ICE London online slots and table games review
Online gaming providers and table games suppliers had a lot to show at the recent ICE London tradeshow and exposition
Last month, the editors of Casino Journal pinpointed the slot machine supplier booths and product lineups that garnered attention and praise at the ICE London show.
But of course, there was much more to ICE London than slot company displays. As one would expect from a European-centric event, i-gaming vendors of all shapes and sizes showcased games, systems and support products that were both evolutionary and revolutionary. What follows are some recaps from i-gaming producers whose booths at ICE London piqued the interest of Casino Journal staffers.
ONLINE GAMING SYSTEMS
Online gaming in all its complexity and various formats is extremely popular throughout the EMEA marketplace. Success in this market segment relies heavily on having a platform that is both robust and adaptable to enough to meet both player and operator demands. Online gaming systems providers are aware of this dynamic and are constantly introducing new capabilities to their platforms, many of which were demonstrated at ICE London booths.
Scientific Games was one of these companies that develops cutting-edge content and experiences for i-gaming, offering thousands of immersive casino games and dynamic player experience features in one integration. Through its OpenGaming brand, player management experience and world-class content aggregation come together in one platform, according to press materials. In-house and third-party development studios are creating great games with new rich features for OpenGaming, some of which were on display at ICE London including:
- The Mega Drop Jackpot System, a must-drop and multi-level jackpot system offering three tiers accessible to all players at any stake level;
- Mega Drop Quest, a syndicated community jackpot which allows players to join together to win a percentage of a larger jackpot; and
- • Jackpot Wars, a completely new concept for i-gaming, allows players to compete for a share of a jackpot. This new way of marketing and selling casino jackpots keeps players engaged with the game.
Everi Holdings was another largescale gaming equipment provider offering online systems upgrades. Since launching its proprietary remote game server (RGS) in 2018, Everi has released more than 30 games online, all developed to offer the exact same look, game features and math as their land-based counterparts, according to a press release.
Leveraging the power of Everi’s library of award-winning mechanical reel and video slots extends the company’s player reach while simultaneously expanding its online real-money footprint. At ICE London, the company showcased its state-of the-art RGS, its growing online library and the platform’s unique feature that enables players to play games in landscape or portrait mode.
Online-only gaming platform developers also showed a number of new enhancements at ICE London. For example, BetConstruct’s i-gaming suite, delivered via its flagship Spring platform, can provide online operators with virtual sports, fantasy sports, live casino, virtual reality, poker and more. At ICE London, BetConstruct demoed its latest platform adjunct: the Spring BME app, an i-gaming encyclopedia that delivers insights and analysis direct to the smartphones of industry professionals, according to company literature. Available for both iOS and Android devices, the app brings the latest updates from the most trusted sources on the topics of gaming, sports betting, casinos, regulators, hardware manufacturers and more. Adding further user functionality, Spring BME creates a community where all people can freely ask, request and discuss industry-facing problems and get a solution from professionals and experts.
In other BetConstruct platform news, the company revealed it has partnered with TruNarrative, a single platform for fraud detection and prevention, anti-money laundering (AML), know your customer (KYC), behavioral monitoring and ID verification. Under the partnership, BetConstruct will use TruNarrative’s powerful solution to improve onboarding, risk, fraud and responsible gambling procedures, initially allowing operator partners on their platform to better meet regulatory requirements in markets around the world.
GrooveGaming was another online platform provider garnering attention at ICE London. Created with the aim of easy and fast content delivery for the i-gaming industry, GrooveGaming has powered ahead to become the aggregator of choice for a host of big industry names including EveryMatrix, iGP, Digitain, ALEA and Quickfire, according to press materials. with more than 2,500 casino games available on the platform and a series of aggregated content added to GrooveGaming, operators are able to find the instant integration that has a wealth of curated content to drive player engagement and revenue.
GrooveGaming has been in top gear developing powerful market positions in Europe, the Far East, Latin America and Africa, as well as focusing on the technology development that has set the accelerating aggregator apart over the last 12 months. Indeed, GrooveGaming’s global reach is underpinned by tailoring game lists and promotions for operators working in multiple markets to reflect typical regional player attitudes thereby helping to drive player engagement and revenue. A key reason why GrooveGaming is becoming a supplier of choice around the world is that GrooveGaming is powered by technology innovation which provides operators with the ability to activate a range of features that enhance customer experience and engagement, improve retention, encourage extended play and produce higher yield.
