Video short: Realistic Games - why online, mobile - and retail - are all key to omni-channel

For Andy Harris, chief executive of Realistic Games, the industry’s omni-channel quest has to be backed up by products that are “appropriate and empathetic to each channel.” Speaking as part of the latest iGaming Business video short, Harris explains how this translates to a company like Realistic striving to provide a “seamless customer experience across all channels: desktop, mobile and retail, but also being able to develop games that are truly suited to those platforms.”

Whilst most suppliers and operators talk about omni-channel solutions, the practicalities of developing specific content for each platform is something they only really become aware of once they start developing. “Until you get into the guts of it, it’s really difficult to understand. From a gameplay perspective, having game development expertise is key. It’s very different developing for the online environment than it is for retail. So you need that expertise to be able to deliver the right gameplay experience across channels,” says Harris.

“It’s not going to be exactly the same online as it is on retail and you have to understand the nuances. It’s really important to understand the technology challenges. In order to code the game for online you need different skillsets than the ones for retail. The way you present the game in retail is different to how you present it online. There’s also a lot of power in word of mouth in retail too, so it’s important to produce something that is eye-catching to get them looking and being inquisitive.”

Suppliers however are just one part of the equation; operators are the other. “The operator has a big role in that too, in providing the customer the experience that is really commensurate to those channels”, adds Harris. “It’s the sort of experience the players want to have and understanding how they’re going to move between the channels and how the operators are going to encourage that movement. We provide a piece of what’s required but there’s a very big piece that must come from the operator, in terms of living up to the opportunity, we haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of the opportunity. There’s a lot more that we can do.”

Realistic Games recently launched Fruit Machine across the Ladbrokes retail estate and online, for Harris this shows how important retail remains for the sector. “When so much of the focus is on mobile I think it’s easy to miss the opportunity of retail and not understand the significance of it," he says. But just look at the betting shop retail estate across the UK and all you need to do is look at the numbers that tell you the levels of business they’re doing through their terminals, it’s very clear there’s a significant opportunity. They’ve actually got around 40 pieces of content on those terminals and there’s a big opportunity if you’re able to provide the right content. It’s the same across the EU and we see this as a small step for us moving into betting shops. The opportunity behind that is casinos, arcades, bingo halls, that’s where we have aspirations to deliver as well. So it’s about providing innovative content and distributing it into lots of different channels.”

About Realistic Games
Realistic Games is a leading supplier of high-quality, electronic gaming content to some of the world’s most successful operators. Our technologists, designers and modellers have over 40 years of experience in both the land-based and digital gaming markets. We are passionate about the products we create. The team specialise in creating roulette, blackjack, slots, and fixed odds games tailored to a wide variety of devices, including PCs, iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, and gaming machines. The games are fully-hosted on our ReGaL games platform, and are accessible to customers through a simple integration. ReGaL first went into production for Stan James in April 2011. Subsequent launches followed with BetVictor, Ladbrokes, bet365, Boylesports, Paddy Power, William Hill, Coral, Gala Bingo, Bede Gaming, Gaming Realms, Daub, Betfair, NYX and Rank.