As seen on Gambling Insider.
Hammon discusses the benefits of using smaller games studios In the global gaming market, a one-size-fits-all approach to content is no longer fit for purpose. The evolution of player preferences, complex regulatory fragmentation, along with the introduction of new game formats and styles of play, has carved out niche, market-specific demands that can only be met through portfolio diversification. Localised content developed by on the-ground studios offers a means to provide for the nuances of each jurisdiction. But for businesses operating on an international scale, gaining access to it is not so simple. In offering content that resonates with local players, small studios are at the top of their game. The cultural background and locality of a target audience are fundamental to understanding their unique preferences, and these international developers know their market better than any. But onboarding small studios can be expensive, carrying technical baggage and compliance demands that complicate the integration process for global operators and create delays. Yet combined, these providers offer a level of diversity that tips the scale in their favour. The real value of small studios lies in their collective power. By streamlining access to a hand-picked collection of on-the-ground studios, aggregation platforms enable online casinos to onboard localised content without the headache of individual integrations and heavy commercials. They can take on the majority of the technical and compliance burdens, keeping costs down not only through a single, swift integration process, but in taking the time to find and vet the up-and-coming studios whose content can really make a difference. Not every local provider is going to be a guaranteed success – picking out the diamonds in the rough takes an expert eye and dedication. But when one is found, the value it brings in terms of player retention and differentiation can make a marked difference to any organisation’s bottom line. When it comes to compliance barriers, aggregation businesses can handle the heavy lifting on behalf of their studio partners too. For example, Relax offers members of our Silver Bullet partner programme a full-service offering as well as its extensive distribution, including sheltering opportunities on licensing that make use of our extensive compliance knowledge, as well as gives customers security on production quality. We also assist with game certification and regulatory support, necessities that would normally be seen as an obstacle for smaller firms who don’t have an in-house compliance team and cannot shoulder the burden of outsourced help. However, if the importance of smaller studios continues to rise and localised games become central to operators’ content diversification strategies, where does that leave the larger, international suppliers that have dominated the industry for the last 10 to 15 years? Whether or not they can keep pace will depend on if they have the desire or resources to invest in market-specific research and development. As the distinctions between individual markets grow ever more pronounced, a standardised portfolio with a blanket international offering is not going to cut it over a bespoke alternative. Localisation is far more than supporting content in multiple languages. It’s about carefully considering the themes, styles and mechanics that appeal to specific player segments, down to the finer details. From the number of studios knocking at our door, we know there’s a vast talent pool out there that can offer real value to the product offering of multi-market operators if presented with the opportunity. Finding these rising stars and providing them with an avenue for distribution has been central to Relax’s strategy since our inception. In supporting the little guys, companies can drastically expand the quantity and variety of games available to their partners. In return, this saves time and money by bypassing the hefty expenses incurred when conducting individual market research. This then gains instant access to high-quality content that enables the offering of a bespoke portfolio, which has been custom-made for local players around the world.