Starting a company is a difficult task at the best of times, so launching a business during a historic economic downtown would seem a recipe for disaster. But this was a risk Kent Young, the founder and chief executive officer of Spin Games, was willing to take when he launched the company in 2011.
So far, this move has paid off handsomely for Young and his nascent company, which supplies third-party gaming content and technology for both online and land-based operators. Downsizing game manufacturers were casting about for outsourced content and quickly latched onto Spin Games and Young, who had lots of experience in the space due to previous leadership stints at True Blue Games, Aruze Gaming and Aristocrat Technologies.
Today, Spin Games is looking to expand its interactive and land-based footprint through cutting-edge product development and strategic partnerships with technology companies. Young recently took some time to speak with Casino Journal Editor Paul Doocey about the current state of Spin Games and its plans for the future. Here are some excerpts from that conversation:
Please briefly describe the products and services currently offered by Spin Games.
Young: If you want to summarize our business into a few words, we are a content and technology provider. We currently distribute our content and technology in the interactive space, but we are also about to distribute that technology and content into the land-based space. The beauty of our technology is that we are not limited to one particular sector. We are very broad in terms of where we can apply our technology and content in both the interactive and land-based markets.
For example, about 18 month ago when online gaming in New Jersey was becoming a reality, we saw that as an opportunity and developed an HTML 5 remote gaming server [RGS] and partnered with a company called KGM and very quickly we were up and running with Caesars. That part of our business has expanded considerably in lots of different areas.
We have also formed ReSpin, a joint-venture with a company called Nektan out of the UK. We are doing some unique products within that joint venture utilizing both our technology and their technology. They are primarily land-based products.
Let’s delve into your games a bit. What types of online game content do you offer? What sets these Spin Games apart from the competition?
Young: First of all, we do a range of products. We do slots, video poker, four card bingo, and what I like to call ‘other,’ which is comprised of keno, some table games, and some skill-based product we are about to release.
Within the slot category, we focus on the traditional gaming products; more of a volatile, gambler-style product. That is my pedigree, what I learned at Aristocrat and Aruze. A very successful range for us has been the four-card bingo, which is a South American-style product. It is up in New Jersey and it is preforming exceptionally well. We are the only company with that style of product in that market.
You do a lot of game development in the HTML 5 format. Why? What advantages does it provide game creators?
Young: When we started to develop our RGS, we had a few different options of the technology we could use. Most suppliers at that time were using Flash. We had a good look at all the options and decided to go with HTML 5 for a few reasons. One is that you are not limited with HTML 5 in terms of where you can distribute your content. For example, you can’t run Flash on a mobile device. HTML 5 you can run on both desktop and mobile devices.
HTML 5 not only runs on multiple devices, it also runs on multiple browsers. Whether it is Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer, you need to be able to run your technology and content across all of those browsers, which is a very important component to what we do.
HTML 5 makes a huge difference. If you haven’t got that bit, it doesn’t matter how good your content is, because you are not going to be able to distribute it.
How do you view the whole social games space for land-based casino operators? What is Spin Games doing to address the social games space?
Young: I think we are in the very early stages of what could potentially be a very good segment. From what I understand, the commercialization on social sites for land-based casinos is a lot higher than broad, critical mass sites. There are also a lot of cross marketing opportunities between the land-based casino and its social site. It is a good opportunity.
We are already in this space in that we provide content to social sites. We recently announced a deal with Game Account Network where we provide out content to them and they provide their social sites to particular casinos.
We see it as a big growth segment in our overall business model.
Please describe your Robust Online Client product. Why was it created? What does it offer operators? What sets it apart from the competition?
Young: The brand is the ROC, which is what we call our remote gaming server. We did it all in HTML 5. The area that really set us apart is the way we designed our RGS. It is very modular, so we can very quickly design new game engines and new products unlike many of our competitors. There is a lot less development required because of the way we architected our RGS.
What also sets us apart is that we have the ability to do ‘future tech’ applications. For example, we are working on 3D HTML 5 right now, which is an area we think is really going to set us apart moving forward.
Please describe ReSpin and what you hope to accomplish with this division?
Young: We are doing a few things with them. For one, we are utilizing our HTML 5 technology and we are close to completing a Class II, on-property mobile product. We are very excited about it and the operators we have spoken to are very bullish about it as well.
Again, using the HTML 5, we are creating secondary bonusing modules that go onto existing machines in a land-based space using our mobile technology. One such device is a multi-level progressive wheel product that can go on any cabinet on the floor. The intent is that it drives increased revenue from existing cabinets on the floor. That is in the works and we have it in field trials at the moment.
We see ReSpin as a great opportunity for us. It gives us the ability to quickly move ahead on some projects with a partner that has technology and funding.
When do you hope to have these ReSpin products out in market?
Young: We still need to go through submission and approval, but we are targeting the end of this year to be in the market.