Entertainment is front and center at Evoplay, playing a key part in their rebrand. In SiGMA’s latest cover story, CCO Vladimir Malakchi discusses how being entertainment-driven is core to Evoplay’s brand values, brand mission, and brand promise
YOU SEE YOURSELVES AS A BRAND WITH A PHILOSOPHY AND MISSION TO BE PART OF THE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD – HOW HAS THIS BEEN INCORPORATED INTO YOUR RECENT REBRAND?
Our rebrand puts this philosophy front and center. Actually, being entertainment-driven has always been core to Evoplay, but today it is encapsulated in our brand values, brand mission, and brand promise – all of which are important parts of how we market ourselves and how we onboard those who join the company. The brand is perception. It’s the way that other people see you – the way they feel about what you do and the products and services you give them.
When you look at our games, email campaigns, social media, presentations, and more, you see how the brand is the driving force behind everything. It’s what partners, players, and the general public see – that everything we do is about entertainment. It’s more than just the games. It’s about how they form part of our story, how we give you a complete experience.
That’s part of why we spend time creating groundbreaking games with stunning 3D graphics, and then let people play around with AR filters to help promote those games, etc. Entertainment, whatever the game, feature, or mechanic, is our brand’s DNA.
WITH GAMIFICATION PLAYING A MORE DOMINANT ROLE IN TODAY’S ONLINE GAMING EXPERIENCE – WHAT FEATURES DO YOU BELIEVE WILL BE KEY IN 2022?
For me, gamification – or more accurately, engagement – is the key to success for today’s top titles. Our new games look to incorporate an interactive experience that rewards as you play. And with the growing use of skill-based or rather skill-influenced elements, you have a way to let people truly ‘earn’ something within a game.
In 2022, we’ll see more tournaments because these are engagement-rich experiences. Wanting to be challenged – that’s a part of people’s nature. We need to bring in elements where you play not only the casino but against other players too. One-user games are today, less popular than multiplayer games.
The entertainment is in not only winning money but beating fellow players. 2022 will be all about shared gaming and information.
Rewards and quests will also grow. Here we create a road, a path for someone to follow based on, for example, the number of spins made – which you are then rewarded for.
You can look at what players like within iGaming, but should also think about what people are liking in broader forms of digital entertainment. Will engagement be as tied to gamification? I think it will be a mix: gamification, social engagement, chatbots with more personalized interaction, etc. What people see elsewhere in our digital world, they will want to see in their online casino games.
YOUR LATEST SLOT GAME, STAR GUARDIANS, IS SAID TO BE YOUR BIGGEST YET. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT WHY THIS IS SO DIFFERENT FROM OTHER GAMBLING PRODUCTS CURRENTLY ON THE MARKET?
Star Guardians stand apart from other games because it offers a completely different kind of gaming/gambling experience. It’s entertainment inspired by the world of mainstream gaming. More than just a slot – it’s a game that for the first time gives players an element of control over the action. It’s gaming’s first third-person shooter with manual control.
Based on one of the most popular gaming mechanics – the third-person shooter – which in the gambling sector was sometimes implemented only in the form of thematic symbols on animations, we took the implementation to an entirely new level. We made it truly work in a slot! Star Guardians give you the opportunity to feel like a hero and see the game through his or her eyes.
There are three different heroes to choose from (each with unique abilities and gaming features), and at any time a player can change their mind about who they are playing as and continue the game as another hero – all without losing the result of the game they are still playing.
How, exactly, does a player feel like a hero in a slot game? This is through another unique feature of the game – manual mode. In Star Guardians, players experience another first in a gambling product – they can actually control the character they are playing as. Move them forward or back, left or right, and choose what they want to shoot. Adding to the uniqueness, we’re promoting the game with videos and teaser trailers, billboard campaigns, and comic books, ’entertainment’ was built around the game, too.
STAR GUARDIANS TAKE PLACE IN A DYSTOPIAN FUTURE, WE’D LOVE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT THE SETTING FOR THIS SCI-FI-THEMED STORY.
This was really fun to create. For this game, we created digital and printed art books and comic books because we wanted to offer that full-entertainment experience. Our partners and competition winners will receive these goodies in our ‘Star Guardian training kits’.
In the game, it’s the year 2777 and an interplanetary war has been raging for five years. It didn’t start on Earth, but on planet Triton, and you play as one of three Special Forces soldiers. They are leading the call to arms and trying to beat back a terrible enemy: giant, insectoid aliens that will stop at nothing to destroy all life they encounter.
We built up whole worlds, character stories and background events, profiles of alien beings, and robot intelligence – we even baked in motivational backstories behind our heroes, the reasons why they are so determined to beat the invading forces. More than just a game, we created our own universe.
IN A RECENT INTERVIEW WITH US YOU SPOKE ABOUT DEVELOPING 3D AND COMIC-STYLE VIDEOS TO ILLUSTRATE THE CHARACTERS – ARE DETAILS LIKE THESE KEY TO REACHING AND ENGAGING WITH NEW AUDIENCES? WHAT DO TODAY’S PLAYERS VALUE IN THEIR GAMING EXPERIENCE?
These act as marketing tools and can be used by operators as ways to interact with players and potential players. We’d say that these are key engagement tools, but the key for a particular kind of audience – one that we are working very hard to get into the online casinos of our partners. That audience is mainstream gamers.
Check out the full magazine here.
SiGMA Calendar 2022
2022 will see SiGMA Group launch in a number of exciting up-and-coming locations, the first of which will be Kenya, with Nairobi on the agenda for March. Here we plan to tap into a marketplace bursting with sports fans, and a young, digitally connected generation. We’ve also planned expos for countries taking their first steps as regulated marketplaces – in June we’ll be heading to Toronto and Ukraine – in what will be the first live events for new brands SiGMA Americas and SiGMA CIS. Both countries are set to test the waters with operators and affiliates next year, making them a great location for SiGMA Group’s conference stage and buzzing expo floor.