A pair of significant anniversaries formed the central focus in a recent, and what has seemingly become an annual, get together between CasinoBeats and Yggdrasil CEO Björn Krantz.
In a wide ranging conversation that covered the group’s overarching journey as well continued hopes of doubling its games output year-on-year, talk began with that of tenth year of operation for the gaming supplier.
“We are extremely proud of where we are today,” Krantz began when looking back at Yggdrasil’s decade-long journey which officially began in September 2013.
From humble beginnings of a Malta Gaming Authority licence, the company has subsequently swelled to be regulated in more than 20 markets, and boasts a network of more than 150 customers.
“We have never had such an output of innovative premium games than what we see today, and we have never been as global as we are today,” Krantz noted.
“The 10 years have taken us from being that startup company to a very innovative and rapid growth challenger in this market where we really want to make a difference. And we continue to make a difference.
“It’s remarkable when you take a step back and see what we have achieved. And then when you look at what we have ahead of us, you’ll feel that joy. We’re only at the beginning of the next phase of the journey.”
“It needs to be manageable, and it needs to be quality and it needs to be innovative”
This ongoing journey had previously seen ambitions of doubling the output of its own developed core games from 2021 into 2023, with a similar aim with a similar aim to further grow core game output in 2024.
Krantz stressed that Yggdrasil is “very happy” with its product development strategy and “how we have been utilising our technology in order to scale up our offering”.
With 12 Yggdrasil core games being delivered during the past 12 months, hopes through 2023 place that figure at 22. However, this will be complemented by approximately 50 Masters titles.
“For us, it’s not from a total portfolio perspective, the number of games is not super important anymore,” he explained, it’s the quality and innovation behind each unique development. “If you look three years back, we had around 12-15 games as a whole, and now we have around 70.
“And I think there is some magic number in what we can push to market in monthly releases – how we optimise that output, and that we can get a strategic weight in our portfolio offering so it’s not getting too much.
“It needs to be manageable, and it needs to be quality and it needs to be innovative. And we think that around six to eight games per month in output is what we can see right now as a good balance.”
With, Krantz said, the passion for gaming running through every facet of the group’s operations, the Yggdrasil CEO is also keen to cite the group’s game engagement mechanics and frameworks in shaping an ongoing “success story”.
“Yggdrasil is extremely, extremely good and paranoid to get math and mechanics correct”
With developmental influences coming from the likes of operator partners, forums and the streamer community, Krantz also points to the “very, very fine balance with how you work with math and mechanics” in ensuring a standout performer among the hundreds of monthly releases.
“Yggdrasil is extremely, extremely good and paranoid to get math and mechanics correct in the games,” he said, noting a belief that GEMs, mechanical frameworks, IPs and trademarks offer Yggdrasil a “unique niche and competitive advantage”.
A natural progression saw the conversation turn to that of the YG Masters programme, which offers a pathway for independent studios to get games and slots distributed via the existing Yggdrasil network.
“The Master’s programme is a natural integration of what we’re doing in the global portfolio strategy,” he explained. “And the total idea is that we, together with our Masters partners, have a very relevant local and global portfolio offering towards the markets and operators that we serve.
“And we also want to make it very easy for these Master’s studios, our third party developers, to be successful with what they’re doing.”
The relationship, it is added, is designed to permit studios to “focus on what they are good at” regarding the design of games, with Yggdrasil subsequently doing “the heavy lifting”.
“I think it’s a perfect partnership, both ways, that is very strategic for us in relationship with the Masters partner, but also the relevancy and the quality and innovation, in the end, that we push out to the market and the customers that we serve.”
As our time drew to close, the moment came to address a fast approaching second key anniversary for Krantz and Yggdrasil, with that being April’s one year anniversary since the reins to the company were handed over by Founder Fredrik Elmqvist.
“…we have new ambition levels, but the strategy has not fundamentally changed in the company”
“I am very, very lucky to have such a talented team working with me every single day. I couldn’t be more proud of what everyone has achieved,” it is stated.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to the people and the attitude that all of us bring to the table in our daily work.”
With it stressed that the company refuses to focus on anything that is deemed to offer little value to Yggdrasil and partners, the optimism regarding the next steps of the journey are clear for all to see.
“We have the organisational readiness and a wide focus that I think has been working really well throughout this first year,” Krantz noted. “And now we have another exciting year ahead of us.”
Attention was then brought back to a statement of intent upon being named Yggdrasil CEO, which saw Krantz stated that “we have a clear strategy, and together with the rest of the management team I look forward to delivering on our global growth ambitions.”
After being asked for an update 12 months on, he concluded: “That statement remains valid, because we are all proud, but we want more. So, I am quite happy with where we are today and what we have achieved as a team.
“But of course now we are in a new year, and we have new ambition levels, but the strategy has not fundamentally changed in the company. So that remains the same. It’s all hands on deck to now deliver on the 2023 ambitions.”