Calvin Kent, Founder of ReelNRG sits down with Gambling Insider to discuss the inspiration behind creating a casino games development company, and why a tailored offering is the key to success.
You have over 15 years’ experience in the gaming industry, can you begin by giving us a brief history of how you got into casino game development? And what inspired you to create ReelNRG?
I first became involved in the slot production side of the gaming industry with Wagerworks / IGT in San Francisco, and since then I have developed a real passion for developing casino games and ensuring players receive the most from their online casino experience. Myself and Amit Majumdar established ReelNRG with a vision of innovation for the online casino space. As fans of online casino play ourselves, we wanted to bring engaging landbased experiences to the online market, at a time when there was precious little innovation unique to the desktop and mobile channels. A lot of what makes the land-based experience tick was being translated ineffectively onto smaller screens, and we are committed to delivering transformative innovation with content tailored to the online and mobile sectors.
You say you have a keen focus on the Asian gaming sector, why are you so keen to focus on this target market? And what has been you experience so far in working within it?
We are focusing on growing our reach in markets all over the world, and of course Asia is a big target for us, as it is for any fast-growing slot developer. Asia is home to a large number of video slot fans, and it is a great marker of our progress to introduce our slots to them through our recent partnership with BetVictor in October 2017.
Speaking of your deal with BetVictor, Goddess of Asia and Shanghai Respin are going live in Asia before being rolled out across the UK and Europe later in 2017. How do you think the markets will differ in terms of reaction and engagement?
There are definitely intricacies to the demands of slot players in different regulated markets, and entering those markets with a homogenous product that has succeeded elsewhere, without taking heed of those demands, is unlikely to lead to success. Localisation is extremely important, and this involves much more than simply changing the language. It is crucial to tailor the gameplay in order to make sure it is accessible to players in different markets. Asian players tend to favour games that have a higher volatility, while players in Europe prioritise things like vibrant bonus features, for example. Turbo play is also becoming increasingly popular in Asia, and it is in offering these tailored features that we can set our games apart.
The deal further supports your plans for expansion, are there any other markets you are looking to target in the not-so-distant future?
Expanding our footprint into new markets is a priority for ReelNRG, and we are of course very excited to have introduced our games to Asian players for the first time in partnership with BetVictor. Furthermore, we were awarded a remote software licence by the UK Gambling Commission in December 2017, which is a hugely significant milestone for us. The UK is one of the world’s oldest and most highly-developed online casino markets, and we are excited that players there will be able to experience our games. We are constantly assessing new opportunities to build on our
growing commercial footprint, and you can expect to see plenty of activity from us here through 2018.
What makes ReelNRG’s mobile game design entirely unique? And what have been some of the challenges in creating such a forward thinking product?
Delivering a unique and innovative catalogue of slot games is a priority for ReelNRG, and we make sure that each of our games features an exciting new feature, engaging story and audio visual design twist. One thing we are focusing on to set our games apart is simplifying messaging around celebrations. Slot players, especially on the-go mobile users, do not want to have their gameplay experience slowed by overly long win animations. This is especially true when their gameplay is stopped for an extended period for a win twice their stake. We have had a lot of positive feedback from our players and operating partners alike with regard to this aspect of our approach to game design, and providing players with a slick and intuitive experience is a priority.
Where do you hope to see ReelNRG this time next year?
We have big ambitions for 2018, both in terms of growing our flourishing portfolio of HTML5 games, and in putting them in front of a larger audience. We have built a dedicated and talented team over the last two years, and we are really starting to realise its potential, engaging in active discussions with operators and platform providers. Remaining true to our ethos of innovating the online and mobile experience, you can expect to see big things from ReelNRG over the coming 12 months.