A chat with Mark Claxton, Head of Games at iSoftBet
We’ve met with Mark Claxton, Head of Games at iSoftBet to talk about their classic game HOT SPIN, the process behind creating new innovative games and their upcoming titles.
Mark Claxton, Head of Games at iSoftBet
Hi Mark! It's a pleasure to have you and iSoftBet in this week's edition of SlotCatalogs provider spotlight interviews. Could you please introduce yourself and iSoftBet to our readers?
I joined iSoftBet as Head of Games back in Dec 2018 after successful spells at industry giants such as IGT, Playtech and Ash Gaming. Having been in the gambling industry for 18 years - I'm still enjoying it as much now as I did back when I began. This speaks volumes about not only iSoftbet but the iGaming industry as a whole.
I recognised iSoftBet as a company that has a lot of potential and heading in the right direction. There are so many amazing products and slots coming through this year and into 2020 that it makes it a very exciting place to be.
In 2019 we are seeing a record amount of transactions and bets going through our system, both on our games and via 3rd parties on our Game Aggregation Platform (GAP).
These records are a true testament to our investment in our product and gaming roadmaps. As Head of Games, it is my task to manage the games team and create and maintain the flow of quality, innovative slot games that the players want to play again and again.
According to our SlotRank your games are performing very well in several markets. One title that stands out is HOT SPIN, which has reached a TOP50 SlotRank in both the UK and Germany. Would you like to introduce your game portfolio to potential new players?
iSoftbet has some amazing performing games in the portfolio and HOT SPIN is one that is still continuing to perform, even though it was launched over 12 months ago. This continued performance has lead into the sequel: HOT SPIN DELUXE. In this deluxe version, we have removed the weaker features and replaced them with harder hitting, exciting features. Not only this we have added the possibility for any 'hot spin' or free spins to have a multiplier added - up to 10x! So we've really turned up the “win potential” on this slot whilst keeping it looking familiar, with a deluxe HD gloss to it. I am very excited when this launches in November so keep an eye out for this.
We've also got the ability to use the MEGAWAYS feature in our slot games. Our first megaway title, AZTEC GOLD, is set to launch at the end of the year. This game features some innovative new twists on some of the more classic megaways concepts and also a very lucrative “hold and spin” respins bonus - which can award multipliers based on the number of ways you entered the bonus with! This would have to be my favourite production so far - using the megaways feature and building on some of the things that other providers are missing when they bring their megaways to market. There are more megaways titles planned for 2020 - containing some great new megaways concepts, some of which provide some life changing 'win potential'.
Looking forward to trying AZTEC GOLD out! What's your main focus when developing new games?
When it comes down to slot creation and design, it's all about the players. They are our main customer here. Of course iSoftBet supply to operators but it's the players that will be the ultimate judges of our content. I play slot machines myself and I have done since back in the days of playing the old Category D Fruit Machines in at the seaside piers (£5 jackpot, 10p play).
My ‘player mentality’ way of game design can be used to iSoftBet's advantage when it comes to putting the players best interests at heart. Would it excite me to play our game? If not then something isn't right!
There are so many pieces that have to fit together to reach this exciting feeling. What would you, personally, say is the most important aspect behind creating the perfect slot game?
The most important aspect of the game for me without a doubt is the maths. This is what will ultimately make or break a game. The graphics and theme of the game will draw the player in - the first few game features will be the exploratory grace period and if the maths is in the sweet spot the player will continue to play. Sometimes a slot game can be a little imperfect from the art side and players will continue to play but if the game is imperfect from the math side then no amount of amazing art and presentation likely will save it.
How do you cope with the competition, in the current highly competitive market?
The competitive landscape is constantly pushing us at iSoftBet to be more creative and think outside the box - if an upcoming game is similar how can we improve it? I am a strong believer in research-research-research. I and my team of producers often have real play online slot sessions, trips to the local bookmakers and casinos - all with an aim to see what's hot and what's not… and where iSoftBet can step in to provide better entertainment than our competition.
On the subject of competition - I personally have enjoyed how Big Time Gaming have offered a different play experience to players with their unique megaway games. I have got a lot of time for Push Gaming too, they certainly have a nice balance of engaging features and smooth presentation. I have found myself underwhelmed in general with the cadence of interesting slot releases from many of the 'big 5' providers.
Yeah, it's been hard to miss the impact of the Megaways technology. Talking about features, what can we expect in your upcoming releases?
Many of our future titles coming out in 2020 will have 'feature branding'. An example of this is our XTREME PAYS slots - whenever you see this badge on any of our games you know there are BIG wins to be had. Currently, we have two games that are a part of XTREME PAYS series thus far - Egyptian King and Wild Ape.
We are trying to think of the future when creating slots and coming up with certain features that can be carried across to any game with no hit to the original base math.
Exciting feature projects such as BONUS CHANCE, ULTRA BET, ONE FOR LUCK and MEGABOARD are in production and you should be able to see most of them in action at ICE London 2020!
For the iSoftBet new releases, the players can expect new innovative features, much higher win potential across the board, improved production values and much more player-focused feature designs - by the players, for the players.
At iSoftBet, we are supporting our Operator partners in a lot of regulated markets and we are particularly strong in Romania, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and now Switzerland. In fact, we were the first Provider to take regulated Swiss bets with Casino Bade, which we are extremely proud of.
Whilst we are all about the games, we do appreciate that it's a crowded market and that both Operators and players are looking for some excitement around features and functionality.
We have a very exciting Jackpot project in the pipeline which we anticipate launching in Q1 and we are live already with a feature called In-Game. This allows the Operator to run tournaments on any game from any providers available on our Game Aggregation Platform(GAP). So you could run a tournament for iSoftBet games alongside those of Red Rake, Booongo and Booming Games. We are able to run many promotions such as symbol-based and transactional. With In-Game the options are limitless and extremely powerful.
Is there anything you would like to say to our readers before we wrap this up?
It's an exciting time here at iSoftBet, we have some very innovative operator engagement products lined up in the next few months that will be complementing our incredibly strong slots roadmap. The slots themselves are being designed by our newly formed games team - all of which are industry veterans with a wealth of experience to take our game quality and engagement up to 11! Mix all this with our upcoming cutting edge jackpot tool and you have a very bright future for iSoftBet and slot fans alike!