Land-based casinos and AWP machines have had a long history of utilising popular IPs and integrating them into a title’s aesthetic, gameplay and overall theme.

As the igaming industry increasingly explores the inclusion of established brands into its slots, Bob Hays, SVP, Chief Commercial Officer iGaming at Light & Wonder and Jo Purvis, Director of Key Accounts and Marketing UK at Blueprint Gaming conclude our exploration of games based on popular IPs.

CasinoBeats: What are some of the benefits and challenges that arise from creating titles from pre-established IPs? 

JP: The development process for a branded slot is more involved than anything proprietary. Each step of a title’s creation is carried out in collaboration with the licence holder. All aspects of the gameplay must be approved by them, so it’s a balancing act of ensuring it sufficiently delivers on the brand’s IP while also making it appealing to players. 

With brands like Deal or No Deal, with which we continue to enjoy huge success across several iterations, we are at an advantage. It is an IP referenced regularly in popular culture and easily accessible across today’s comprehensive entertainment platforms and other licensing deals. This is crucial to maintaining the brand’s credibility and relevance. 

The benefits are of course that familiarity and the ready-made audience that comes with an established brand, but that in itself carries further challenges as fans (not to mention the licence holder) are very protective over their favourites and demand faithful reproduction and that a product does the brand justice, a skill Blueprint has been able to hone over many years of releasing such hits like The Goonies, ted and Rick and Morty. 

BH: You have to know your audience extremely well before embarking on this journey, if you take a blind punt on IP, it can very easily go wrong. Do your research to get it right. 

There are a number of branded games that have been around longer than I can remember, still sitting atop casino lobbies thanks to the revenue they’ve brought in for operators. If you do get it right, it also opens the door for future collaboration with the brand owner.

On the other hand, securing IP for a branded game does not come cheap and there can be plenty of hurdles to overcome, especially when it comes to sign-off around assets and the use of characters. It’s not quite as simple as sitting down with your development team and saying let’s do this. With so many more stakeholders involved, the odds of coming across any difficulties increase.

If you’ve got the budget and resources to create a branded slot then it’s a worthy endeavour, if not then it could well be a recipe for disaster. 

CB: Are you currently working on any titles that utilise popular brands and how have you integrated the themes of the brand into the title? 

BH: We have a game changing announcement coming up very soon regarding some exciting new content that utilises one of the most iconic brands in gaming history. Watch this space!

JP: We’ve just recently released our latest and possibly finest title in one of our long-running and most successful brand associations with Deal or No Deal The Banker’s Call, a game which provides a unique twist on the smash hit TV series.

Three or more of the familiar Deal or No Deal symbols award the Banker’s Bonus where players can choose a box to reveal one of the wins displayed on the paddles. Choose whether to Deal and bank the prize or No Deal and reject it.

Collecting as much money as possible is the aim of the game during the three deals that are offered, but as always, players have to watch out for the Bankers’ Call. When the phone rings, any unused Deals are lost and one final box appears which must be collected.

It has already performed very strongly in the short time since its release, which we’re naturally delighted about and we’re sure it will continue to do so.

We’re always working in the background on the next big releases and in terms of branded content, we’re excited to exclusively announce the development of a game that we’re confident is going to make a huge splash given its licence.

The cult movie hit Dumb and Dumber starring the incomparable Jim Carrey and Jeff Bridges is due for a slot release in Q3 this year. True to the brand, the game will see the light-hearted side of Blueprint shine through, paying respect to the comedy classic with entertaining features that will remind you why it remains such a quotable movie to this day. 

The game’s development has seen us try to ensure the hilarity of the original medium is interwoven throughout the game while also keeping the player guessing as to what might happen next – variety in the gameplay is important to us.

And while we can’t say too much more about it at this stage, it’s safe to say that both fans of the movie and slots, in general, are not going to be disappointed!