Liam Mulvaney, co-founder and CEO at Plank Gaming, says that the developer does not try to be innovative, rather it focuses on delivering the best player experience possible.
In the fiercely competitive world of online casino, game developers spend much of their time locked in battle with each other over who can be the most innovative.
While this has undoubtedly led to several ground-breaking mechanics, functionality, features and tools hitting the market, in most cases developers are simply innovating for the sake of it.
This means that the player experience is not being improved and, if anything, is being spoiled by gimmicks and novelties that distract from the thrill of the base game.
“Once the initial excitement has worn off, players usually return to staple games”
Of course, in the instances where developers do get it right and bring something truly innovative to a slot, it is often the case that the game is played extensively but for a short period of time.
Once the initial excitement has worn off, players usually return to staple games that offer less in the way of state-of-the-art mechanics and never-seen-before functionality, but deliver on gameplay.
It is these staple games that Plank Gaming focuses its efforts on developing. Why? Because these are the games that truly entertain players and make our operator partners money in the long run.
So, how do we do this?
First, we ensure that the core aspects of a slot game are as good as they absolutely can be, from the design and theme to the math and mechanics.
In short, we make sure that our slots deliver the most engaging and entertaining player experience, without having to rely on any extras.
From concept through to launch, we take the perspective of the player and always ask whether what we are doing delivers the experience they are seeking and deserve.
“By thinking from the perspective of the player … we can create games that stand the test of time.”
We spend up to 50 hours a week playing slot games and streaming our activity across Twitch and social media to the wider slots playing community.
We engage and interact with players and join the conversation about what is popular and what is not, and what players want to see in the latest game launches.
We use this feedback to guide game development and to ensure that the slots we release meet player expectations.
By thinking from the perspective of the player and constantly asking ourselves whether what we are doing is actually what they want, we can create games that stand the test of time.
This is important because it is the long-standing player favourites that deliver stable returns to operators over time.
As mentioned earlier, some of the most innovative games are one hit wonders and once the wow factor has worn off, players return to the same games they have been playing for months or years.
From a player satisfaction and financial perspective, operators must ensure their game lobbies are packed full of these slots as these are the games that ultimately drive retention.
Of course, operators still want to be able to stand out from their rivals and offer their players something a little bit different.
“We focus on getting the core aspects 100 per cent perfect above anything else”
This is why some of the more “innovative” games are given top positions in game lobbies – the operator simply wants to give their players something they can’t necessarily find elsewhere.
But there is another way of doing this, and that is for operators to work with game developers to create slots that have been designed to appeal to their own player base.
Again, this is something that Plank Gaming is able to offer. As a developer, we can create games based on operator needs and requirements quickly without sacrificing on quality.
We take them same approach to these games as we do to the ones in our own development pipeline – we focus on getting the core aspects 100 per cent perfect above anything else.
This means that our partners can offer their players unique and exclusive games, that also have the potential to become long-standing player favourites.
In an industry where everyone seems so focused on pushing the boundaries, reining things in and getting the basics right presents a huge opportunity.