Tony Plaskow, Black Cow Technology: Providing innovations is challenging

Tony Plaskow, Commercial Director at Black Cow Technology dwells on what is supposed to happen for real innovations to be established in the gambling industry.

We are a software company and we talk to people about changes in their software platform, their game software platform, which again is a very complicated thing to do. They may have had the same way of doing it for 8-10-12 years.

People have been talking about the biggest game innovations but what really is a definition of a gaming innovation? Have you really seen a gaming innovation in recent years?

The gaming industry is constantly looking for such innovations. That is why we discuss these issues at every conference we visit. There are a few things that need to happen if proper innovations are set to come through. From the perspective of a software company, we provide a game-server platform which is efficient and enables fast development of games. However, most of the industry is still working with old systems. They are slow and complicated for using. So, it could be a challenge to innovate games with the help of that software. Concerning the need to innovate: currently, the industry, especially in Europe and in the Asian region, doesn’t really need to innovate. They earn a lot of money and their growth is still continuing. In Europe, this growth has been continuing for some fifteen-twenty years. Actual genuine innovation will be seen when the need emerges to provide different content for a younger audience of players. Many people, even despite the oversupply, are still creating slots which bring them a lot of money. There are certain things that should happen both from the software as well as from a player’s perspective before we are really able to see any innovation.

Speaking about innovation itself, does it only mean from a technological perspective or does it also comprise even marketing these games? How does it work?

Innovation can be in different forms. Everything should be step by step, not like sort of a pipe dream: building a brand new game that will suddenly appeal to everyone. It’s unlikely to happen. Traditional slots players are sitting at a machine, pressing one button with very little or no interactivity. Online players have a bit more interactivity: you can start choosing bonus rounds and your volatility. Next generation is likely to demand a much higher level of interactivity: community features, interacting with other players in the game process, etc. To be honest, I’m not quite sure anyone really has a clue of how it should look like.

It is interesting to hear that maybe in 5-10 years there is going to be a shift in the gaming space. What do you think will drive this process? What other factors aside from functionality and features will make this happen?

We need quite a lot of things to happen at the same time. As I have already said, operators should take more risks. Many of them are big companies with goals they have to achieve. They know how much money they are going to make by launching another slot game. If you bring them something different, there is a challenge for them to hit the same ROI. It is the same from both the software and the hardware perspective, testing games on hundreds of handsets. It’s crazy. Many things should happen before innovation can actually flow. Replacing the software with new stuff, learning new technologies – it’s a challenge. One needs a long-term view for that. I actually think a lot of things need to change at the same time. The market will slow down, people will stop seeing growth, demographics will slightly change, people’s demands will come different to a slot-based economy.

So, companies should be able to adapt to these changes that will happen pretty soon for sure. They have to take the risk, right?

Yeah, absolutely.

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