Kiron Interactive, supplier of over 50 games and game variants in more than 60 countries, has recently released two instant win titles, with more in the pipeline. Mark Krupanandan, Director of Customer Success at Kiron, details how instant win games fulfil an increasing cross-over demand between sports betting and casino-style games, and the impact headline sporting events have on virtual sports participation.
What is the role of instant-win games in the online betting ecosystem?
As the industry moves forward, we’re witnessing similar requirements from players across a variety of verticals. Instant-win games are fulfilling an ever-increasing cross-over demand between sports betting and casino-style games.
The demographic of players who enjoy a little of all formats is growing and our instant-win products meet this demand. Instant-win games blend elements from each betting style to produce a betting experience that provides variety, quick play, and betting alternatives that fit.
How do Kiron’s instant win games differ from its virtual sports offering?
Our instant-win games allow players to play at their own pace – they are available at any time and are not restricted by a fixed schedule. They are better attuned to current player trends, which include immediately accessible, quickly consumable entertainment options, as well as bet markets that offer instant gratification and simple in-play betting options.
Players can pick their favourite teams and bet on single or multiple (up to 10) matches, setting their own stake per bet and the opportunity to double their winnings with multiple stakes. Our recent golf-themed game Up ‘n Down presents players with the option to cash-out at the end of the game and return their winnings on prior bets won in the round. A quick turnaround in play is possible if the bet is lost, in which case the game ends and is immediately restarted.
Kiron recently released two instant win games, with more in the pipeline. Is your release schedule for instant win games reflective of current player trends?
Players are increasingly looking for more instant gratification and the option to play and place bets at their own pace. We’re seeing this across the industry and as with all the content Kiron produces, we pay close attention to player trends and preferences, developing games that allow them to play in the style that they prefer.
We are continuously innovating to ensure that our game portfolio offers as much choice to operators and players as possible. We are active in over 140 international clients across five continents, our extensive portfolio being a key differentiator for us. At current count, we offer over 50 games which include a variety of popular sports that offer the right blend of gameplay and win potential.
Due to their readily consumable nature , instant-win games are highly ‘en vogue’ right now, and Kiron will continue to create entertainment in this vein as long as this preference exists.
In June, Kiron Interactive launched instant-win football game, iGOAL. Is this with an eye on the winter? How do major sporting events such as the upcoming World Cup impact the popularity of virtual games?
Headline sporting events, almost exclusively have a very positive effect on virtual sports participation. Our instant games allow players to seamlessly bet around the clock, before and in-between matches or whilst live sports events are in-play, providing players with a complementary entertainment stream.
As the public focus shifts to football around these showpiece tournaments, there is naturally more attention placed on our football products. As more players are exposed to the vertical and learn how much fun it offers, we observe a huge spike in both existing player engagement and the number of new player groups who have been introduced for the first time.
3D animation, betting algorithms, the option to wager on multiple matches, quick-bet options. The product description for iGOAL could be for a virtual sports title. How does the design process of instant win titles differ from virtual sports?
Simply put, the nuances we bring to instant-win products is to provide the player with more choice, offering the opportunity to choose which team the wager is placed on. A quick pick button is also available should a random, automated selection be preferred. This is one of the unique elements that differentiates iGoal from competitor products – the player is in control of their bet as opposed to being presented with a predetermined fixture to bet on. We believe the more flexible a product is and the more the player feels in control, the greater engagement becomes. This ultimately boosts retention rates and in turn the revenue for the operator. We also have to ensure that there are a variety of games available that speak to as many different audience segments as possible as punters come with a wide variety of unique preferences and add to that the fact that we provide products for global audiences and their regional preferences, we have to ensure we present a portfolio that offers diversity too.
Embracing today’s proliferation of smartphone ownership, our design process centres on a mobile first approach. i-Goal provides a virtual football betting experience that is adaptable to player preference and offers the best of both virtual sports player experiences. Bet and watch the suspense of the game unfolding, similar to our traditional products, or skip to the result and get an instant result. The choice is entirely in the hand of the player!
