Ryan Lazarus, CEO at Revolver Gaming, says operators need to bump smaller
suppliers to the top of their integration lists but that suppliers should also consider developing their own platforms to streamline the process

THE top online casino brands are constantly looking to pack their portfolios with new and exciting content. In the past, they have relied on larger studios to deliver this, but increasingly we are seeing games from smaller developers topping the charts.

This is because smaller developers tend to be nimbler and more creative – and better positioned to push the boundaries and take risks when it comes to design, maths, mechanics and game play. Of course, they must do this if they are to compete with the established power players.

While smaller studios may be developing and launching innovative content, most still face an uphill struggle when it comes to catching the attention of operators and then scheduling the integration process. It can take many months before games actually launch.

In most cases, and for reasons of perceived revenue value, the larger developers are put at
the top of the list meaning smaller studios are left waiting. Of course, all the while the studio is waiting to integrate, its games are not being played and it is not generating revenues. For some start-up developers, this can cause all manner of financial headaches and cash-flow concerns.

Wait times can be improved if the operator has an urgent need for that particular studio’s content or if they put pressure on suggested aggregators to shuffle around their priority lists. Developers can also take greater control of the situation.

Those that don’t have their own platform might be wise to find a strategic partner; the right partner should have an established network of operator customers to distribute the content to. The only drawback here is the developer may become limited to that partner.

The partner will always be in control of the distribution and the developer may still need to
obtain several licences in order to be able to supply all of their operator partners. It was for
these reasons that we decided to develop our own platform.

We wanted to try to avoid being pushed down priority lists and take more control over our
destiny by offering distributor and operator partners a superior service, and custom incentives to accompany our quality content.

Naturally, developing our own platform was not without its challenges. This includes setting up the right team for the transformation from game design studio to fully fledged game software provider; making sure financing is continuously in place; and of course the obstacles relating to time – time to build and release platform and games, and the waiting time/queues from concluding agreements until integrations can go ahead.

“…having a proprietary platform gives smaller studios the flexibility to serve multiple operators and multiple markets concurrently

Another key challenge is obtaining a supplier licence from the UK Gambling Commission. This is an absolute must for suppliers looking to work with tier one operators in core regulated markets such as the UK and beyond.

That said, having a proprietary platform gives smaller studios the flexibility they need to serve multiple operators and multiple markets concurrently – and without having to wait for other priority integrations to complete.

Another benefit for smaller developers using their own platform is that they are able to offer a seamless and superior integration. Modern, state of the art technologies lay a smooth foundation that can slash integration times – Revolver’s fastest is four hours.

Smaller developers with their own platforms are also able to offer greater support and scope for fast adaption to more innovative products than some larger studios. They can also offer a more personalised approach, including bespoke tools for operators to use to promote their games.

For operators, integrating content from smaller suppliers quickly also allows them to maximise any first-mover advantage that content may have. We are talking here about games that are new and yet to reach market saturation.

In most cases, smaller developers will also work with operators to deliver custom games and content. This can be anything from exclusive titles only available to that operator, to branded features and tools as well as special promotions.

Smaller suppliers can take the lead here and develop their own platforms, but operators still need to push them higher up their integration lists. But given the flexibility in quickly adapting to customer needs and the fast, smooth integrations offered, it is a win-win for both parties.