As NetEnt launches its latest branded slot, Vikings – based on the TV show and out today – CasinoBeats talks to Henrik Fagerlund, managing director of NetEnt Malta and chief product officer, about the title and about the NetEnt way of doing things

What does Vikings bring to NetEnt’s branded games portfolio?

“Vikings is a premium brand that has a dedicated, worldwide fan-base. It is a modern brand, which perfectly complements the heritage brands that already sit within the NetEnt offering. The game features the NetEnt hallmarks of excitement and entertainment and we are sure it will be an incredible addition.”

How important are branded games for NetEnt and the industry as a whole when compared with the benefit of developing original concepts? 

“NetEnt firmly believes in the power of branded games and has created one of the best-quality portfolios of licensed products on the market.

“This includes Jumanji, which became an instant player-favourite and commercial success when launched earlier this year, alongside classics including Planet of the Apes, Guns n’ Roses and Motörhead.

“Branded games have proven to be extra important for acquisition purposes.

“When you add branded games to our proprietary titles, like Starburst, one of the most popular slots games of all time, it makes for a rounded offering. It is important to strike a balance and create a diverse offering that appeals to and engages a broad player-base.”

“First and foremost, you have to be true to the brand.”

What are the key ingredients for a successful branded game?

“First and foremost, you have to be true to the brand. They will have a large and loyal, pre-existing following, so these games present an opportunity for audience expansion. The product must create an experience that is faithful and meets expectations.

“For example, Vikings will be instantly recognisable to followers of the show, with star characters from the TV series appearing, including Ragnar Lothbrook and Lagertha, while the in-game features are inspired by events from its epic storyline.

NetEnt traditionally launches its branded games at ICE. What can you tell us about your plans for next year’s show and branded game launches in 2019?

“We can’t give away too much at this point, but we can confirm that we are preparing for some major announcements at the show.

“Beyond that, 2019 will see the release of the hotly-anticipated Narcos video slot. As one of the world’s most in-demand digital series, available to watch in more than 130 countries, it is a release that we are incredibly excited about.

“Furthermore, we have our first sport- themed branded product after our partnership with legendary jockey Peter Scudamore launched during the spring.”