policies will be in place to ensure a safe and friendly environment, and players will need the appropriate parental consent to join the academy, depending on local data protection laws. 

Outside of esport-specific coaching, The Guild Academy offers a holistic approach to player development where the focus will be on building good habits through better nutrition, work-life balance and much more. The first activation will be alongside Guild’s main partner, and official Academy partner, Subway. Working together to develop a fully integrated programme to the Guild Academy which will provide opportunities and education to the membership—ranging from from career opportunities to health and wellbeing leaning on Subway’s values of empowering people to make better choices.

New players will be able to sign up to a 30-day free trial – access to The Guild Academy will be £4.99, or local currency equivalent, per month after this period.

Carleton Curtis, Executive Chairman at Guild Esports, said: “Over the last year, people have recognised us for building some of the most talented rosters in esports. The Guild Academy represents our vision for the future. The academy will contain the most comprehensive training platform in esports, with individualised support and tailored training programmes provided to develop the esports stars of tomorrow. Ingrained in all aspects of the academy will be our culture of excellence, and our priority is nurturing aspiring gamers to develop in all areas of their life. We’re thrilled to launch, and help to push the industry forward.”

Joe Sutton, Director of Academy at Guild Esports added, “We’re very proud to have created such a special and unique academy. The level of training and development resources we have on offer to players of all abilities, is what sets the Guild Academy apart. We’ll be working to provide each player the tools to reach their gaming potential, whilst also setting them up with life skills for the future. This is just the beginning, and we’re excited for the future of the academy.”

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