Dmitry Malyshev, Chief Technical Officer at Mascot Gaming, says that operators must pack their portfolios with slots that bring in new players but that also generate stable revenues over time.
Online gambling operators spend a lot of time building out their game portfolios and striking the right balance between the quality and quantity of slots and table games offered.
This is because game lobbies are a powerful acquisition and retention tool; players will go to certain operators because they stock a certain brand or type of slot.
They also want to be able to play a wide range of games from the classics right through to the most innovative and ground-breaking titles.
For operators, this means including different types of games and from different operators. But ultimately, games need to achieve two clear objectives.
They need to help operators attract new players to their online casino brand(s) and they also need to generate stable revenues over time.
Here at Mascot Gaming we place games in two clear categories – traffic games and profit games.
The purpose of traffic games is to bring new players to the slot and to the casino(s) offering them and this means being innovative and creative.
They need to offer complex math, unique features that land regularly, enticing volatility, be based around provocative themes and narratives and with stunning graphics and immersive audio.
The biggest challenge with traffic games is not knowing whether they will be a big hit with players or not – they are not based on existing blueprints and instead on the imagination of the developer.
Of course, developers can obtain a better idea of the trends and themes that excite players by engaging with the slots playing community and especially streamers.
With traffic games, it is also important to think outside the box and come up with a game or features within a game that are genuinely unique. This, combined with research, usually results in success.
If this can be achieved, players will play the game at scale and it also helps to spark their interest in other titles from that studio stocked in the operator’s portfolio.
This, of course, is why we categorise them as traffic games as their key purpose is to attract more players to the online casino brand that offers them.
As a result, the profit share for such games is often weighted in favour of the developer and not the operator as the game studio is the one exposed to the most risk.
But this is why it is important for operators to also stock the second category of online slot game – profit generators. So how do these differ to traffic games?
While traffic games push the boundaries of experimentation and innovation, profit games use tried and tested themes and game mechanics that have proved to be popular over many years.
Their purpose, as the name suggests, is to drive the maximum profit from the player by providing an online slot they can really get into and can play again and again and again.
This means creating the slot around a classic theme with simple math and not distracting from the base game with lots of features and bonus rounds.
The player needs to see that the game has big win potential and that by continuing to play the same game over time there is a good chance they will land a mega win.
It is often the case that new players are drawn to the casino brand because of the traffic game but after that they seek out more slots from the same developer.
When they start playing profit games from that developer the casino can drive more profit (the revenue share is more generous) from the new player that signed up via the traffic game.
In addition, depending on the developer behind the game, studios can help casinos create hard hitting marketing campaigns and particularly around traffic games.
Indeed, in some ways traffic games should be seen as a marking vehicle for online casinos – capturing the attention of players due to their uniqueness and pushing them towards the brand.
As with all marketing activity, you have to speculate to accumulate but so long as operators also stock a good selection of profit games they can bring in new customers and boost revenues.
Of course, by working with some of the smaller, newer online slot studios, operators can often strike more favourable revenue share deals across both types of game.
This is because these studios are keen to get their titles into online casino game lobbies and as such are open to negotiating different commercial agreements.
For the operator, this can result in them stocking the right games at the right price, driving both new players and revenues for a fantastic ROI.