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  • Writer's pictureKevin Jones

Transforming Game Delivery: Studio Insights on Tech Advances and Strategic Innovation

As the gambling industry navigates rapid technological advances and evolving market demands, speed to market remains crucial for game studios looking to capitalise on new opportunities. This roundtable brings together leading figures to discuss the impact of platform technology on the gambling sector. We explore how these technologies are transforming game development and delivery processes, facilitating faster and more effective responses to market dynamics, and fostering an environment ripe for innovation.

Topics Discussed:

  • Evolution of Game Delivery: How is platform technology altering traditional methods studios use to deliver games to players? What improvements are most impactful?

  • Solving Development Challenges: Which significant challenges in game development are currently being mitigated by technological advancements? How do these solutions compare to traditional methods?

  • Custom Solutions and Market Strategy: How do customised solutions for operators enhance their market position? What examples illustrate the effectiveness of this strategy?

  • Catalysts for Innovation: How are current development platforms acting as catalysts for industry-wide innovation? What future possibilities could these platforms unlock?

 

Panelists:

Mark Prout, Director of Studio Engineering  -  Light & Wonder iGaming

Oleksii Mylotskii, CTO  - Playson

Bernd Baumert, Director of Games Production and Operations  - Greentube

Ivan Chobotar, Engineering Manager  -  Infingame

 

Gaming Eminence: As platform technology continues to evolve, can you illustrate how it's transforming the traditional pathways for studios to deliver content to players? What are the most significant enhancements you've observed?


Mark Prout: “I want to highlight three recent events that have changed the pathway of content to players, two which are here and one which is likely nearly here: the trialling of game mechanics through social channels; Apple's policy change regarding app bundles; and the exploration of new delivery mechanisms like AR, VR, and wearable tech.


Trialling game mechanics through social channels: One of the most intriguing trends in modern iGaming is the use of social channels as a testing ground for new game mechanics. Traditional methods of game development often involved lengthy internal testing phases followed by a soft launch in select markets. However, with the rise of social media platforms, developers now have the opportunity to gather feedback faster from a diverse audience allowing for rapid iteration and refinement of ideas.

Apple's policy change and the evolution of iGaming bundles: Another significant development in the iGaming industry is Apple's policy change regarding app bundles. Historically, iGaming operators faced challenges with Apple's bundle review and approval process, which often resulted in delays and added overhead costs. However, Apple's decision to remove the need for creating game bundles has streamlined the distribution process for iGaming content, allowing operators to deliver timely updates and improvements to their players more efficiently.

Exploring new delivery mechanisms, AR/VR/watch: Looking ahead, the iGaming industry is also exploring new frontiers in delivery mechanisms, particularly in the realms of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and wearable technology. While still in the early stages, the potential of these immersive technologies to revolutionise the iGaming experience is nothing short of mind-blowing. VR, in particular, holds immense promise for iGaming, offering players the opportunity to step into fully immersive virtual environments where they can interact with games in ways previously unimaginable. From virtual casinos to immersive multiplayer experiences, the possibilities are endless, contingent upon widespread adoption of VR hardware becoming mainstream. Similarly, the emergence of AR and wearable tech presents new opportunities for iGaming operators to engage players in novel ways, blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds. Whether it's overlaying virtual elements onto real-world environments or delivering personalised gaming experiences through wearable devices like smartwatches, the potential for innovation is vast."

 

Oleksii Mylotskii: "In the iGaming market, several key technological advancements are transforming how studios deliver content to players, enhancing both efficiency and user experience.


One significant development is the implementation of automated certification pipelines. These pipelines streamline the validation process by ensuring that content meets all regulatory requirements in partnership with trusted certification laboratories. This automation not only speeds up the time-to-market for new games but also ensures compliance with various regional standards.


Another major enhancement is the introduction of extensive toolsets that enable faster integration capabilities. These tools reduce the time and effort needed to deliver games to operators globally, making it possible to launch new content swiftly and efficiently. Automation practices further aim to minimise the manual workload involved, ensuring that compliant games are delivered seamlessly.


Additionally, improvements in connectivity speed and network latency have made a notable impact. High connectivity speed and low latency allow operators to offer new promotional features and games that cater to users who prefer fast-paced environments. These technological advancements collectively help create a more dynamic and responsive gaming experience for players."

 

Bernd Baumert: "The biggest change is that the tech is becoming more and more advanced, offering full-service solutions including engagement and retention tools, compliance support and marketing.


The most important thing for a platform is to fully understand the development journey and ensure that the creative ideas of a studio can rapidly become an exciting game that is put in front of the players without much hassle.


