As regional markets continue to develop and new ones come online, we can expect operators to continue to focus on localised content, which is necessary for deeper market penetration. It has never been more important to offer high-quality games that cater for players in their native language, to local requirements and to their gaming preferences – failure to do so can result in reduced deposits and impede growth.
This same trend is increasing demand on aggregators to support new, independent studios that have a deeper insight into local markets. Against a backdrop of increased M&A activity and consolidation, we need solutions that provide start-ups with a fast and effective route to market. The end result being greater diversity of content for operators and players alike.
The transition from desktop to mobile is continuing and will remain a high priority going into 2021. We have seen many suppliers focusing on the mobile experience in 2020, including ourselves, where we launched a major UX improvement, adding portrait-mode support and browser-based play on mobile across bingo and poker products. The market has made major progress in the last 12 months, but there is still much room for improvement ahead.
Suppliers are also focusing on higher volatility games with an increased trend in mechanic recognition and branding. The growing prominence of streamers has had huge influence in this development, making higher volatility titles more accessible to casual players, thereby causing a shift in player preferences.
The constant evolution and fragmentation of regulatory frameworks across markets will no doubt be a defining factor in the coming year; the Netherlands, for example, is re-regulating completely; Germany’s new regulated online market goes live in the summer; and the UKGC is mulling a raft of stricter measures. In general, this type of change is something that is needed in the industry, and we need to respond appropriately to the benefit of all.
Elsewhere, it will be interesting to see how the US continues to develop, particularly in terms of the very exciting possibility for poker. Right now, it technically isn’t allowed for people from different states to play against one another, the change in the White House may well affect the view on interstate liquidity. In broader terms for poker, it unfortunately tends to be grouped with casinos when it comes to regulatory issues, making it all the more vital for suppliers like Relax to create the best experience within those constraints as we increase our footprint overall in regulated markets.