CasinoBeats talks to Josefin Uppeke, Head of Games at ESA Gaming, about her new role at the non-traditional casino content provider, background in the industry and what she has planned for the studio.

CasinoBeats: You join ESA Gaming having worked with more traditional slot studios, how will it differ creating and developing concepts in the non-traditional space?

Josefin Uppeke: The concept of excitement is always the same for all types of games, so the trick is how you are able to present it. Non-traditional content is more straightforward to understand, with quicker journey time to the climax, while slots are more about telling a story to the player through features and more advanced math.

Both are fun in their own way so I’m looking forward to producing a mixture of the two verticals. The majority of titles in our existing portfolio are not slots, with our best-performers being mine games, inspired by the old-school video game classic as well as crash-style content.

My goal is to expand the offering with some marquee slots, but keeping the focus on providing a big variety of games so that there is something for everyone.

CB: What will be your key priorities as ESA Gaming’s new Head of Game Production?

JU: My key priorities will be to boost our portfolio and create plenty of games, both traditional and non-traditional. I’m also looking at other components such as the UI and how we can make it more player focused, easy and sleek.

My goal is also to create a standout mechanic or feature that we can use to be a real differentiator in the market and build trust with our operators.

Additionally, I will focus on more localised games and branded content, along with seasonal titles around holidays such as Christmas and other big events and festivities during the year.

CB: What’s your inspiration when you create new games?

JU: Like many designers, I play games and I want to recreate the feeling I get when I come across a great product and do it even better. I’m a big fan of land-based casinos so just walking around in that environment gives me a lot of inspiration and ideas.

Sometimes I also go back to old games I developed and try to understand why that certain title didn’t perform. I see it as a challenge to get better and take my future work to new heights.

CB: Are there any markets you are targeting with your new games?

JU: Italy is one of our biggest markets right now, so one priority is on creating something exciting for that audience. Africa will also be an area to learn more about as we have recently entered various markets in the continent and look to continue our local expansion.

We also have interesting opportunities with clients in Latin America, as well as maintaining our growth across the European market. As we expand, the focus on localised and tailored content will become even more crucial and analysing local data will become key to developing our future portfolio.   

CB: Can you let us know your own personal top three slot games and why?

JU:There are a few games I really like and keep coming back to for different reasons. 

1.    Dead or Alive 2 – I have a hate love relationship with this title, but it’s always been my go-to game since it came out. It’s simple, fast and has amazing graphics. And I had my biggest wins ever in this game.

2.    Any Gold game from ELK Studio but my latest favourite is Pacific Gold. It has really innovative features and smooth gameplay.

3.    Serengeti Kings – This is my own game, but you got to love your own work, right? I really enjoy the overlapping feature in this title where I made 12 spin cycles where you collect high paying symbols that are then placed on the reels at the end of the cycle. I really enjoyed working on this game!

CB: Will all the new games be part of the EasySwipe™ concept or what is your strategy?

JU: To begin with, we will make all games suitable for this feature to keep the portfolio consistent with our renowned mobile-first and cross-selling capabilities. In due course, we might make more heavyweight games that may not fit into the EasySwipe concept but that will open doors to more traditional slot players.

However, EasySwipe is our flagship product, and we want to utilise it as much as we can and improve it in any way possible. It’s what makes our offering unique which is super important in today’s market where all operators want differentiation to stand out from the crowd.