Driving the sustained popularity of jackpot slots is the thrill of potentially winning a life-changing sum of money.
What are the differences between creating a jackpot slot and a standard online slot? What unique challenges can arise during the development process?
Stian Enger Pettersen, CEO of CasinoEngine at EveryMatrix: The main development challenge lies in making such a slot attractive for players without the jackpot, while at the same time ensuring the prize grows enough to make it a major feature in of itself.
A jackpot begins with whatever it is seeded with; seed it too much and it becomes a major adverse influence on the math model, reducing the regularity of other features with too much RTP sent into the prize pool.
This results in a slot that is unattractive to players. Seed it too little and the jackpot grows too slowly, which is also off-putting to many players. We see many games on the market with jackpots constantly hovering at around the €25k mark, because their unattractive models mean they are avoided by players.
There is a fine balancing act at play when it comes to seeding jackpots and the resultant impact this has on RTP. It means the development process for a jackpot slot is a lot more complex than for a regular slot.
There is also the regulatory aspect, but that is usually less about the jackpot itself and more the system around it. In which case, our JackpotEngine product has been developed to be fully compliant as both a game jackpot and an overall jackpot as an additional layer on top, driven by bets placed.
Jackpot slots spend significantly more time at the top of casino lobbies, prolonging the relevance of many older slots. Has this hindered innovation within the jackpot space?
Yes, the more nuanced response is that this is the case for certain slots – those that have huge jackpots – while there are also many jackpot slots that do not spend much time at the top end of casino lobbies. That isn’t because they are drowned out by their bigger rivals. It’s more down to the fact they are either not fun to play, or that the jackpot prize is not high enough for players to regard it as a once-in-a-lifetime, lottery-style opportunity.
Regulation has hindered innovation in this space, too, as it can be very restrictive. We hope that if JackpotEngine succeeds in the way we believe it will, we can provide scope for innovation. This system has the potential to create a jackpot prize that is extendable across any slot an operator requires, if they are prepared to adjust the RTP. An operator can then promote a particular provider or games featuring that jackpot.
Have studios avoided developing jackpot slots because the current space is flooded with classic jackpot games, some of which have been on the market for over 15 years?
I don’t believe this is the case. Instead, development has been hindered in the main by the impact of regulatory challenges. It is very complex to certify a jackpot game and jurisdictions have varying rules concerning the maximum level of prize that can be won. Additionally, there are ancillary systems that must be developed to manage and report jackpots for regulatory purposes, and this has affected innovation in this space.
With several new jackpots debuting in the last twelve months, will jackpot prizes be driven ever higher, or have they hit a ceiling?
I believe they will only be diluted to an even greater extent. The more jackpot games there are on the market, the more players will switch between them depending on what is on offer at any given moment. The days of games like Mega Moolah achieving enormous jackpot prize funds are increasingly numbered.
Prizes now tend to reach an average amount and stay at that level, unless there is a specific title that is fun to play, and which players relate to. This is where JackpotEngine comes in, as it is not game-dependent. You can have huge jackpots that have nothing to do with the game itself, which can be used by operators to direct players towards titles. This way you have a game that is fun to play, with a huge prize as an additional layer on top. It’s the best of both worlds.
What differentiates your jackpot from others currently on the market?
JackpotEngine is a gamification solution that allows an operator to create their own jackpots across an entire gaming content portfolio, as opposed to being limited to a particular supplier, and for any player segment. It helps to boost player acquisition and creates an added incentive for players to stay loyal to a brand, increasing lifetime value. Players are engaged with in-game widgets displaying jackpot pools, which are updated in real-time, and the jackpot prizes can be configured in unlimited ways.
Operators have the control of being able to set jackpot hit probabilities to attract different player types, whether they prefer to aim for life- jackpot pools, or more frequent and modest jackpot drops. There’s also the possibility of constructing multi-level jackpots that combine both of those traits, and operators have the choice of jackpots being paid by players, coming out of marketing budgets or any combination of the two. JackpotEngine adds excitement for all player types and hands control to operators.
The original version of this roundtable was published by G3 Magazine under the title Building jackpots with longevity.
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