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Mike Johnson April 21, 2021 4 min read
Collaborating to Innovate – How Can Developers and Operators Work More Closely Together?
Foreword by GamblingNews.com: Kalamba Games Head of Games Andy Sekula offered his insight into how iGaming companies can bring more innovation to the sector by working together and focusing on adding quality rather than quantity to their portfolios. Collaborating closely will allow companies to create content that listens to operators’ needs and present a solution to the challenges of what Sekula describes as a congested market. The good news is that this trend is already unfolding before us.
Innovate Through Collaboration
Innovation is a buzzword so commonly used in our industry but is there a way to make it more than that and make true innovation a reality? One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through collaboration and this is a key strategy for Kalamba in our relationships with operator partners.
The number of suppliers on the market has increased to unprecedented levels with many churning out games with a quantity rather than a quality approach.
During that process, the link to the operator is often forgotten and suppliers do not engage with them directly to find out more about their requirements and needs. For us, building a relationship with our operator partners is crucial in gaining a better understanding of player preferences across different markets.
Forget One Size Fits All Approach
A one size fits all approach to operators does not exist. Due to the breadth of the industry, operators come in all shapes and sizes and so do developers. Working together offers great advantages for both parties though, both creatively and commercially. Content saturation is currently acute, and the market is set to become even more congested, presenting a significant challenge to operators who want to differentiate their offerings.
Working with developers to bring exclusive content to the market is one way to mitigate against this. This is a trend we have seen grow over the last few years and leveraging this saw us developed our first exclusive game through a partnership with Kindred last year.
The project was hugely beneficial for us as a supplier as we could leverage the experience and knowledge Kindred has of its player base throughout the entire game development process. It is a true feedback loop that adds real weight to the design process and puts our developers much closer to our end users.
Getting Inside the “Marketing Machinery”
It also affords us insight into the marketing machinery of an operator, which is different from our own. There are, of course, also commercial benefits – both in the sharing of development cost and in that we can see two peaks in terms of bets – the exclusive release and the eventual general release to the global network.
When creating games together with a partner, the most important aspect is to find the balance between the operator’s needs and what the supplier feels strongly about as a creative entity.
It is quite rare to encounter overly demanding, unachievable requirements from operators, as much of the game development process is truly a creative one. However, there may be some themes or math models that resonate better than others with a particular operator’s audience, or indeed an operator’s priority list at any given time. Practically this manifests itself in having another, in our experience, very constructive voice at the table.
Keep an Open Mind for Greater Results
Keeping an open mind is crucial when working together. In a vertically ‘fragmented’ industry such as ours, everyone becomes experts in their own field, but it is easy to become a little siloed and start adhering to rigid formulas. Working closely with partners who come from outside your normal frame of reference really opens things up and enables you to improve and grow as a company.
As a supplier, we are very well-placed to provide exclusive games collaborations, so for us, it is about finding operator partners who realize all the benefits and really seek to innovate in the space. We have a few more partnerships in the pipeline and will release more exclusive games this year.
We are also actively looking for other ways to work closer together with operators in an effort to further improve our products and processes. We recently introduced exclusive slot tournaments where we invite operator representatives to try our upcoming game launches in a fun and social environment. This helps us build stronger relationships with operators and get immediate feedback on our content.
In a time where operators are inundated with new game launches every week, we want to ensure that operators are fully aware of all the benefits of working together with suppliers. We aim to continue collaborating to achieve true innovation.