Another company featuring an online gaming systems adjunct designed to boost operator performance was ORYX Gaming, which recently launched a new Data Analytics Platform that can be used as a module integrated into third-party player account management systems (PAM) or as an addition to the ORYX iGaming Platform.
The advanced platform allows real-time collection and analysis of data from internal as well as third-party systems, enabling operators to gain a better understanding of its customers and effectively segment, target and engage them by triggering activities based on behavior and preferences, according to a press release. Real-time data is collected and processed from the ORYX iGaming Platform, ORYX Hub, and the ORYX Sportsbook as well as from third-party transactional systems, management systems, content providers, service providers, products and websites. This offers operators a data-powered, cutting-edge and flexible solution to drive player engagement, conversion, retention, loyalty and player value.
Online game developers also offered a number of new innovations for the systems space. One such company was High 5 Games, which displayed its proprietary i-gaming platform, Vault, which is embedded with innovations that the company envisions will define the future of online and mobile gaming.
Vault incorporates High 5’s “Brain with Benefits” technology that monitors players in real time and at all stages of the customer lifecycle, and is set to revolutionize the whole user journey with a truly personalised experience, according to company literature. The “Brain,” named Oracle, sits in the cloud and learns player behavior. When Oracle is present, it monitors:
- Promotions and bonus management system;
- CRM and data segmentation;
- Content management; and
- Player account management.
The “Benefits”—also known as personalised events—are then triggered automatically by Oracle, both seamlessly and in real time, across the platform and games. These can range from small surprise game features to fully adaptive content libraries and user journeys.
This technology is based on Google’s artificial intelligence and machine learning frameworks.
Another online game provider showcasing systems technology was NetEnt, which offered its highly-customizable, community jackpot system where players collect Starburst tokens across an entire family of NetEnt’s best performing games for a range of prizes. Players play together to fill up the PowerPots progress bar to trigger the community pot divided among any number of players—even if they happen to be offline.
All games within the family share the state and jackpot values, including an additional major progressive jackpot. The platform is designed with maximum configurability for operators, offering multiple RTP configurations, contributions and prize setups as well as the ability to tailor the user interface to match their casino brand.
Meanwhile, online game developer Yggdrasil used ICE London to promote the launch of its Publishing division, offering customers “the keys to its kingdom” and all tools they need to build, create and offer a complete B2B gaming business.
As part of its the new strategic approach, Yggdrasil is franchising its entire business, from its current and future content portfolio and industry-leading gamification to its advanced platform technology and new GATI (Game Adaption Tools & Interface) product, according to a press release. This enables partners to instantly create their own unique, end-to-end i-gaming offering supported by, and in partnership with, Yggdrasil Publishing.
Future customers will be able to license any, or all elements, of Yggdrasil’s gaming ecosystem with all technology, functions and content already proven after being live in the most developed i-gaming markets for the last six years.
ONLINE SLOT GAMES
In addition to new systems technology, a number of online equipment suppliers also showed new, cutting-edge game concepts and themes. Among the highlights were:
- NetEnt displayed two new licensed slot concepts: the video-game inspired Street Fighter II: The World Warrior and Hell’s Kitchen, based on the popular TV show staring chef Gordon Ramsey.
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior features the iconic eight selectable characters—Ryu, Ken, E. Honda, Guile, Chun-Li, Blanka, Zangief and Dhalsim—as well as boss fights with Balrog, Vega, Sagat and the truly evil M. Bison, according to press materials. Street Fighter II’s genre-defining graphics, soundtrack and animations, as well as its gameplay, will be reflected as true to the brand and the original game as possible.
Meanwhile, Hell’s Kitchen slot game incorporates Ramsey’s famous catchphrases, as well as imagery to tantalize the taste buds. The Hell’s Kitchen and 24 Hours to Hell and Back star first graced TV screens in 1998 in the UK mini-series Boiling Point and has since become a global personality famed for his fiery temper and razor-sharp wit.
- In other online slot licensing news, Microgaming announced that it would be releasing it latest Game of Thrones-inspired game: Game of Thrones Power Stacks, which will feature some of the leading characters and personalities from the hit HBO series, ready to lead players on a new pursuit for rewards through the world of Westeros.
