NetEnt’s Henrik Fagerlund – The rise and rise of blockbuster slot titles

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There is a growing trend of blockbuster titles continuing to flex their collective muscles in the bustling world of online slots, with the appeal of Hollywood seemingly knowing no bounds.

Multi-million dollar movies, in addition to hugely successful television series’, continue to get the cross-over treatment, with NetEnt one such example that has identified this field as a further area within which it can continue to build upon its almost cult-like following.

The latest title to receive the NetEnt treatment is Jumanji, but not the big-budget remake featuring stars such as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Jack Black and Kevin Hart, but Robin Williams’ 1995 original, which is afforded cult status of its own.

WIth the 2017 iteration not yet released when this opportunity arose for the gaming content specialists, it was felt sufficient interest was still held in the original – and that it would also be reignited as a direct knock-on effect.

“Jumanji is actually a dream brand to base a game on”

As such releases become commonplace however, Henrik Fagerlund, chief product officer at NetEnt, explains to CasinoBeats how it’s Jumanji offering builds upon what is already available in a very saturated environment, particularly with regards to other blockbuster releases: “Jumanji is actually a dream brand to base a game on. The Jumanji movie is all about the board game.

“Sony told us they are very happy with our game production and that we have created a game that perfectly harmonises with the movie. Among other great features, there is a ground-breaking board game mechanic introduced in the slot, which is another industry-first innovation.”

It is not just a case of selecting any successful title with which to utilise their vast expertise however, with history, whether it be decades old or more recent, littered with hundreds, some could argue thousands, of perfectly viable examples.

Fagerlund goes on to discuss the process behind selecting a title from either the big or small screen from which to develop a slot title, and crucially what factors convince NetEnt of its potential future successes: “The process is mainly very strategic from our end, where we carefully select themes and brands that we want to pursue, and that will resonate with the network player base.

The Jumanji video slot is one of the best games we have produced”

“Coming off huge successes with the NetEnt Rocks brands, such as Guns N’ Roses, Jimi Hendrix and Motörhead, we felt we had to step up our game further.

“We needed something current, modern and fresh, with huge brand recognition and something that appeals to a broader demographic.”

Fagerlund added: “It didn’t take long until we came to the conclusion that we should partner with popular, modern TV series. We immediately had smash hits like Vikings and Narcos in mind.

“In pursuit of those two brands, that we later secured and unveiled at ICE, we also came across a fantastic opportunity with Jumanji that we simply couldn’t let go. The Jumanji video slot is one of the best games we have produced in a long time. I strongly believe it will be a smash hit.”

With all this talk of blockbuster releases however, Fagerlund is keen to stress diversity in the NetEnt portfolio is key, when pressed on how much of the firm’s resources are dedicated to finding the new Starburst type slot: “It’s something that we are always looking at. It’s going to be an exciting summer for us on that front, as we have some new releases planned, including BerryBurst on August 23rd. It’s about creating the right combination of blockbuster brand releases and our own titles.”

Check out the impressive Jumanji promotional video, unveiled earlier this year when a Jumanji slot launch was first announced.