Much has been made of the multitude of unexpected developments that have littered 2020, with simultaneous races to diversify online offerings, or simply make that transition from retail to digital, well documented amid the global health pandemic.

With stay-at-home orders executed, and re-executed, across numerous jurisdictions, operational strategies across most, if not all, industries have been torn up on multiple occasions. 

To that end, those physical events that we have all taken for granted have, for the time being at least, become a thing of the past, with creativity on full show as virtual offerings attempt to fill the gaping whole that has been left.

This week CasinoBeats is to place gameplay at the heart of product selection, with the first Slots Festival giving operators’ casino teams the opportunity to play a range of the latest games from leading suppliers and innovative new studios.

To be hosted on Wednesday 18 November, the event will take place in a vibrant online environment that mirrors the one that players have at their fingertips when they log in to their favourite casinos.

One developer showcasing its range of products is Kalamba Games, whose head of marketing, Gareth Dando, expressed eagerness ahead of the big day: We are excited about showcasing our growing slots portfolio from an entertainment point of view with a pure focus on the games.

“We are also looking forward to exploring the other studio’s offerings and get a flavour of the latest trends in terms of themes, mechanics and features.”

We have seen a few interesting trends in the market this year that are worth mentioning”

Before elaborating further on the products that Kalamba is to showcase on the day itself: “We will have a few things happening in the Kalamba showroom. Most excitingly we will be hosting a slot tournament where visitors will get to play our upcoming title Sadie Swift, with Amazon vouchers up for grabs for the winner. 

“We will also demo some of our most popular games including, Pawprints of Purrsia, Maui Millions, Griffin’s Quest, Sky Hunters, Caribbean Anne, Blazing Bull and Joker Max. 

“We are extremely pleased with the titles we have developed so far this year and can’t wait to introduce them and our signature features to a new audience at the Slots Festival.”

Amid the well documented unexpected difficulties endured during 2020 thus far, Dando subsequently changed tack to take a look at the overall performance of the slot market throughout the period: “We have seen a few interesting trends in the market this year that are worth mentioning. The first thing is that more and more operators have partnered up with suppliers to develop exclusive games,” he says.

“At Kalamba we have done the same and teamed up with Kindred to create our exciting title Ducks Till Dawn. Being able to offer a product that is not available anywhere else, is a very strong, unique selling point for the operator and a way to differentiate themselves in a very competitive marketplace. 

“We are also seeing a lot of suppliers introducing sequels to their most successful games, and creating a series of titles to keep players coming back for more. The volatility of games has increased across the board and we are seeing more suppliers introducing player engagement tools such as buy-ins for bonus rounds.

I also predict that players will start to consume casino content quicker”

“We have also seen an increase in suppliers implementing licensable mechanics, such as Megaways, to add extra excitement and win opportunity to their offering. Overall, there has been some great content being released this year and the market continues to push the boundaries in terms of innovation.”

With sporting postponements and cancelations well documented, numerous verticals have been placed in a heightened, and in many respects unforeseen, spotlight amid the ongoing uncertainty.

Alongside such a shift comes an inevitable change in player behaviour, with Dando continuing the conversation to address whether this has caused in a rethink in Kalamba’s approach to development: There was definitely a surge in online casino searches, which to some extent was likely driven by land-based players looking for an alternative experience as venues shut down. Partly, the increase also came from players looking for new experiences because of boredom.

“As a result, we have started to look even closer at trends in the land-based segment to ensure we keep the players that have converted to online during this period. We look at everything from themes, design and mechanics to see if there are ways that we can combine the best from both worlds in our upcoming titles.”

To conclude, Dando glanced forward to touch upon what he believes slot players will be looking for in 2021 and beyond: As we will see a large transition from land-based to online, some players might look for the best possible substitution for their favourite brick-and-mortar games or experiences online. 

“I also predict that players will start to consume casino content quicker as a result of spending a lot more time at home. This could result in an increased demand for new casino content and will push the industry to become even more innovative and to think outside the box.”

Gaming professionals, such as members of operators’ casino teams, slots and casino affiliates, content aggregators, and igaming industry media, can register for the CasinoBeats Slots Festival for free by clicking here