“Accept No Compromise” - with Andy Goodale, CEO at Northern Lights Gaming
This week we had the opportunity to chat with Andy Goodale, CEO at Northern Lights Gaming about their amazing journey, gold mining and their next release All Star Knockout Ultra Gamble.
Andy Goodale, CEO at Northern Lights Gaming
Hi SlotCatalog, hope everyone is well and keeping safe. Sure no problem, Northern Lights Gaming was formed in 2017 and is split over 2 locations, Manchester (UK) and Stockholm. It’s fair to say that over 90% of the employees are from the iGaming industry, most with many years of experience under their belts, from the board of Directors down. Which is one of the reasons why I love it. Everyone has this driving passion to create the best games and constantly push to move forward, so it’s great.
At the front of the company is myself and Peter Lundh our CTO and between us we have a lot (I think we have over 50 yrs- yikes!!) of experience in creating slot games. What really impressed me was Peters love of games as well as being super technical, we are both clear in the direction we want the company to go and we know how we want to get there. But we can’t do that on our own and to be honest the majority of the work is done by people you don’t normally talk to on articles like this, the artists, the devs etc and we are well aware of that.
We have had a number of highlights over the few years, getting games available on all major platforms is a biggy, being the first content suppliers on the Yggdrsail masters platform, have all been highs but the biggest for me was getting the investment from RNG Foundry at the beginning of this year. That has helped in so many ways, not just in opening up the MicroGaming platform but the investment was almost like confirmation that other people believe in the team and the vision and the direction that you have always believed in - extremely hard to explain unless you have been there but that for now has been the biggest achievement for the company.
Yeah totally, I don't have a beard at all normally so this will shock a few people!! When the virus hit, I didn't shave for a while but then the whole school closure thing happened and with 3 kids that was a big deal for both of us - who work full time. So the deal I told the kids was that I will shave my beard when they go back to school.. little did I know it wouldn't be until September time and so it's stuck, It's a nightmare but has become a matter of principle in our house - kids back, beard shaved - can't happen soon enough on both accounts!!!!
What’s the main vision at Northern Lights Gaming?
Dead simple - one of the first presentations I did right at the very beginning was all based around one thing -Accept no compromise. Thats it.
What is it like working at Northern Lights Gaming?
It’s been a roller coaster and still is to a certain extent. Personally I’ve learnt so much about what else goes into running a company but hugely thankful to a great board who have supported me from the word go. We have made mistakes and we have learnt from those mistakes, there is a huge amount of advice I could offer to content providers starting up just by the way of what we have learnt. Underneath all of this though is the guys we work with on a daily basis, for a small company we have such a wide diversity of people who work at Northern Lights, sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry but its is still a huge pleasure to work with all the guys and interact with them on a daily basis. Of course there are the games and the thrill of all parts of game dev and I do mean all parts, from beginning to end, I love that part and I love seeing the guys get passionate about the games as well.
You just released a new game: All Star Knockout Ultra Gamble. What makes this game stand out in your opinion?
Yes, so this game goes out on the Ygddrsail Masters network on the 1st July. The original game, All Star Knockout, has been our best performing game by far. The game had always been designed with the gamble feature on but was taking a while to get through compliance. We didn't want to hold up the release as we saw the potential in the mechanic and took the decision to release the game without the gamble feature and then when compliance came through we would release the game again. We are thrilled with how it’s done originally on Masters and if people liked the feature the first time then this gamble will appeal to them even more and for people who want to really give the bonus a look and really understand this game, we are hoping it will be just as successful.
The mechanic in All Star Knockout Ultra Gamble is simple but effective and requires the player to be invested into the game so retention is very good, there is huge potential on the payout of this if the players hits the bonus right!
How would you describe the focus of your game catalogue? Is it focused towards beginners, intermediate players or slot fanatics, or a mix of all/some of them?
I’m hoping it’s a mix at the moment and I appreciate there are pros and cons with that though. At the moment our portfolio is too small to focus on one area, I’d like us to take a dip into all areas then step back and take a look to see if we should focus in one or a couple of areas where our games seem to be working well.
Generally speaking, your game catalogue consists of a few but very qualitative titles. Which of your earlier releases makes you the proudest and why?
AAAhhh that’s tough….so Niagara Falls was the first game that really made me proud, controversial maybe but we had a specific idea in mind for this game look and feel and I was really proud of what the guys finally delivered. The mechanic was and is really engaging and the different look of the game was very deliberate.
Well, it’s like most content providers, stacked out!! With the RNG relationship now allowing us to distribute games on MicroGaming we have big RM commitments with some amazing content coming out later this year which I’m massively excited about. On top of this, we have had to refocus slightly, we are only small so prioritization in certain areas has had to happen, which means that atm we can only support games on a couple of platforms, MG and Yggdrasil masters. With that focus also comes the ability to expand so hoping next year we may be able to reach more platforms.
Which markets are you’re having the most success in?
Being just a content provider without the full RGS integration and all the reporting that goes with that it's difficult to see all markets but it’s fair to say UK and Germany are probably our top atm but with the MG platform I expect to see that change for us by mid Q2 next year.
Is there any interesting story behind the production of one of your games that you could share with us?
Yes - This was our first game Rockys Gold. The whole of this idea is based around the series Gold Rush, of which I’m a huge fan. All the mechanics in the main bonus game, all driven by me watching this program and just getting to understand how gold mining works. I suppose it must be something to do with the fact that it’s very much like gambling - all of a sudden you can hit the jackpot!!! Our next one will be on Outback Opal Hunters:) - Just google it!
Which of your competitors impress you the most and why?
Quickspin- I think the quality and production of their games are amazing - kudos and hats off to them. Not one game in particular but the ‘flow’ of their games are great and for me really make the whole experience better. I do tell the guys regularly to look at the Quickspins game flow. From a maths perspective Blueprint and Lightning Box, I enjoy playing the games and get a range of wins which works for me. I’m less about the all or nothing maths, if I’m feeling rich I’ll take a spin or two but I also like a bit more entertainment but that’s me.
I wish I could predict… I think you will see a lot more content studios trying to do what BGT have done with Megaways and come up with a mechanic that firstly gets recognised by the players and secondly could be franchised to other studios - there is definitely more room for this in the market place.
I think we are also nearing the limit of content providers, there are so many out there, so much more than when we started 3 years ago and if you haven't got the backing it’s a real struggle. If I was asked to do this again at this present time it would be a very different answer from me.
With regards to other features yep we are working on something so keep an eye out next year...shhh!
Thanks on behalf of SlotCatalog and our readers, we really appreciate that you took the time to chat with us. Would you like to say something to our readers before we say goodbye?
Stick with us. We are here for the long run, accept no compromise and of course stay safe and well. Thanks