Interview: CCO Nicola Longmuir speaks with CasinoBeats on different player preferences and future games

In the final part of the CasinoBeats ‘Future of Entertainment’ mini-series, our CCO Nicola Longmuir speaks about players in multiple jurisdictions, such as the UK, Sweden and Germany – to see if tastes in certain games will shift in the near future, and how the industry itself is set to change by other influencing media and entertainment. 

Looking to the future – particularly the UK, Sweden and Germany – how do you see player tastes broadly changing in the coming years? How do you see demand for games being influenced by outside entertainment – and what’s proving particularly engaging?

These three especially are among the most stringently regulated markets in Europe, and the advent of ever-more rigorously evolving gambling controls has meant the landscape is constantly changing. Inevitably this will shape player tastes as that will dictate supply. In my view, we’re headed toward a market populated with content shaped by regulation. 

Prime examples of this are the control of spin times and the lowering of stakes – these will have a significant impact. How we manage this as an industry is going to be key for Push. As an example, Push Gaming is live across multiple European markets and as we are preparing to enter new regulated markets, we already know there are going to be regional regulatory differences.

This means as a company, we need to be agile and be able to adapt our games per region whilst also providing innovative game mechanics that are flexible enough to mitigate whatever restrictions we face. I think suppliers that are nimble and navigate evolving regulation with intelligence will see greater success. 

Player tastes are also beginning to shift, heading towards lower stakes and extended periods of entertainment resulting in a higher number of plays with smaller spends. I only see that continuing with reductions in average stakes and session lengths. 

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Alternative forms of entertainment are also influencing the market as well as competing with gambling, because we’re all jockeying to obtain a slice of leisure time. Social and competing media, as well as video gaming across the platforms, are influencing what players expect when they play a slot. 

I see this as wholly positive as it drives studios to produce quality and innovative products that build anticipation and excitement, and the opportunity to take on the best of big tech. 

What kind of player and heritage are we looking at for games of the next decade? The UK, for example, has a strong-land based heritage in its gaming types – but how do you expect this to change?

We are seeing a new generation of players online who play very differently from a traditional VIP gambler who enjoys a specific type of content. I started my career at Sky Vegas bringing some of the first slots online, as well as via the interactive TV features in the mid 2000’s, and I collaborated with various leading land-based slot developers at the time to bring them online.

Of course, there is still a market for these games, particularly in the UK, where they still have their position, but we are seeing a new type of player now with different requirements and we need to cater to them.

The new generation plays differently – with so much noise and distraction at their fingertips there is currently a snacking culture when it comes to playing games – they want an instant experience of entertainment.

Traditional fruit slots, for example, may struggle to hold the attention of today’s players who are accustomed to online gaming and instant impact. Online gaming is more engaging and immersive than it has ever been. Content with backstories and narrative captures players attention and retains interest, and there’s simply no substitute. 

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Gambling content will continue to shift in this direction, as this is what the market demands. There’s also a much greater choice out there too given the number of new studios emerging in recent times. Naturally, they’re able to offer a far more diverse range of games to a considerably more tech-savvy player than ever before. This drives us at Push to continuously create top-quality, innovative games, with mechanics, features and visuals that can retain the attention of players

Given it’s all about entertainment, what’s the biggest gaming competitor away from sports betting? Is it a case of our industry taking on the likes of Silicon Valley to provide customers with entertainment?

There’s a huge choice of entertainment platforms that we all interact with and as an industry we’re all competing for time and spend. At the end of the day, we’re in the entertainment industry and it’s how we compete with TV streaming services, mobile gaming, video gaming etc that’s key. 

Providing and being able to serve personalised entertainment so that players don’t have to spend time searching for relatable content is paramount to competing. 

It shouldn’t just be a concern for the operators in terms of their casino lobbies, but also game suppliers too. We’re really not that different to the Silicon Valley types, in essence, we’re all chasing the same goals – entertainment. But as their platforms and technology have evolved, then so has ours, resulting in the kind of experiences you see today.

This forms part of a longer interview with other industry experts, that can be viewed here.

Follow the full series here:

Part 1 – Player Preferences by CEO James Marshall

Part 2 – Game Design by CEO James Marshall

Part 3 – Marketing Strategy by Marketing Director Darren Stephenson

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