Rory Kimber, account management and marketing director at 1X2 Network, discusses the company’s latest arcade games and the state of iGaming innovation. All of this comes in the broader context of new markets opening up and companies who wish to stay competitive obligated to take on multiple tasks, from product implementation to innovation to breaking new regulatory grounds.
Q: You have just recently released your arcade games. Can you tell us a bit more about them? There is a big emphasis put on “skill” in them?
1X2gaming’s expansion of its arcade offering is already proving to be a success with the operators that have launched these titles to their players, and we’re excited to keep growing our portfolio of arcade games.
‘Skill’ is certainly an interesting term, and we’re seeing it pop up a lot across the industry. Ultimately, our games are powered by a random number generator, so to say they require an element of player skill is a bit of a stretch. Rather, the mechanics of say Branded Coin Vault allow an element of player control where they can customize their gaming experience and make choices regarding volatility, multipliers, etc.
1X2gaming’s new slate of arcade games also represents the evolution of 1X2 Network’s Branded offering, which now spans Megaways, our own “Tomb of” series, and Mine Games. Branded Coin Vault offers yet another opportunity for operators to have a totally unique, brand-specific game right at the front of their lobbies.
1X2gaming intends to capitalize on the success of these first arcade releases and drive forwards with more innovations and new and exciting concepts.
Q: What do you reckon the biggest innovation slots have seen of late is and how can this impact the industry in the long-term?
On the subject of 1X2gaming’s arcade games, it would be remiss not to discuss the industry-wide shift we’re seeing to arcade-style content. While it’s more of a trend than an innovation, arcade-style gaming titles do afford studios the chance to experiment with totally original concepts, themes, mechanics, and features.
Considering innovation in slots specifically, there’s not been an industry-disrupting concept for some time. It seems to be the rule that any iGaming discussion eventually finds itself centered on the Megaways concept, and we’re yet to see a worthy challenger emerge. However, it is interesting to see how concepts are being combined to create new player experiences. For example, fishing games have enjoyed a surge in popularity of late, and combining their mechanics with a Megaways foundation offers a totally new product.
Q: Can you tell us about some of your most recent market launches? Do you follow a specific roadmap when it comes to new markets or do you work on multiple fronts at the same time?
There are so many markets and regulatory bodies to deal with that working through them one by one is simply not a productive option. 1X2 Network tackles multiple fronts at once; for example, we just went live in Romania, Lithuania, and Ontario – all very different markets but all achieved in the same quarter.
Taking on multiple fronts simultaneously is especially necessary with the US opening up; if we were to work on each state one-by-one we’d be doing so for far too long and would miss the chance to leverage that all-important first-mover advantage for 1X2 Network but also our operator partners. And as well as new markets, you’ve got to consider the reregulation of existing jurisdictions such as Greece which presents just as much work as is involved in entering a totally new market.
Q: Do you think the iGaming experience will continue to evolve and how do you think new technology would impact that evolution?
If an industry isn’t evolving then it’s degrading, and iGaming is no exception. There’s plenty of evolution across the sector, notably the growth of arcade games’ market share, and increased focus on such releases from all studios. 1X2gaming’s recent release of a dedicated suite of arcade content not only illustrates 1X2 Network’s finger-to-the-pulse attitude but also its ability to step ahead of the curve; opening the door rather than just getting a foot in.
New technology has an undeniable impact on all this. There are the glamorous bits like Virtual Reality, which has been talked about for many years now. But then at the back end, 1X2gaming and Iron Dog Studio strive to employ new technologies to constantly improve gaming experiences. For instance, the highly anticipated release of Gods of Asgard Megaways will exhibit our deployment of the latest in Spine animation technology which is used to drastically improve animation latency – it may not be glamourous, but it has a significant impact on player experience.
We’re also seeing more and more conversations about Web3, and any discussion that involves blockchain and token-based economics absolutely will impact the iGaming industry, especially at the consumer-facing end.