Evolution brings acquired brands to the fore in 2022 as integration inspires product crossovers and new games
Evolution is set to showcase the capabilities of its acquired brands in 2022 after today’s online event (8 February) saw the supplier blur the lines between game genres and unveil brand new concepts.
The introduction of slot play in a live dealer setting, character crossovers from a roster of best-performing IP, and the introduction of online-only game types into the land-based sector are all likely to be rolled out this year after the business diversified its product offering through M&A.
Here are five major talking points from the Stockholm-listed supplier’s online presentation, which featured talks from CEO Martin Carlesund, CPO Todd Haushalter and Big Time Gaming CEO Nik Robinson.
The event showcased 25 new games, with 88 scheduled for release throughout 2022.
Introducing Live Slots: A new game category for online casino players
The event included an in-depth teaser for a new genre of online casino products, with one of the most innovative games announced during the update designed to close the gap between the familiarity of traditional slot play and the pace of live casino.
The firm is set to introduce Crazy Coin Flip, the first title under the new genre of Live Slots.
The game combines a traditional online slot with Coin Flip functionality from live gameshow Crazy Time in a set-up that sees players transported from the slot game’s interface to the live studio when they qualify for certain bonuses.
In the studio-based bonus rounds, players build up multiplier amounts on either side of Crazy Time’s red and blue coin, which is then flipped to reveal the bonus prize amount.
Evolution is taking a risk with the innovation as it aims to combine two completely different styles of casino gaming into one seamless playing experience.
“If this works, watch for more live slots to come,” said Haushalter.
SuperStars: “The Crazy Time of slots”
The NetEnt-branded SuperStars is billed by Haushalter as “the most exciting slot ever”, in addition to likely being the most expensive slot game ever developed.
The game will see some of the most well-known and popular characters from inside the Evolution portfolio come together in the ultimate online slot crossover, as figures including Gonzo from Gonzo’s Quest, the Star from Starburst and Brute from Space Wars collide in a game which is intended to capture the imagination of avid slot fans.
While details on the game’s functionality are still to be revealed, Haushalter hinted at a concept which could set the slot apart from the competition.
“It’s got a feature in it that you could play a thousand times, and you’d still be getting wildly different experiences each time,” he said.
“I’ve never been more excited about a slot in my life,” he concluded. The game is scheduled for release in late summer, with more information to be released soon.
Evolution Gameshows: Coming to a land-based casino near you
One of Evolution’s more understated acquisitions, Ireland-based DigiWheel, is set to add another string to the casino giant’s bow as Evolution plans to expand beyond online and onto the land-based casino gaming floor.
John Purcell, inventor of the DigiWheel, introduced the product as the world’s first rotating HD digital gaming wheel, which will allow land-based operators to offer an unlimited selection of wheel-based games in their properties.
Currently offering Dream Catcher, Purcell said the product offers “the electrifying excitement of proven online games combined with the rush of in-person gambling in a casino,” and “introduces a dynamic which hugely enhances any casino floor.”
The product is even able to support multiple different games to be played on it simultaneously, he added, while being played by different players on multiple terminals, tables, or mobile devices.
“To stand in front of a large, high definition screen while it rotates to a win, maybe triggering a bonus game, multiplier or other enhanced feature no other wheel games can do, and possibly provide a win of thousands of multiples of your bet, is something to be seen to be believed,” Purcell concluded.
Breathing life into the lobby
It’s not just games that Evolution is looking to improve this year. Its pre-game lobby, too, is set to get a makeover, with improved functionality bringing the interface closer in line with the UX of tech giants including Google, YouTube and Spotify.
Improved search functionality, which allegedly performs as well as Google’s, is set to be introduced. The smarter search feature will allow players to find what they are looking for regardless of whether they make spelling mistakes in their queries, or even if they can’t bring to mind the name of the game they are looking for – a search for ‘dice’, for example, will automatically return Craps as one of the results.
A new AI-powered recommendation engine will also bring the way customers consume gaming content up to speed with how they interact with other formats – whether it’s via video on YouTube, audio on Spotify, or film and TV through Netflix.
The new-look lobby will showcase personalised game recommendations to players based on their own preferences and what other players with similar profiles have enjoyed.
“This is going to be the new way to discover games,” Haushalter said. “This is how we’re going to encourage game discovery and help people find games we know they’re going to love.”
Players will also be invited to add games to their ‘favourites’ section, allowing them to access their preferred tites together in one place, while the lobby will also feature game previews.
“The lobby is going to be friendly and familiar, so we’re not going to leave players behind who are used to the old way, but it’s just going to have a bunch of new stuff that’s going to be extremely easy to navigate.
“Everybody touches the lobby, and it needs to be a great experience,” he concluded.
Evolution: A One-Stop Shop
Evolution’s dedication to fully integrating its brands and product range under one entry point for operators was made crystal clear in today’s update.
With synergies between its online slot and live casino businesses bearing fruit, functionality being shared across its global and local offerings, and the business preparing to step further into the land-based sector, the supplier’s intention to become “the number one provider in online casino in the world,” as CEO Carlesund set out, is becoming more deliberate by the day.
The firm has recognised the challenges presented by the siloed existence of its brands and has worked to simplify the process of integrating Evolution services for commercial partners, by aligning Red Tiger, NetEnt and Evolution products via new One Stop Shop integration.
Since its acquisition of Red Tiger and NetEnt, the supplier has had to integrate each brand’s products via a separate gateway, until now.
The launch of One-Stop Shop allows Evolution partners to support products from across its brand portfolio through a single gateway, regardless of vertical or geography.
One-Stop Shop has now been operational for more than six months and 2022 will see the supplier roll out the functionality to partners further.
Promotional functionality such as jackpots, as well as back-office reporting, are now available via One-Stop Shop, while more than 10% of traffic has migrated from existing direct integrations onto One-Stop Shop.
In 2022, Evolution aims to add at least two more of its brands to the single integration system, deliver full market coverage in newly regulated markets such as Ontario, and migrate at least 30% of traffic into One Stop Shop over the next seven weeks.
“This is just the beginning,” according to head of commercial operations Irina Mendez. This will help create “the world where we all can dedicate our saved time to new things, happier players, better products, better experience, and better work,” Mendez concluded.