Q&A with Arcangelo Lonoce at Habanero
We’ve met with Arcangelo Lonoce, Head of European Business Development at Habanero to hear about their entrance in the LatAm market and the importance of timing content to the cultural perspective, to really make that era-defining slot game.
Arcangelo Lonoce, Head of European Business Development at Habanero
Welcome Arcangelo! We’re glad to have you here. Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us your history in iGaming and when you joined Habanero
It all started in 2003, when I began work in a call centre. The company I worked for catered to some very important markets, mainly in the US. I progressed through its customer service ranks and, before I knew it, I was working as a VIP host for about five years.
After that, I moved to CRM and had the opportunity to start a product management role in Italy in 2011 at Winga, which is now LeoVegas Italy. One year on, I joined BetVictor in a similar role in 2012. It was there that I found out about Habanero and its fantastic games. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the company’s content and, after meeting some of its representatives through an integration deal, I joined in November of 2017.
How have Habanero's games evolved since you joined the company?
The state-of-the-art mathematical modelling found in every Habanero game has been consistent since my arrival and has proven its ability to attract a wide range of players. Yet, what we have built upon is the aesthetic design of our games.
The quality of our graphics and UI has come a long way since I joined the company, thus improving the visual appeal of our portfolio over time. In the same period, we have added an innovative raft of new gamification features, so it’s fair to say our products have evolved significantly since I joined the team back in 2017.
That is partly what has allowed us to penetrate so many new markets and compete in the same realm as some of the biggest tier one providers out there, and I’m very much looking forward to keeping that momentum going in the years ahead.
What are the defining features of a Habanero slot?
Our recent hit Scopa provides a fine example of what Habanero is all about. The maths is original, and the graphics and sounds are of exceptional quality. The title also boasts a detailed, immersive theme without deviating from the classic mechanics of a slot game.
Players are invited on an unforgettable train journey through classic Italian cities, all while enjoying an experience of the country’s best-known and most traditional card game, Scopa. Of course, this absorbing storyline does not detract from what players know and love about slot games – the thrill of the spin! Do give it a try – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Can you give us a snapshot into the creative process behind your games?
In an industry that has sometimes come short of developing games with exciting themes, we try to produce content that genuinely stands out.
While a supplier’s full production shouldn’t necessarily be tailored to demographics and regions, we certainly look to incorporate the right elements to please as many slots fans as possible. This means pitch-perfect sounds, flawless maths and immersive design to keep every player engaged.
In your view, what's the key to a great slot game?
The things that make a successful slot game are very similar to those that make a hit out of a song. Just like your favourite tune, a great slot needs the right harmony, pace and ‘hooks’. Timing is also crucial, and content only performs well if it meets the demands of the era in which it is released.
The Nirvana classic, Smells Like Teen Spirit, provides a perfect example. The song – regardless of its implicit merits - would have been nowhere near as successful just two years earlier. As it was, its timing was perfect in 1991. The same goes with slots – your content will not reach its full potential unless it meets the moment from a cultural perspective.
Furthermore, you need a good dose of luck for the ingredients to tick all the boxes. Nobody expected that Nirvana song to be an era-defining hit, just as we know for a fact that some of the videoslot blockbusters around today were not expected to be so successful by their own creators!
How do you see the gaming industry developing in the coming years?
In the years to come, the gaming industry will be all about regulation, responsible gaming, social responsibility and creativity. The media’s scrutiny of gambling has intensified significantly over the last decade – and corona has only made the spotlight harsher. We must demonstrate moral leadership
The player protection has to be the highest priority for both suppliers and operators.
Creativity will also be critical, because today’s slot market is extremely overcrowded. With a steady stream of content persistently flooding our industry, originality will be vital for companies looking to make their mark.
What has Habanero been up to so far this year?
We’ve gone from strength to strength in Europe and also Latin America since going live on the continent 18 months ago. Our games continue to attract a wide variety of regional players with a real diversity of experience levels.
We look forward to building on the impressive string of local operator partnerships we have signed in the last year, as well as unveiling further LatAm-oriented products similar to our very successful Mexican-themed hit, 5 Mariachis.
That said, a great game is a great game everywhere, and we are also excited about Habanero’s burgeoning commercial prospects on this side of the Atlantic. Having recently entered the Spanish market, we can’t wait to repeat the success we have enjoyed in Italy.
Finally, can you run us through your plans for the year ahead?
We will be going live in Scandinavia for the first time soon enough and can’t wait to see how our games perform in what is a crucial region.
We’re also nearing the final stage of an impressive set of global deals with a variety of major operators which means we’ll be reaching more players than ever before, so stay tuned for further announcements!