That’s the reason why our new tech-stack Mynt is not only an RGS but rather a complete suite of modules which will help our studios through the entire value creation chain from game development to certification and even operator onboarding. New platform tech enables more rapid releases, more streamlined and simpler development of features and also allows game performance to be tracked very easily - all crucial components for studios."

 

Ivan Chobotar: "The improvements in technology provide much more efficient delivery for studios looking to launch their games in the quickest time possible. With the increase in iGaming content now available, aggregation platforms have become key for studios looking to reach a wide range of operators and players.


Aggregation is not unique to iGaming and is used effectively across many industries, with consumers wanting to access everything in one place. Aggregators can achieve this via a single integration. This process can be particularly beneficial to new brands aiming to hit the ground running, allowing them to quickly access a plethora of content options, setting themselves up for early success.


There is a clear focus on giving players variety through a wide-ranging portfolio which taps into a diverse set of preferences. An aggregation platform should include many elements to meet these demands and the use of tools such as tournaments maximises engagement by providing unique gameplay experiences that result in higher retention rates."


 

Gaming Eminence: Could you identify the major pain points in the game development process where technology has had the most impact? How do these technological solutions differ from previous approaches?


Bernd Baumert: "One pain point for studios is providing games to other distribution channels, such as the land-based machine sector, where they might have to start from scratch if their content isn’t compatible. Having games developed in one software environment where they can be almost seamlessly provided across different channels - is where tech solutions can really help overcome challenges. This also goes the other way where land-based content needs to be converted to online games."

 

Oleksii Mylotskii: "Game development aims to create immersive experiences that captivate players. To achieve this, creatives use advanced tools for sound design, gameplay mechanics, and visual storytelling. However, bridging the gap between artistic vision and technological implementation has always been a significant challenge. Artists may have intricate visions, but developers must translate these visions into code, a process that can lead to compromises in the final product.


Technological advancements have significantly impacted this 'complexity of translation.' Modern game development tools now offer more intuitive, code-free solutions for artists, enabling them to realise their creative vision with greater precision and speed. This minimises compromises and expedites the journey from concept to market, fostering a more seamless and efficient development process.


In the past, technologies were more isolated, meaning that changes to one game client could affect the core engine, potentially disrupting the operation and support of the entire portfolio. Today’s integrated development environments and modular architectures allow for more flexibility and stability, ensuring that updates and changes can be implemented without unintended consequences. This shift has streamlined the development process, reducing downtime and improving the overall quality of games delivered to players."

 

Mark Prout: "Mechanic validation and regulatory compliance: Ensuring mechanic validation and regulatory compliance is crucial not only for the success of games but also for safeguarding the interests of players. Traditionally, this process has been time-consuming and complex. However, with the advent of cloud computing and on-demand compute resources, developers now have the tools to expedite mechanic validation and facilitate faster feedback loops. By leveraging these technologies, developers can incrementally evolve game engines, resulting in more robust and polished final products. Our in-house mechanic validation tooling now adopts massively parallel computation reducing billion round simulations from days to mere minutes, demonstrating the innovation taking place across Light & Wonder.

Global platform rollouts: The complexity of launching games across different platforms and jurisdictions has long been a significant challenge for developers. Each region may have its own set of regulatory bodies, submission requirements, and documentation methods, adding layers of complexity to the rollout process. Fortunately, advancements in technology are simplifying this process. Some regulatory bodies have embraced Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which allow developers to upload necessary documentation and game package information seamlessly. This automated approach reduces the risk associated with manual processes and increases the efficiency of complex global release schedules.

The rise of cloud computing: For jurisdictions that support its use, cloud computing provides developers, operators, and players with a more scalable platform, allowing for easier scaling to support dynamic peak loads. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) further enhances this scalability by automating the provisioning and configuring of hardware resources. In the past, accommodating peak loads would have necessitated cumbersome hardware provisioning and configuration processes. However, with cloud computing and IaC, resources can scale as required, ensuring optimal performance during peak demand periods. New environments and services are also significantly faster to provision with assured governance."

 

Ivan Chobotar: "As a content aggregator, we can offer a unique perspective on this. Studios look to aggregation to enhance their market presence and reach, which is a key challenge for them. The integration process between studio and operator can be complex and differ from partner to partner, but technology has significantly enhanced many areas and removed several issues.


Some platforms are not flexible or robust enough to keep up with the fast-paced industry, and creating a completely new solution would prove costly. Previously where there could be a delay in operators having access to new titles, this is no longer the case. Not only are aggregation platforms able to integrate the latest games, they can also provide payment systems, affiliate programmes, promotional tools and 24/7 support functions."


 

Gaming Eminence: In an industry where speed to market is critical, how do bespoke content and customised solutions for operators enhance competitive positioning? Could you provide examples of how this strategy has worked in practice?


