SLOTEGRATOR TOUCHES BASE WITH ONETOUCH
Slotegrator connected with OneTouch Head of Product Madis Raus to find out more about how the game developer shot to the forefront of the industry — and what expectations the company has for the future.
OneTouch is a developer of premium-quality, mobile-first iGaming content. Founded in 2015, the developer has a presence in regulated markets around the world and offices in Estonia, Ukraine, Spain, Malta, and the Philippines. The company’s focus on single-touch interactivity has grabbed players’ attention, with the average player making over 3000 bets and spending over 800 minutes in gameplay every month.
Slotegrator caught up with OneTouch Head of Product Madis Raus to find out how the company found success so quickly — and how it plans to keep its momentum going into the future.
Slotegrator: OneTouch was founded in 2015. Tell us more about your objectives and how they helped you to take your place among the industry’s leaders so quickly.
Madis Raus: There are several factors behind our success. The biggest is that when we started in 2015, there weren’t many mobile-first casino games available on the market, so we decided to recreate classic table games and make them play perfectly on mobile devices.
The business has stayed true to this philosophy to the present day, with our core aim to provide premium mobile gaming experiences. By fusing sharp mobile-first designs with intuitive single-touch interactivity, we provide players with a unique and superior online gaming experience irrespective of the device they are using.
Since then, however, we have broadened our approach to also focus on improving our platform features to satisfy the growing demands from operators and aggregators.
S: You helped to revolutionize mobile gaming. Can you share your insights into how mobile usage has changed? What are your projections for the future of mobile-first iGaming?
MR: Mobile usage and gameplay have become a core part of our everyday lives. Working, banking, entertainment — everything has moved, and continues to move, to mobile devices. People are spending more and more of their day on their mobiles, so that should always be a consideration when developing new products.
With regards to the future of mobile iGaming, there are an increasing number of providers offering high-quality mobile games today, so it has become even more important to think about your target audience and how best to reach them.
Also, we’re always thinking about what we can offer operators and aggregators so that they would be happy to use and promote us.
S: Your products are popular across the globe. Was this your original strategy? How have you come to have such a worldwide appeal and where did you start?
MR: Our original strategy was not limited to any specific market and we have diversified our distribution into a host of different markets over time. We’ve also generated some great results and had some great feedback from the various markets we’re working in. Our vision has always been for players to enjoy their favorite games on a phone in one hand while holding the handrail of a bus with the other, so we’re proud to pioneer the mobile-first approach, which will play an ever-more important role in our industry’s development over the next decade and beyond.
S: How do players differ from market to market?
MR: They differ greatly. A good example is the table games market, which is quite different if you compare countries. The average player would be someone who mostly bets on traditional table games and occasionally has fun playing slots. Classic table game players are often older and people who really enjoy pure gambling games, while live casino players tend to be slightly younger, especially when you look at the new range of more gameshow-style content that has become popular in recent years.
Today’s Gen Y and Z players look for more social experiences than their older counterparts. Social casino could therefore prove key to our industry’s prospects among that demographic, with instant and arcade games also likely to play a role. That said, there is no reason why certain Gen Y and Z players wouldn’t go for more traditional slot and table titles, so it’s all about offering a diverse portfolio of content that accommodates the full range of potential player preferences.
S: Which players make up a bigger share from your point of view: those who prefer innovative new games or those who stick to proven classics?
MR: Currently the biggest share comes from players that stick to proven classics such as blackjack, baccarat, and roulette, but our share of slot players is growing significantly, and we have responded to that in the last three years by developing an entirely new portfolio of slot games.
Since 2018, we have unveiled a string of immersive slot titles to sit alongside our impressive table game collection. These include hits such as Flexing Dragons, MVP Hoops, and Forgotten Pharaohs, as well as longstanding fan favourites such as Tiki Terror, Lucky Lion, and Bubbles Bonanza.
Even though our games utilise an advanced raft of technical features, we also strongly believe in the power of simplicity. It is important not to lose sight of what players love most about slot games – spinning the reels for a thrilling chance to win big. That is why so many of the titles in our portfolio are unashamedly simple and easy to enjoy.
S: Since we are talking about markets, would you share with us your vision of a marketing strategy operators can use in different markets? Do you have any proven ideas of what operators can use to attract more players to their online casino platforms?
MR: Operators use a host of tactics, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Bonusing is still one of the fundamental methods of attracting and retaining online casino players.
Whether it is rewarding loyalty, big wins, or cross-channel play, from retail to online and vice versa, bonusing is both a vital and a continually evolving feature of the industry.
In an increasingly competitive market, where customer experience is key, operators must be as agile as possible when bonusing and often think further than simply offering free spins by creating more player engagement and building personalized journeys.
An increasing number of brands, for example, now use gamification tools and techniques, incentivizing players to subscribe to emails, make an initial deposit, or play a certain number of games to unlock bonuses.
