In an ever-evolving and increasingly challenging global marketplace, those that remain lean, flexible and dexterous will thrive. Relax Gaming’s CCO Daniel Eskola explains why smart content differentiation is essential.
To say 2020 has been challenging is somewhat of an understatement. But, moving forward throughout the New Year, we do so with the knowledge that the products we bring to the fore have to possess an equal degree of diversity.
While there are opportunities and hurdles to overcome as markets open up – Germany being the recent big mover – legislation, compliance and regulation are consistent bedfellows. Only recently the UK government pledged a ‘major and wide-ranging review’ of gambling, which may include further limits on stakes and advertising, and no doubt more authorities will follow down a similar path.
Add the increasing levels of competition for operators and suppliers into the mix and the operating conditions become even more challenging, potentially instigating a wave of market withdrawals. But that creates opportunity, too.
Relax believes that driving differentiation through a combined approach of blockbuster titles and localised, tailored content distribution is going to be a vital component in us strengthening our place at the head of the pack.
The reasons for this are twofold. This kind of tailored approach is key when considering the various regions and player preferences, not simply because say, a Swedish player prefers a different style of game to one logging in from Italy, but because of differences in legislation. In Germany, for example, table games have been traditionally popular, but are now no longer permitted under the terms of the new inter-state treaty.
There are also the restrictions of €1 per spin stake cap, removal of multiplay functionality and five second intervals between spins that will have a far-reaching impact on game design. Any supplier wanting to service the market will have to adjust its portfolio to meet these requirements. A cookie cutter approach just isn’t viable.
“A supplier’s ability to adapt quickly and tailor portfolios … will have huge influence over its competitiveness”
The second facet is meeting local player demands. Germany’s new legislation will help refine the understanding of player preferences in the country beyond the usual European trends. Tapping into these quickly will be key to cementing market positions, especially since the restrictions will challenge what we think we already know.
We expect that the brutal combination of tough competition and strict regulation will push up demand for localised content. But Germany isn’t an isolated case. Games from boutique studios that provide something different to the standard lobby offering have been growing in popularity on the global stage for some time – a trend that is unlikely to change direction considering what’s on the horizon.
None of this can be achieved without robust technical foundations, however. For both aggregators and suppliers, responding to the challenges of regulatory change will be a defining factor of the next 12 months – such as that now looming in the UK, the long-anticipated opening of Germany, and the inevitable global variations that the future will undoubtedly present.
A supplier’s ability to adapt quickly and tailor portfolios to such requirements will have huge influence over its competitiveness in the marketplace. Flexibility and speed will prevail, while those weighed down by legacy tech may struggle to keep up.
The case for technical agility has already been evidenced in the race to meet Germany’s transitional requirements. By managing the changes through our API configuration solution, we were able to meet the deadline in good time and advise our partners, assisting 20 of our studios to get ahead.
The experience has offered yet another learning curve for yet another jurisdiction, one where speed-to-market, technical excellence and unmatched knowledge have served as a major advantage.
While in the long term, further-reaching design change in production of games may be required, our out-of-the-box thinking and focus on innovation will be critical in delivering quality content that cuts through. Not only that, but it will see Relax stand in good stead, driving differentiation in the face of continually evolving market conditions.