Oleksii Mylotskii: "Bespoke content is an excellent approach for operators to differentiate themselves from other market leaders and provide a more tailored experience for players. It can be hugely beneficial, especially if it is made to meet local preferences and rapidly support market trends. The complicated part is creating a high-quality bespoke slot game, which requires ongoing collaboration between the game provider and operator. It is quite a big investment from the game provider's side, but from a technology perspective, we have proven we can efficiently develop top-level solutions and deliver a fast and fully compliant experience.


This achievement did not come about overnight. Several years ago, we began developing an approach that involves the cooperation of multiple departments within the company to quickly react to any changes from operators or the market. Our game development and infrastructure are built to be flexible and adaptable, allowing us to offer our partners the opportunity to quickly launch in new markets, even when their infrastructure requires adjustments."

 

Bernd Baumert: "Bespoke content offers operators something unique that their competitors do not have access to, attracting players who are looking for something different. This customised content usually goes hand in hand with a better positioning on the casino site which is then also beneficial for the game supplier. A good example in our game portfolio would be Diamond Link – Mighty Kraken. The first version of the game was launched exclusively with Austrian operator Win2Day in August 2023 and was bespoke based on several specific requirements. The game was a great success for Win2Day and in February 2024, we launched the game globally with additional features."

 

Ivan Chobotar: "All operators are seeking an advantage and being able to deliver tailored content and solutions will enhance their presence and reputations. With so many diverse markets containing a range of player preferences, it has never been more important to offer bespoke experiences.


We have recently transitioned one of our operator partners to a separate infrastructure, which was exclusive to them. This included a full range of content and the associated back-end solutions to enhance individual experiences and resulted in a 10% increase in GGR for that partner. There is clearly value in operators having tailored offerings and being able to deliver this to audiences."


 

Gaming Eminence: How are current game development platforms acting as catalysts for innovation within the industry? Can you discuss potential future trends that these platforms might enable?


Bernd Baumert: "The evolution we have seen in terms of game engagement tools has been fantastic and has truly propelled innovation in the space in response to player demand and I expect this will continue. The industry is constantly tracking trends in other entertainment verticals to further improve our offering and with the right agile and dynamic tech platforms we can ensure we constantly push the boundaries.


I’m absolutely confident that if the focus is rightly balanced between the user experience for players and the usability for game studios, innovation will continue to flourish and Greentube can bring new thrilling experiences to market."

 

Mark Prout: "In much the same way that cloud computing has revolutionised businesses across various sectors, today's game development platforms are undergoing a transformation, bringing with them the democratisation of computing power, global reach, agility, and more to the realm of iGaming. This evolution is poised to reshape the industry by offering innovative solutions that streamline development processes and enhance player experiences.


Looking ahead, there's potential for studios to develop games on a common, extensible framework that allows for seamless integration across a myriad of game platforms. This approach is pivotal in enabling cost-effective and accelerated omni-channel distribution across jurisdictions that support compatible platforms. By leveraging this technology, game developers can efficiently adapt their games for various platforms, reaching a broader audience whilst minimising development costs and time-to-market.


Moreover, extending this approach to social channels opens new avenues for iterative experimentation of gameplay mechanics and game ideas, refining games to better resonate with their target audience.


By accelerating the ease of game experimentation this approach has the potential to catalyse innovation within iGaming especially when combined with data-driven insights into player behaviours and preferences. Through leveraging these advantages new opportunities for growth will be unlocked and player loyalty grown. Within Light & Wonder we are investing in platform evolution to realise the benefits detailed above, accelerating mechanic and client prototyping and the transition into quality releasable deliverables."

 

Ivan Chobotar: "There will be an even greater focus on spin time. The more enjoyable and exciting experiences players have will lead to better results for operators, and the technology will need to be able to assist that.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) could also have a huge role in the growth of the industry and offers interesting propositions, which is something we are currently exploring. AI can help reduce time to market and boost efficiency in areas like content translations which we are already integrating. AI can also be beneficial in creating and maintaining a safe environment for players, detecting any fraudulent activity or suspicious behaviour so there are several positives in utilising this technology going forward."

 

Oleksii Mylotskii: "Technological advancements are continually reshaping the landscape. Innovations are not limited to new game mechanics but also include enhancements in back-office systems that simplify operations. As end-user devices become more powerful, technologies are increasingly integrated natively, offering smoother and more immersive experiences.


Emerging technologies like Augmented Reality and Large Language Models (LLM) are further enhancing the player journey. These tools provide more interactive and engaging gameplay, and the integration of AI into games and promotional features is expected to become more prevalent. This trend promises to create more personalised and dynamic experiences for players, ultimately driving the evolution of the iGaming industry.

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