The online gambling industry is constantly evolving and changing. To stay on top of the competition, operators and providers need to follow the latest trends. That is why GBC-Time interviewed Sergey Shibkih, Deputy Head of Sales White Label and Turnkey Department at SoftGamings.
In the interview, Sergey told us about the changes in the iGaming market he has seen in 2022, and key trends for 2023 such as crypto gambling and mobile games. Sergey has also shared his vision of the Metaverse casinos, which are gaining popularity nowadays. Keep reading to know more.
2022 has been a tough year for many business sectors including casino gaming. What difficulties have you already faced? What challenges do you expect before 2023?
There were no difficulties per se in 2022. The gaming industry is growing and so is SoftGamings. This year, the market situation for platforms and operators has been better than in 2020 and 2021. We have taken part in many exhibitions and entered the markets of Romania, Greece, and Ontario. The number of customers has been growing both through platform sales and providing services to existing operators. We are optimistic about 2023 and will aim to enter as many new markets as possible.
Mobile gaming is currently one of the most popular activities. What are the main differences between mobile and PC casino gaming developments? Are there any differences in accents and elements?
When mobile versions just started gaining popularity, the demand and interest were not that big, and therefore not all providers optimized their games for mobile devices. In the last couple of years, the situation has changed, and today about 80% of players worldwide prefer mobile gambling. 90-95% of providers have adapted their products for mobile, allowing users to play not only on desktops but also on tablets and smartphones. Having 24/7 access to a device is very convenient. You are not tied to a computer: you can travel, be on the road or at work and log in to place a bet or spin the reels at any moment. A big advantage of mobile versions is more accessible payment methods. For example, if a user has payment apps like Google Pay or Apple Pay on their phone and the casino supports these solutions, they can top up their balance or cash out winnings in one click — a very handy option.
What are the top casino gaming tools in 2022?
Crypto casinos are now on the rise and since their customers are more inclined to communicate, share opinions and create communities, an in-game chat feature is sought-after among operators and players alike.
Another tool that has been popular in 2022 is a multi-crypto wallet which allows users to make deposits and choose the most suitable currency for playing based on exchange rates and account balance. The SoftGamings Bitcoin Casino platform provides all of that.
A lot of attention is paid to tools that protect operators from fraudulent players. The functionality of user verification and activity tracking is being improved. We also offer solutions that take care of gamblers. If a player feels addicted, using our tool, they can contact an operator and either close or limit (by setting the maximum amount of money or time they can spend) their access to certain games, which is fair and just to customers. This demonstrates that the casino is open to its clients. 2022 has shown that operators who utilize these tools get the highest approval ratings from players..
What are the top trends in casino gaming this year? What does the audience like the most in games? Is there an exact theme that is extremely popular among players?
As I have mentioned, the interest in crypto casinos has grown a lot in 2022. There are many operators focused on cryptocurrencies and on making it easier to use them. The market is responding to this interest by offering various tools that meet the unique needs of players. 2022 has seen much more attention paid to security as different methods of user verification and preventing cheating are being implemented.
The public loves loyalty rewards, so we offer a number of tools like bonuses, achievements, and loot boxes. Operators can use these tools however they want, they are only limited by their imagination. Depending on the region, players have different preferences: in some places, they love free spins, and in others, bonuses are more popular. The SoftGamings platform allows you to customize rewards based on location and please players with various gifts.
Considering the marketing trends in the casino gaming development industry? Has anything changed this year, compared to the previous one? What are the best platforms to promote iGaming products?
There is a trend for metaverse casinos in customer requests, but we are not going to implement that in 2023, as this technology is still new. In order to enter the market with something new, you have to be fully prepared. Our platform is getting ready for that, but providers have to be ready as well. Even with mobile versions, not all providers at that time were ready for the optimization, so for metaverse gambling, it is crucial that both platforms and providers are well-prepared. Games have to be optimized for VR headsets, and there have to be features showcasing the benefits of this technology. The market needs time to prepare, but it will definitely be a trend in 2023. By 2024, we may see the first successful projects.
What country do your clients come from the most?
There is no clear leader. We work with clients from Europe as well as America, Asia, etc.
What iGaming tendencies do you expect to see in 2023?
This year, we were excited to be back at exhibitions, and it was a breath of fresh air after a long break. Live communication is priceless, and we were happy to meet our colleagues, partners, and potential clients. The COVID years have shown the effectiveness of digital marketing. Advertising platforms are increasingly optimized for mobile content, which affects the ad formats. Horizontal ads have been replaced by vertical ones, as the latter takes up more space and draws more attention. We share the common view that sticking to useful, high-quality products and organic reach is the best strategy for 2023. We will see a focus on voluminous, first-class content, video (especially live video), and a mobile-first approach.