by Mateusz Mazur

“Players want simple, safe, and easy access to gaming”

Dr. Eyal Loz, CPO at RubyPlay highlights key trends shaping the slot gaming industry, including the rise of features like the Buy Feature and Ante-bet to enhance player engagement and extend the lifespan of popular games.

What key trends do you see shaping the future of slot games?

We see more and more suppliers investing in new designs of side games, such as the Buy Feature, and Ante-bet features. That is, players can either make a large purchase to engage with the main feature of the underlying core game, or make smaller side purchases to either enhance the core game experience or participate in some other related social meta game feature. This makes a lot of sense in terms of ROI. The cost of developing new titles is significant, and most new titles developed in the market under-perform the top existing titles. By maintaining and adding more functionality to existing titles, suppliers can create evergreen brands, and enhance the shelf life of new content that they see performing.

How do you approach the challenge of innovating within the slot game industry, which often sees traditional player preferences?

True innovation is often not what we expect it to be. Gradual improvement of existing core products and features has much better ROI than trying to reinvent the wheel. The business impact is with slow evolutions, not fast revolutions. Sometimes, however, even a small 20% addition, or tweak, can impact the overall engagement in such a fundamental way, that it feels that the resulting product reinvented the whole industry. We can see that with ideas such as the Buy Feature, which is becoming a must-have in many markets, and especially with younger, influencer driven players.

Can you share insights into the process of “casualizing” slot games to attract a wider audience?

The modern slot machine was created 130 years ago, in 1894, by Charles Fey. At its core it has changed very little. Slot games are a system of random rewards schedules, driven by simple patterns on reels. These patterns create operant conditioning behaviours in the human brain. By the way, almost all casual games, from Match-3 to RPG Battle Royal, all use the same core simple slot psychology of operant conditioning.

Casualizing slots has more to do with art and delivery rather than mechanics and psychology. Casual slot art looks more like casual mobile games, which are very popular with younger demographics, and the delivery has more to do with influencer-based marketing and media channels. Instant gratification style features such as the Buy Feature are also a big help here, giving players instant access preview to the core elements of the game play at a relatively low cost.

How do you balance the need for innovation with maintaining the core elements that traditional slot players love?

At RubyPlay we try to balance our roadmap by creating brand new original series, such as our player favourite Immortal Ways® series, with adapting and enhancing our top performers by adding features such as the Buy Feature. We are now in the process of adding Buy Feature functionality to all our top series; Immortal Ways®, Diamond Explosions®, J Mania® and Mad Hit® will all have Buy Feature functionality in the coming months wherever available. I believe we hit the right balance between brand new innovative game series, and enhancement of proven performers.

At the same time, we started expanding our art and theme spectrum. We are introducing many new, exciting and even experimental art styles to our portfolio, and we can already see strong player preferences. For example, our experimental cartoony art package in Mad Hit Marlin Bonanza was so popular, that we see both player engagement, and many operators interested in rebranded bespoke projects of this game.

What role does player feedback play in the development of new games and features at RubyPlay?

RubyPlay is a data-driven organisation, and players vote with their (spinning index) fingers! When players love a game or a feature we create, the numbers speak for themselves. We can see that instantly and clearly in the data, which is the most important indicator for us at RubyPlay. Our direct access to players is very limited as a B2B business, but what players do is what drives our design decision making, and commercial strategy.

Looking forward, what regions or markets do you see as having the most potential for growth in the iGaming sector?

I believe that as more markets open up to regulated gaming, we will see even bigger growth in the industry. We already see this happening in the USA, with very aggressive iGaming growth month over month, and I believe many large markets will follow suit. At the end of the day, players want simple, safe, and easy access to gaming, and smart regulators can establish a very healthy iGaming market place for players, operators and suppliers alike. I think we haven’t seen anything yet in terms of the global potential for iGaming!

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