At its ICE booth, Microgaming displayed Wheel of Wishes, a captivating five-reel, 10-payline progressive online slot full of enticing features and potentially life-changing jackpots. Set against the sands of Arabia, Wheel of Wishes combines stunning graphics with a dazzling soundtrack and incredible gameplay. Genie lamps and other mystical symbols guide players towards a cave of riches, wherein even the grandest of wishes can come true.
- Pragmatic Play launched a new feature-filled video slot, Release the Kraken, at ICE London. The 4x5, graphic-rich title is set in the depths of the ocean where players are pitted in a battle against the horrifying creature of the deep, the Kraken. The Sunken Treasure Bonus will trigger a sum of multipliers, while the Roaming Kraken Free Spins brings up 10 items among which free spins are hidden. All the revealed free spins will be added up as the player discovers them. The Kraken modifier features include Infectious Kraken Wilds, Colossal Kraken Wilds and Kraken Locking Wilds, resulting in different sorts of win combinations.
Pragmatic also announced a landmark agreement with Endemol Shine Gaming for the rights to produce titles based on the hit TV drama Peaky Blinders, and a teaser of the first game was revealed to delegates at ICE.
- Greentube, the interactive division of NOVOMATIC, let visitors to its booth try out online versions of the NOVOMATIC’s classic land-based slots, adapted by Greentube for digital and mobile, as well as the first smash hit release in the brand-new Diamond Link Jackpot game series, Diamond Link Mighty Elephant. In addition, industry-first title Cash Connection Charming Lady, part of NOVOMATIC’s new linked progressive jackpot series, and the latest additions to the immensely popular Book of Ra series were on display.
- High 5 Games (H5G) charged into action at ICE London 2020 with the launch of its latest release, Thundering Buffalo Jackpot Dash. During this 243-ways slot, anticipation rises as the rumbling herd approaches the reels where prizes are to be won beneath the backdrop of the stunning purple sky. The game’s main feature, Jackpot Dash, sees players on a mission to collect an array of symbols including a Trophy, Crown, Gold Star, Gold Medal, and Eagle. Once 10 or more of each symbol is collected, a jackpot determined by a win multiplier is paid out, with the Eagle the highest-paying symbol.
- Yggdrasil unveiled its latest cutting-edge YG Masters title at ICE London: Ice and Fire. Two elemental enemies face off across split 5x5 screens, sharing wilds as they are locked in their eternal battle.
- Evoplay Entertainment invited visitors to its ICE booth to take a magical quest for undiscovered riches with its latest slot, Legend of Kaan. Set in the heart of the jungle before the days of the conquistadors, the Legend of Kaan offers everything a legendary Aztec adventure should contain, with magic, mysticism and an immersive jungle atmosphere.
ONLINE TABLE GAMES
Online table game concepts were also featured at many ICE booths. For example, Pragmatic Play used the event to officially launch its language-dedicated roulettes. The roulette tables will be available in Italian, German and Russian, joining the English-speaking ones currently in the supplier’s catalogue of titles. Each roulette will have its own dedicated environment, inspired from the culture of the countries they represent.
Golden Rock Studios unveiled RouletteX2, a well-polished version of the European roulette game but with innovative features such as Fast Chips, which allows players to place multiple chips at the same time with a single swipe action. The game also offers a very a powerful reward mechanic, with a unique dice feature potentially gifting players with double winnings for free on every spin, while retaining the standard odds expected without taking anything away from the player.
Ezugi, providers of cutting-edge, mobile and web live-dealer gaming services, used ICE London as a backdrop to announce it has successfully passed the requirements set by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) to receive an official Recognition Notice to offer live dealer services out of its flagship studio in Bucharest, Romania. As the agreement stipulates, MGA-licensed operators are now able to offer Ezugi’s favorite live tables to their players.
EvenBet Gaming showcased its latest product innovations at ICE London 2020, including its newly-launched South and Latin American online poker network. Delegates were able to find out more about the new network, designed to let operators target the region’s emerging markets through its world-class omnichannel platform, which offers more than 32 different games types.
Since launching, the network has gained significant traction with established operators and new start-ups across Colombia, with more integrations expected to follow in territories such as Argentina, Brazil and Peru over the coming months, according to a press release.