Travelling the week before ICE isn’t exactly going to be sitting at the top of many (if any)
bucket lists, but unlike CasinoBeats’ pair of interviewees, and many others, we have to
admit that we’ve gotten off kind of lightly.
As the first speckles of snow begin to glisten in the gloomy early morning Manchester sky,
we depart for London and a briefing with Yggdrasil CEO Fredrik Elmqvist and head of
publishing Björn Krantz after the company had offered “the keys to the kingdom” a week prior, via the launch of a new publishing division.
When the latter concludes by proclaiming: “You’ll be able to get four or five stories out of this,” it could be hard to believe the lengthy discussion began over a light Pret a Manger lunch with talk of football, travel and Mexican luchadores.
“It is something that we are very very proud of,” Elmqvist kicks off as he details a vision of
splitting the company into three divisions of Affiliation, Distribution and Publishing. Dealing
with intellectual property and having “potential to grow and scale outside of what we do in
a much faster way,” Yggdrasil is becoming the enabler in order to facilitate growth outside
of the firm’s usual hosting jurisdictions.
“The question had been more of how can we utilise and monetise the assets and
investments that we had already produced, and how can we offset those assets in a way
where we can scale and help to scale not only our own business but other partners’
operations in a way so we can all find a win-win situation,” Krantz continues.
“What kind of value propositions can we create and enable it in a cost-efficient way, and to
ensure that the value proposition is understandable, compelling as well as disrupting the
market so that it doesn’t become just another type of offering”.
“This is the next generation revenue engine for local and global partners”
“If you come into a gold rush don’t dig for gold, sell the shovels,” smiles Elmqvist, calling to
mind the wise words of an old teacher as we sit in one of central London’s WeWork hubs.
“Publishing will be the enabler, enabling business partners to start Yggdrasil type
companies, basically,” he continues, with Krantz picking up “Yggdrasil is becoming a true
enabler of entertainment everywhere in the world, this is the next generation revenue
engine for local and global partners.”
Continuing: “We are taking aggregation to a completely different level; we really feel like we are disrupting our business environment yet again. Putting a new standard into the industry that helps operators, other B2B suppliers and studios to really take the next revenue leap and scale their business and realise their vision on growth.”
Comprising three core value propositions, Yggdrasil Publishing introduces YG Franchise,
relating to licensing of the firm’s gaming platform and tools; YG Masters, pertaining to third
party game development and distribution; and YG Game IP for game licensing.
With centralised aggregation a key theme of the day, and ‘glocalisation’ a close second,
Elmqvist elaborates of the potential creation of global ‘Yggdrasil franchises,’ alluded to as
resembling something of a white-label entity.
Able to undertake interactions with customers while operating on a version of all the firm’s
software and largely growing independently, locally created games on the platform can also
be deployed across all other qualified parts of the worldwide roadmap.
“This model will prevail because it’s just about the path of least resistance”
“So, the vision is to create a decentralised aggregation network, instead of centralised
aggregation,” Elmqvist continues. “In a decentralised aggregation network the games are
being built no matter what server technology they are using, they are building on the
platform and connecting it to what we call the ‘GATI’.”
GATI – which stands for game adaption tools and interfaces – is a central theme throughout the hour-plus briefing, repeatedly lauded as one the key aspects to ensuring success of the new division.
Setting an ambition of becoming “a massive roadmap of games,” the language agnostic GATI is praised as taking scalability to the next level with all imported titles able to be accessed on a globally through the aforementioned franchise partnerships.
“What we are doing now to take it to another level is to add what we call the GATI, this is
the central piece of the delivery both for the franchising and for the Yggdrasil Masters
program,” Krantz adds. “The GATI is really game adaptations tools and interfaces.
“The GATI is enabling your games for a very quick roll-out over various markets as it is
already regulatory adopted when you build it into GATI.”
“This model will prevail because it’s just about the path of least resistance, if you have
resistance there it’s not going to work. And here there is no resistance,” Elmqvist resumes.
“The time to market is horrible in that centralised aggregation, so we said, ‘we need to
decentralise this.’ So, with the decentralised model what we’re doing here is we’re saying,
‘don’t build it on our game server, connect your game server to our infrastructure and our
“If you come into a gold rush don’t dig for gold, sell the shovels”
As globalisation and localisation become increasingly important aspects of the igaming
agenda, Elmqvist reiterated: “This is pro globalisation of the casino market because
currently there’s not much connection between LatAm and Asia, or Europe and Asia –
there’s not much connection there to be honest. Because there’s different standards,
different ways of working, different game logic’s, different server standards, different
regulatory requirements, and we are saying ‘we’ll bridge that’. We’ll be the globalisation
And with that our time was almost up, for a little over a week at least and a certain Slot
Battle that CasinoBeats, Yggdrasil and CasinoGrounds are collaborating to deliver as part of
our own networking drinks event on February 5 at the Fox@ExCel during ICE London 2020.
If we learned one key lesson from today, the passion of both Elmqvist and Krantz on the
future of Yggdrasil Publishing is evident from the first moment.
“Whatever requirement they believe they have now, we are way ahead. This is the key, they are not aware that they can get the keys to the kingdom, because this is literally what it is. The key to the kingdom is to get a future-proof business venture,” Elmqvist adds on the potential for organisations, no matter how big or small.
Krantz wraps up: “This is the only real collaborative approach that exists from a B2B supplier to partners. It allows for another level of collaboration.”