S: OneTouch offers a comprehensive range of great mobile-first slots and table games, but you are also planning to launch live dealer games. Tell us about this decision. How did you get this idea and why do you think it will succeed?
MR: Our focus has been on table games for most of our existence. However, the rapidly growing live games market has grabbed our attention, and we’ve been planning our move into that sector for some time. When the pandemic began a year ago, we were presented with an opportunity to start putting that plan into action, so we decided it would be an ideal time to develop our range of live casino products, particularly with the category showing so much growth in the last 12 months.
There is so much potential in live casino. An increasing number of players, both traditional ones and those new to casino gaming, have switched to enjoying exciting versions of classic table games as well as the new gameshow-style products on offer. It is an entertainment category that has also arguably shown the most innovation in recent years. Plus, we also felt there was a gap for a leading mobile-first live casino product, and we want to fill that gap. Equally, with lockdown restrictions likely to be eased in the second half of this year, it will be more important than ever to provide content that can be enjoyed on the move.
We have plenty of experience working on and delivering premium mobile table games, plus we know our target market, so focusing on it will hopefully pay off, and we’re very excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.
S: Are live casino games a big part of the future of the growth of iGaming?
MR: Definitely. Live casino has the ideal blend of human interaction, with expert dealers and presenters paired with great entertainment, and some of the most innovative online technology you will see anywhere in the world. It is fast, always available, and easy to understand. With more providers starting to explore the category, we will start to see more new games and products as well as higher overall quality. We expect most of the player base to try live games and, from there, become regular players.
Our new product does just that, featuring our signature combination of sharp mobile-first designs and single-touch interactivity, providing an immersive and highly enjoyable experience.
Created in partnership with the Bombay Club High Roller Studio, it offers a luxury casino experience, with a separate room and rewards for VIP customers. Crucially, it also taps into the growing general trend towards crypto-gambling and is fully optimized for players who prefer to use cryptocurrencies to join and play with us.
S: Your slots and table games are instantly recognizable. Will you keep expanding in this area? What can we expect from you?
MR: This is the core of what we do, and we plan to continue releasing new and exciting concepts together with proven classics. We are also targeting several new markets and, using local know-how, research, and analysis, we are developing games that are localized for certain territories that will be popular as well.
You must have a detailed understanding of what your audience wants within specific markets. For instance, our sumo-themed hit Ganbaruto Battle appeals heavily to, amongst others, Estonian players, as it features a well-known wrestler from that country named Baruto Kaito.
Failing to localize a game can mean potential customers are not comfortable playing it. Worse still, it might not work at all. Themes often need to be adapted to a local culture, but technical features may also need to be tweaked too.
A UI that works well in Latin America, for example, may not function as effectively in Europe, and US websites tend to look completely different from British ones. In this industry, you can only succeed by fully understanding what works best in the region you are targeting.
S: How did the global pandemic situation affect business development? Did it bring you new opportunities?
MR: As with many online casino developers, daily performance levels have improved but, on the other hand, not having physical events and conferences has had an impact on business development, networking, and commercial opportunities for the entire industry. We’ve been extremely resilient and found alternative ways to keep in contact with our customers and to generate new business. The next few months will show the industry the fruits of our labor and how much our hard work has paid off with some landmark partnerships waiting to be announced.
S: What are your views on the transformation of the iGaming industry in general? How do you think the current crisis will affect it in the long term?
MR: Because we operate within a digital sector, overall, the industry has not suffered as much as others. Quite the opposite in fact, with casino and online gaming businesses seeing a marked increase in activity, revenues, and development. For suppliers such as ourselves, we’ve had to adapt to working remotely, but many of us were already doing this, so there was often no change.
From a consumer perspective, live casino has grown, and I expect its market share to grow even further. More players are online than ever before, and their search for different forms of entertainment will only increase, especially among the younger generation. These players will also push developers even further in terms of the boundaries for online and mobile games with new, more immersive, community-based, and multiplayer content likely to grow.
A good example of this is the types of multiplayer ‘Crash’ style games we have seen emerge in the crypto gaming world. These games are hugely popular, particularly with younger audiences. We have a title coming out very soon that delivers a new level of engagement by encouraging players to make decisions as an active part of the game, requiring them to decide on the optimal time to cash out before their round crashes. This real-time, decision-based betting creates a compelling experience for players, and I see this type of product growing rapidly.
S: Can you share your plans for this year? What should operators expect from you in 2021?
MR: Our roadmap for this year is comprised of a combination of high-quality table games and advanced in-game engagement functions. Although we are passionate advocates for the power of simplicity and quality, gamification also remains high on our priority list.
Our games will be supplemented by a host of free bet and tournament features to boost player retention for operator partners across the globe. Add slot titles boasting flawless playability in both portrait and landscape modes to the list, and we’ve lined up an action-packed agenda for the weeks and months ahead.