Quality not Quantity - an interview with Renata Banyar, Chief Marketing Officer at Betsoft Gaming
We spoke to Renata Banyar, Chief Marketing Officer at Betsoft Gaming, and had a chance to discuss the studios journey, upcoming titles, and what to expect from Betsoft in the near future.
Interview with Renata Banyar, Chief Marketing Officer at Betsoft Gaming.
Please introduce yourself to the readers and tell us about your history with Betsoft.
As the CMO at Betsoft Gaming, my key responsibility is to devise and implement the marketing strategy to drive business. With my team, we work across the marketing spectrum including sales collateral and media content; promotions; new product launches; campaigns; industry events; conferences; and everything else that carries the Betsoft brand.
Previously, I worked in various B2B and B2C roles for globally known brands. My specialisation is in marketing strategy, including brand awareness; promotions and innovative in-game tools. This wide-ranging exposure to the iGaming world has involved me relocating to Vienna, Gibraltar and Malta and, as I love travelling, this is a bonus.
Betsoft started its journey more than 16 years ago in 2006. What has been the company’s vision going forward?
Correct - Betsoft Gaming was founded in 2006 and so is probably one of the original gaming content companies. We are an award-winning creative business with a reputation for consistently delivering high quality entertainment. Our vision was - and is - to be the best gaming content company ever.
As a forward thinking business, we have always been innovative and ahead of the curve. We continually factor in changes in terms of regulation from the business side and technology advances from the content side so that we build the future rather than react to it.
We believe in quality not quantity in the creation of video slots. We are known for our signature features - the Betsoft Buy-In for example - as well as our amazing animations and great storylines. Releasing series such as the ‘Take’ games (Take the Bank™; Take Santa’s Shop™; Take Olympus™; Take the Kingdom™; and more in design) and ‘Pop’ (Sugar Pop™; Sugar Pop II Double Dipped™; Chilli Pop™; and Monster Pop™) creates real engagement with players. A long-term client base and global player recognition is a great asset at any time but especially over the last few years. It makes our lives easier to have heritage in the industry.
What is the most successful release so far and why?
There are so many ways of assessing a game’s success – long-term and short-term popularity, by bets wagered, awards won and so on. Possibly Stay Frosty™, a winter themed release from December 2021 is one of the biggest successes - in every way - that we have launched. However, Gemini Joker™, released May 2022, is catching it up in terms of global popularity and bets wagered.
Many of our older releases such as The Slotfather™, Stampede™, Jumbo Joker™ are also still hugely popular. As we are also renowned for releasing sequels, players buy into the recognition. How has the game and the narrative moved on? What new features will be included? Safari Sam™ (2012 release) for example is a 5 reel, 30 payline slot set on the African Savannah. With a collapsing reels feature, free spins and a Double Up feature, players were massively attracted to the gameplay as well as the frequent wins. 2021 saw us release Safari Sam 2™ in an even bigger adventure and this time with 50 paylines, an RTP of 96.3% and some amazing features to trigger the Free Spins.
Alkemor’s Tower™ (2015) brought Merlin-eseque magic to the reels with a bearded wizard and magical spells plus 243 ways to win. Cut to 2022 and Alkemor’s Elements™; the wizard is back in a special progression game to fill the Elemental Counters and win up to 1,200x your bet. Players who connect with a character or narrative will buy straight into the sequel. New players search back through the portfolio to find the original. It’s a win/win for everyone.
Our A/V is outstanding on every release – we are a benchmark in the industry for this. Our narratives/themes are hugely entertaining and always in sync with the features to create engagement and to give all round experiential gaming. Our games have mix of volatilities so there are some releases offering frequent wins and some offering very big wins! It is these details and their constant entertainment value that keep players coming back to Betsoft slots.
As for upcoming titles, could you please share what’s next on the roadmap?
Book of Helios™ was released June30th and already the feedback in incredible. It is a 5 reel, 10 fixed paylines release, offering players a unique expanding symbol feature, free spins, multiplying multipliers, the Betsoft Buy-in and a substantial 20,168x max bet payout potential.
The narrative is that Greek sun god Helios and intrepid adventuress Olivia Brave are working together to find the book to release Helios from his night-time prison.
Mixing Greek mythology, magic and treasure hunting adventures, Book of Helios™ is packed with our signature graphics and ancient Greek imagery as well as some great features.
The magical Book is the Scatter AND the Wild so the game's free spins feature will be triggered when the scatter symbol is randomly added to reels 2, 3, and 4.
On triggering the bonus round, players are awarded 10 Free Spins, and one paying symbol randomly becomes a Special Expanding Symbol for the duration of the feature. If the chosen symbol is present on two or more reels and can form a win, each symbol will expand vertically to cover the entire reel. A symbol with only 2x minimum payout needs only two symbols on the reels to trigger the Special Expanding Symbol Feature.
