George Shamugia: Success factors of an Online Casino Offering

George Shamugia: Success factors of an Online Casino Offering
George Shamugia: Success factors of an Online Casino Offering

Originally published in issue 3 of iNTERGAMINGi magazine, page 17-22

Singular’s CEO, George Shamugia, talks with iNTERGAME about what makes a successful game offering as part of their Casino Showcase. The roundtable interviews are available for download here.

Could you describe your biggest online casino hit of recent times?

We have recently updated our software for the Live Roulette Suit, designed from the ground up based on data we have collected for the past couple of years. In just a couple of months since its launch, we managed to almost double daily users, bets, and gameplay sessions.

What were the key goals in its development?

Whenever we develop a new product or work on its update we aim to build a forward-looking, future compatible product that will stay relevant for years to come. In the case of the Live Roulette, we identified several key objectives: outstanding UX, high-quality live stream, and social engagement.

When we speak about UX/UI, we must take into account the recent surge in usage of Tablets across our products with increased gaming session duration among tablet users compared to smartphone players. To seize this opportunity we have to create synergy between mobile and desktop interface/UX. If we want to  build a truly tablet-native product, we can’t just copy UI/UX meant for a smartphone or desktop.

The most differentiating factor of Singular Live Roulette is that the players can start playing roulette at a physical casino, later continue the gameplay on the same roulette wheel via smartphone on their way back to home, and finish playing on a tablet from the comfort of their homes.

In terms of the high-quality live video stream, the new, emerging technology in live video streaming – WebRTC, mostly used for p2p video calls allowed us to achieve second and a half and, on some occasions, sub-second latency in video streaming. In comparison, the industry average is between 3 to 5 seconds in best-case scenarios. In addition to decreasing latency, we managed to deliver Full HD, and, in some setups, 4K video streams with significantly less bandwidth requirement than similar products. I believe we are already ready for the upcoming trends 5G network will bring to live video streaming products.

Last, but not least, we have built-in a chat functionality which has increased gameplay session duration and frequency directly translating into more revenues. And during this shelter-in-place times ability to socialize with fellow players most certainly helps to satisfy our needs of socializing to some extent.

What are the ingredients that have ultimately made it stand out from the crowd?

As I mentioned, we have developed a product with high video quality, ultra-low latency, adaptable UX to players’ needs, and even skill level. But the most differentiating factor is that the players can start playing roulette at a physical casino, later continue the gameplay on the same roulette wheel via smartphone on their way back to home, and finish playing on a tablet from the comfort of their homes.

In terms of player appeal, has it been the case that some of your casino titles have far exceeded expectations?

For the majority of our clients, our live casino offering, particularly the Live roulette, has been generating almost 80% of their total live casino revenues.

How important are stylish graphics, animation and sound and can these factors ever make up for flawed mechanics?

In the past 10 years of serving operators, we’ve seen games with great mechanics and almost non-existent graphics perform beyond expectations. At the same time, games with high fidelity graphics, sounds, and animations, but flawed game mechanics die out on the platform in a matter of days.

Bottom line, games with good mechanics and high-quality graphics are those that immediately stand out and stay relevant for years to come.

What do players want from slots: big jackpots or regular wins? How does this vary geographically?

At first glance, it might seem that it depends on geographical location, but based on our experience, it boils down to users, their socio-economic state, and the situation. For those who have limited funds to spare on gaming, frequent wins are most important, since it allows them to have a prolonged gaming session. And then in every country, some players are just up for big wins.

Which bonus/gamification features have proven particularly popular for your players and why?

There is no specific bonus/gamification feature that might work as a silver bullet. Nowadays a more intelligent, player data-based complex approach is required. Thus, we have developed a Central Bonusing System (CBS) as part of our iGaming Platform and Casino Core. The CBS collects all data points about the player across the platform in real-time. Then applies our ML models and the rules predefined in the CRM system.  Based on the outcome it offers tailored bonusing schemas to the players in real-time. This can be applied across all games integrated into our Casino Core.

How is mobile and tablet gaming driving innovation?

It’s not about how the mobile and tablet medium is driving innovation in gaming, but more about how they have changed it already. Many products are designed as mobile-only (not just mobile-first) from day one. Apple’s new type of computers (iPads) may even replace and eventually kill PC/Laptop. Then, the emerging 5G network creates an opportunity for Tipple A Game streaming from the cloud and playing on any mobile device without the need for game consoles or high-end PCs. Thus mobile/tablet might become the medium that will fully dominate the iGaming industry.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected suppliers?

This new reality will accelerate the move from offline to online operations and increase the demand for online casino solutions even from operators that up till now have been land-base oriented.

How has the pandemic affected appetite for innovative online casino products?

Our online casino products have reported a drastic increase in revenues and game sessions across the platform. Another opportunity that has risen is offering Virtual Sports betting as a standalone product driven by the lack of sporting events across the world.

What are your plans for the next 12 months in terms of casino products?

We are planning to heavily concentrate on our newly redesigned Live Roulette suit. In addition to enhancing the gameplay mechanics and experience, we are also planning to extend social features. One of them currently in development is the ability to have a group video call with your peers while playing the live roulette.

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