Despite being a staple of the online casino ecosystem, it could be said that niche games are often a segment that get slightly lost among the overwhelming noise that is delivered by the slots scene.

However, Tetiana Shumakova, Game Producer at Evoplay, is firmly of the belief that offering players a “quick adrenaline fix” can bring numerous benefits to a studio.

In addition to addressing the potential of instant games, Shumakova speaks to CasinoBeats about how to ensure such titles remain unique within the marketplace, touches on developmental challenges and the importance of consistent upgrade, looks at why Latin America is a region primed for success when it comes to such games, and much more.

CasinoBeats: Instant games are a staple of the igaming make-up. What does this segment represent for Evoplay? And how do you ensure that your games stand out above competitors?

Tetiana Shumakova: Our diverse game lineup gets a serious boost from instant games – they’re super popular and in high demand. Players dig them because they deliver a quick adrenaline fix, offering that instant rush of excitement.

At Evoplay, we’re all about making a mark in the instant games sector, and that boils down to obsessing over quality, constantly jazzing up our interface, being open to trying out new mechanics, and throwing in a mix of captivating game elements and themes.

Within the current Evoplay portfolio, around 60 instant games showcase a fusion of popular and modified mechanics, from the widely enjoyed shoot-out mechanic in football-themed games like Penalty Shoot-out: Street to the crash-game style featured in titles such as Long Ball. 

CB: Penalty Shoot-out: Street caused much internal optimism upon release earlier in the year. Could you give us an update on its performance? Particularly centred around the Latin America region, where it was hoped significant success would be witnessed.

TS: Penalty Shoot-out: Street not only smashed records but also carved its place as a standout performer in different regions. It’s been, and still is, a real game-changer. 

In the Latin American igaming market, both Penalty Shoot-out: Street and Penalty Shoot-out achieved remarkable success, securing top-three rankings in crucial performance metrics like Bet Sum, GGR, Round Count, and Users by the close of 2023. 

The game’s big win is thanks to its seamless connection with the local football craze, riding on the enthusiasm we’ve built up from our previous Penalty Shoot-out edition. 

We amped things up with strategic updates – better dynamics, killer artwork, and groundbreaking ball-kicking moves – all of which play a key role in the game. The triumph isn’t confined to Latin America; it’s holding strong in the top three across Europe and other regions too.

CB: Why was football selected as the ideal vehicle to try and gain ground in the LatAm region? Will this sport be utilised once again in the future?

TS: There are five billion football fans worldwide, with Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa boasting the largest fan bases. Therefore, football emerged as the optimal vehicle to secure our robust penetration in Latin America, driven by the dynamic football culture in this region. 

This strategic decision is anchored in this region’s profound fan base and rich football history, perfectly aligning with the universal appeal of the sport for use in the igaming industry.

In the realm of football-themed offerings, following the triumph of our Penalty Shoot-out game, we sustained our momentum by introducing an instant football game, Long Ball, featuring innovative crash mechanics. 

Looking ahead, we plan to unveil a new football-themed title this year, predicting that it will gain popularity against the backdrop of the 2024 European Football Championship. 

But this new release aims not only to cater to European football enthusiasts but also to lay the groundwork for heightened anticipation surrounding the FIFA World Cup in 2026, appealing to football fans globally.

CB: With this being the latest twist in the Penalty Shoot-out series, what challenges did this bring? How much importance does this subsequently place on marketing strategies?

TS: The latest instalment in the Penalty Shoot-out series, Penalty Shoot-out: Street, transports players to the lively streets of Brazil where passion for football is authentic. 

The game got significant enhancements, including new mechanics, intuitive UI controls, and expanded features to fully immerse igamers in the football experience. For example, the mechanic that allows players to direct the ball to a specific area on the football net, thus feeling more control over the gameplay.

A finely tuned game, both technically and visually, grants marketing carte blanche, leveraging a full spectrum of promotional tools. To illustrate, in the case of Penalty Shoot-out: Street, we played our cards right by strategically employing gamification tools like network tournaments. 

It’s like the game’s sidekick, adding that competitive edge and a genuine championship atmosphere, just like you’d feel in the world of football.

CB: In previous conversations with CasinoBeats, it was said that July’s launch would be followed with new gamification features and marketing campaigns. Could you talk us through these and the impact that you believe they will have? 

TS: In Evoplay, we consistently underscore the strategic importance of gamification – a powerful tool for enhancing player retention and expanding our target audience. This approach cultivates a user-friendly environment, articulating gameplay features in a language that profoundly resonates with players. 

We really value what igamers like, so gamification isn’t a sporadic thing for us; it’s a consistent dedication we hold dear. What we see is that tournaments are perennial player favourites among gamification tools. 

It’s no big surprise that competition really gets things going. Striving to outdo others brings a sense of accomplishment and adds a nice touch of excitement to the gaming experience.

Gamification is a big part of how we operate, and we’re excited to incorporate this approach into all our games. With the upcoming release of our flagship game, Adrenaline Rush, and two more games accompanying it, we see numerous opportunities for dynamic marketing campaigns throughout 2024.

CB: What can we expect from Evoplay moving forward both within the realm of instant games? And also, should we make further headway into the LatAm region?

TS: Evoplay is gearing up for an exciting year ahead with some ambitious plans for game production, particularly focusing on in-demand instant games. 

Upcoming releases featuring innovative mechanics are strategically poised to enrich our portfolio, catering to a diverse global player demographic. 

Notably, the sustained demand for sports-themed instant games is a guiding beacon, directing our development trajectory and ensuring alignment with prevailing trends. 

While I can’t unveil all our ideas and plans, our unwavering focus on gamification persists, resonating with both casino and igamers, thereby enhancing player retention and engagement. 

We will integrate novel mechanics and themes into our game portfolio while employing well-established business strategies to fortify our presence in the burgeoning Latin American market. As the adage goes, playing the game is facile; mastering it is an art.