1X2 Network is approaching its 20th anniversary and as one of the true veterans of the iGaming industry, the company has plenty to share. 1X2 Network is presently behind brands such as 1×2 Gaming, and Iron Dog Studio, all well-established assets within the industry. The brand has benefited immensely from teaming up with PokerStars, which boosted product awareness, positioning, and created numerous opportunities in what is a symbiotic partnership.
Founded back in 2002, the company has made sure to steer the industry towards a better future. Fast forward 20 years and you have a company that is leveraging the latest technology to create the most compelling slot, sports and table games, and that has been licensed to operate by numerous jurisdictions including the United Kingdom, Malta, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, and Italy to name a few.
Today, we have the opportunity to sit down with 1X2 Network which unites dozens of talented individuals, game developers, and executives. The company has been able to put together an outstanding portfolio of games, but also help shape the past, present, and future of the iGaming industry.
Kevin Reid has been at 1X2 Network for nearly a decade and currently operates as CCO. He has a long history running the commercial side of the business and is as well placed as anyone to talk about the organization’s history and how the industry has evolved.
Q: Twenty years later, what has changed in iGaming for 1X2 Network and everyone involved in this industry?
It’s undeniable that the industry has changed hugely in the time 1X2 Network has been operating but on the flipside, the fundamentals are still the same – creating content that players enjoy playing and want to invest their time and money into.
It’s the ways of creating this that has changed as there is so much more specific player information available, and we have a lot of experience to draw on too. This allows us to avoid mistakes when it comes to things like game themes and mechanics because we have already tried certain combinations in the distant past and know what does and does not work.
The company has been through so many iterations and with different lead products over the two decades we’ve operated but used that knowledge effectively is what gives us our competitive edge.
As for the wider industry, it’s been particularly interesting to see the rise of studios in the last few years that have disrupted the large suppliers who cornered the market for a long time. Seeing studios be successful by taking more risks really reinforces our strategy to keep pushing the boundaries and it’s great to be working in a time where innovation is such a focus for everyone.
Q: You have your hands in so many things today, from sports games to iGaming. Is there still room for growth when it comes to the 1X2 Network portfolio?
I’m a huge believer that there’s room for growth in everyone’s portfolio, never mind just 1X2! When it comes to us, there’s absolutely room to grow within the verticals we already operate in and in new ones, too.
Perhaps the best example of that is Crash Games, a type of game that hasn’t been around long, at least in the context of the time frame we’re discussing! Our forthcoming game will offer some new features in addition to those that are common in that type of game, and this mirrors our philosophy over the years of always trying to add something.
Within the verticals we already operate in there’s still a lot of room for us to grow. We’re looking to release many more titles in our line of Branded Content and also continue to add things like Clusters and Hold and Win games. It’s an exciting time for us and you can really feel that the buzz around the company is the highest it’s been in our long history.
Q: What was the biggest challenge of the past two decades you faced and overcame?
What I love about the industry is also possibly the most difficult facet – the ever-moving goalposts. The most obvious of these is regulation but there are plenty of other examples, too.
Product-wise, clients are often looking for the next thing just as companies really feel they’ve got to grips with the last one. This fast-paced nature makes it great fun but also a constant challenge. We are lucky that as a smaller company we’re able to adapt quickly and that’s what has led to us having success with virtuals, aggregation, 3×3 slots, Megaways titles, instant wins, and various other products – both at different times and, at the moment, all simultaneously.
Q: In retrospect, are there things that you wish you would have done differently?
I guess the easy answer is of course there are! However, I think part of 1X2 Network’s success has come from the journey we’ve been on so learning those lessons has been crucial to getting to where we are today.
I suppose there are smaller things we could have changed in terms of what we have prioritized and done certain things quicker to gain more market share, but, again, we’ve learned lessons from that.
We were ready on day one of every new market regulation in 2021 – something we’re very proud of – and so I think that’s a good example of how we’ve looked at mistakes in the past and learned from them. To use a cliché, we’re enjoying the journey right now and I’m very confident we’re going to enjoy the destination when we get to where we want to be. 1X2 Network has never been shy of a party that’s for sure.
Q: What’s the 1X2 Network brand visibility in 2022? Are you happy with the progress achieved so far?
I mean I can’t answer that question without mentioning that we’ve gone live with PokerStars. I think that shows our recent progress in showing operators how successful our products are – because it will come as no surprise that that’s been a long-term ambition of ours. It’s been great working with SG Digital on that project and a big thanks need to go to Steve Mayes, Christian Croft, and Leigh Clements as well as their entire team plus the teams at Stars who have worked alongside us for one of our smoothest go-lives ever (and I’m told one of theirs, too, which is really great feedback).
We’re two weeks into the year and unsurprisingly thanks to that integration brand visibility is through the roof. Sorry, I know I should talk more generally but I’m far too pumped about The Stars Group to do that!
Q: Can you make bold predictions about the way iGaming will change over the next years?
The most difficult question of all comes last! I think we’ve gone through a period where we’ve seen fewer seismic changes (possibly as a lot of resources was focused on places re-regulating), however, I get the sense the industry is gearing up for big changes ahead.
Of course, there’s the constant world of mergers and acquisitions that keeps everyone on their toes, the USA is the topic on everyone’s lips and multiplayer slots are coming to challenge traditional slots in a way that we haven’t seen before.
I also think there’s a fresh new generation of senior people coming through in many companies (we’re delighted to have built a senior team that includes many of these) that will bring new ideas and directions that could change the game in ways we haven’t previously seen.
If I had to go out on a limb, I think it’ll be the world of personalized homepages leading to more and more diversified slot content that produces very extreme versions of games, maths, and mechanics because suppliers know that a risky game will still find a home in front of the players who would enjoy it.