How is the demographic for Kiron’s sports-themed instant titles different to players of virtual sports games?
Player tastes are constantly evolving and as such, our content must adapt accordingly. Increasingly, more players favour a shorter, high frequency experience and instant-win products cater to that. Classic virtual sports are still hugely popular too, especially in retail and in territories such as Africa and LatAm, so we maintain a solid balance.
Sport-themed instant-win titles are reserved for online/mobile betting only. They provide a one-on-one experience for the player and offer the key element of choice, once again. Allowing the player to have control of their selection provides a higher level of interaction and intrigue. Scheduled virtual sports will continue to have a following in retail and certain online/mobile markets, but again, it’s about diversity in product offerings and making sure we cater to as many unique tastes as possible.
We are constantly monitoring, gathering data and feedback, and refining and developing our titles to maximise engagement and performance. The addition of penalty and set piece sequences coupled with new bet markets like Penalty In-Game and First Goal Scorer are testament to our constant innovation on the Football front, whether it is on a scheduled or instant virtual sports experience.
Up ‘N Down, is a great example of how we’re developing titles to accommodate current preferences. Another recent addition to our instant win portfolio, is a golf gaming experience which is designed to attract purists of the sport as well as the casual gamer. The choice element is once again synonymous in this experience. Simply select the Golfer using the rating provided or select randomly – Click swing and a substantial pay- out is available for a hole-in-one. If a player progresses to the green, they can play the Money Putt Shot. The player is faced with a choice of a cash-out, unique to Up ‘N Down or the option to proceed to the Money Putt Shot. If you choose to cash-out, a ‘What If’ feature reveals what the outcome result would have been, keeping the player anticipation high beyond the finale.
Where are Kiron’s instant games popular? What are the growth markets for this type of product?
A lot of research and planning has gone into these games. The unique features like Cash-out on Up ‘N Down and the ability to create your own team or player selection across both titles were carefully built to reflect current global trends and offer an unparalleled experience. These titles offer a hybrid experience between sports betting, casual betting and instant gratification games found in the casino sector.
Growth markets for instant-win are very similar to our core virtual sports content and include our main distribution channels in Africa, Europe, Asia and LatAm. Further growth stems from the demographic of newer players too, who are more focused on high-frequency, easily consumable experiences that we’re increasingly catering for.
Up next on your release schedule, to coincide with the football World Cup in Qatar later this year, is Tournaments. Can you give us a preview of what we can expect?
Tournaments, mirroring the main sporting event itself, is a 32 team multi-stage tournament format. It will feature group stages, round of 16, quarter finals, semi-finals, the always controversial (especially if your team loses!) third place match, and the final. The group stages are a round-robin point-based system and group winners moving on to a 16-team single elimination tournament until the winner is determined.
All the teams included in the game are those that will be represented in the official Work Cup Qatar in November and the group make-up also replicates those already in place in the schedule. An extensive selection of bet markets are available covering round and individual match options.
What are the benefits of virtual games that coincide with major sporting events?
It’s the biggest tournament in sport globally and even during tournaments of a smaller nature, we see engagement spike around the time the live sport is played. For the same reason that National Team shirt sales soar and there are more kids kicking balls around in the streets during events, engagement with betting products of a similar nature also enjoys a boost.
But it isn’t just a case of ‘build it and they will come’ otherwise anyone could do it – it requires the same attention to detail that all our products receive. Virtual sports is all about the recreation and thrill of the real thing and if you’re creating a World Cup themed product then it has to mirror it as closely as possible – same bet markets, teams and scheduling but presented in a much more compact package. That’s what Tournaments provides, it’s a taste of the excitement of the event but in an easy to pick up format, whenever and wherever a player chooses.
Is an outside the box mentality what’s required do make a splash in the virtual sports? Will ‘traditional’ no longer cut it?
It’s important to always push the envelope and try to stay ahead of changing player trends yet making sure that your core traditional business is still well-serviced, retaining the traditional aspects, gameplay and feel that established players enjoy. This balance is incredibly important, and innovation across the board is key.