At the same time, if any Books are available on the reels, they will expand vertically to cover their entire reel AND reveal a Multiplier up to 5x. As the Wild, the Book Multipliers have their own Multipliers, meaning wins of up to 125x the stake (5x5x5) are possible! With a hit rate in free spins of 51.73% and an RTP of 95.58%, the win potential is substantial.
Our players have been asking for higher volatility slots from us and both Book and Greek themes are hugely popular across multiple players bases and demographics. Book of Helios™ is a universally aimed slot and already it is setting record for bets wagered. We are all absolutely delighted with the reception so far.
We also have several releases currently in production: Wilds of Fortune™ is due out end of July and a new Red Dragon™ release, Winds of Wealth™, is ready for August. The Roadmap is full for September onwards, but we will publicise those new titles next quarter.
Finally, Betsoft also has a fantastic new game in the pipeline. This is quite a change of direction for us and to say we are excited is an understatement. I can’t tell you any more just yet, other than watch this space!
You started off 2022 with a huge addition to the Betsoft Drive toolbox. How does the Take the Prize™ tool change the gaming experience for the players?
Take the Prize™ significantly adds to the overall player experience with enhanced gamification and additional wins. It offers a random fortune wheel with cash prizes or bonuses in the qualifying games throughout any promotion without interrupting gameplay or affecting RTP. Prize winning spins can be triggered at any point in the game. It is also applicable in any chosen game our portfolio and is a great addition for promos and – eventually – tournaments.
As it is a customisable tool, it offers in-game experiences with real-time notifications, instant rewards and a highly inventive UI for the ultimate user experience. We ensured that, as a visually high impact product, Take the Prize™ is especially mobile friendly and compatible across all devices.
“Changing the way we play” was the driving force behind Take the Prize™. We wanted to increase the connection players have with us, boost game performance and give bigger wins. Not only is this great news for our players but, simultaneously, our clients are also fully supported in their efforts to enhance player engagement and retention.
Are there any current trends in the iGaming industry that you find interesting? What changes in your opinion should we expect in near future?
We see personalisation as a fascinating trend: new concepts such as the creation of a VR casino with personalised avatars for players to choose are fantastic - you would have the virtual equivalent of actually going to the casino yourself. This also opens the possibility for licencing VR merchandise and creating a new market where the virtual reality products have real life value.
As a polar opposite, we are seeing a trend for nostalgia. TikTok and Netflix especially seem to be drivers of this style of customer behaviour. Players are looking for simplicity and so lean towards traditional table/card games; or vintage style such as 80s’ fruit themed slot machines for example. Our table games have seen a recent uptick and releases from Fruit Bat Crazy™ (2019) to our scheduled July 2022 release, Wilds of Fortune™, are a perfect fit for this trend.
There is also a growing player base of women who are new to iGaming and that is having an impact on game design, including narrative and volatility levels. However, the iGaming industry is one of the most innovative environments in the world. Anything can happen as it is always one of the first adopters and innovators in melding technology with entertainment.
What are the company’s plans for the future and where do you see Betsoft in a couple of years?
We have had an immensely productive past 12 months: we have released over 15 new games; launched our first in-game promo tool; relaunched our Client Area; and are currently progressing the re-design of our website. Sales has signed a substantial number of new or extended partnerships. As we are licenced, regulated and our games are certified, we were among the first to launch in Belgium and Holland and we have reinforced our presence across the rest of Europe, Latin America and Africa.
Betsoft has nearly doubled in size in terms of employees: we set up rigorous HRM onboarding and support for new and existing team members. We have always been a remote working company but we reinforced our strategy to enable all our staff to succeed, regardless of location and time zones and despite some very challenging circumstances. That this strategy is working is shown by the uplift in productivity, in industry awards won and the overall cohesion and culture of the company.
We are licenced in various jurisdictions, including Malta, Romania and Denmark, plus Betsoft games are verified by all leading certification houses including GLI and iTech Labs. We anticipate increased regulations and certifications across the industry and will, as usual, be among the first to ensure our accountability and fairness in a measured and visible manner.
For the future, we intend to build further on these hugely important milestones and continue to deliver award-winning content to our customers. However, Betsoft is pretty unique: this is most apparent in our longevity and style of design. In years to come, we fully expect to retain this uniqueness as it is what our clients want from us.
Thanks for the chat! It’s been a pleasure. Is there anything you would like to add before we say goodbye?
Thank you for the opportunity! It’s our pleasure to talk to SlotCatalog. We would also like to add a massive ‘thank you’ to all the people who play our games and support the Betsoft brand. Ultimately, it’s all about them and we don’t ever forget that.