With around 80 per cent of all online casino gaming now being conducted via smartphone or tablet, SBC Leaders sat down with David Mann, Chief Commercial Officer at Swintt, in a two-part special to discover how to stay ahead of the curve without alienating the conventional desktop player.
CasinoBeats: Does a rise in mobile usage present any challenges when it comes to localisation of content?
David Mann: Yes, because obviously smartphone penetration varies a lot by region. In some emerging markets where online casino is relatively new, there’s a greater tendency for players to gravitate towards desktop usage, either because the mobile technology isn’t yet there or the service is unreliable.
This isn’t always the case, however, and the Latin America region makes for a very interesting case study. Despite it still being an emerging market, smartphone usage there is actually very high at around 69 per cent – presumably because of the affordability and availability of smartphone devices compared to regular home PCs – so we have to be aware that players in this region already have the technology available to them and will naturally be pretty receptive to our mobile-first products.
Nevertheless, when creating localised content we always have to keep the current state of each market in mind. While the global trends suggest that mobile play will continue to dominate online casino gaming in future, some countries may not be there quite yet and we have to put equal care into our desktop offering to ensure a wide cross-section of players is catered for in all our markets.
CB: We’re seeing more companies venture into the world of mobile gaming. Does this mean that desktop should be taking a back-seat or does this vertical still have relevance for players?
DM: As I touched on in my previous answer, at Swintt we always do our best to cater for the whole market. We think it’s important that our games satisfy as wide a cross section of players as possible, so it’s essential we continue developing for desktop even as mobile usage increases.
If you consider that 80 per cent of online casino gaming is now conducted on mobile, that still leaves 20 per cent of users who are currently playing via desktop. That’s a large percentage, so while we believe player preferences are leaning towards mobile, we’ll continue delivering for desktop users too.
CB: Given that the mobile-first approach is becoming an increasingly important strategy for slot developers, how big of an appeal does one-handed play have on mobile slot gaming?
DM: I think that people on mobile mainly use one hand in anything they do, so all applications – including those outside of gambling – need to be created with this in mind. As such, it’s very important to make sure one-handed play is possible in our games, just as we have done for our SwinttLive titles and many of our slots too. We’re currently looking into ways to make this more feasible, such as including options that enable users to switch games into one-handed play mode.
Another aspect of the mobile-first approach is looking at how our games are actually laid out. Our Candy Gold slot is a good recent example of this, because for that title we adjusted the reel configuration to ensure the game was more mobile friendly. While a lot of our slots use a 5×3 reel matrix – which is perfect for the 16:9 screen ratio – we switched it up in Candy Gold to create a layout that worked better on vertical displays and it proved a popular release with mobile players.
CB: What can we expect from Swintt over the next few months?
DM: We plan to continue our mobile-first approach to game development by rolling out a number of exciting new releases that are designed with smartphone users in mind. Having been shortlisted for the Innovation in Mobile category at the SBC Awards 2022, we’re really investing a lot in this area and hope our efforts will be recognised by the judges when they see what we’re working on.
Another major focus area for us will be the continued development of our gamification tool, SwinttGamify. Although already optimised to work across all smartphones and tablets, we’re planning a number of improvements for the tool to make it even more intuitive for mobile players, with enhanced one-handed navigation allowing them to easily continue their challenge progress.
Finally, having been preparing to offer Swintt products at UKGC-licensed online casinos, we’re looking forward to establishing our brand in what is an incredibly important new market for us. Over the coming months, we hope to be able to bring you further updates on a few of the partnerships we have in our pipeline plus news on some exciting UK-focused releases.