Alina is the Co-founder and Director of Apparat Gaming. She is one of the leading talents in Germany’s highly competitive gambling industry having served as Head of Transition at the country’s third-largest slot machine manufacturer. Alina is a doer with a strategic mind. Her optimism is infectious and she has an unstinting belief in Apparat Gaming’s success. She now spearheads Apparat Gaming’s bold ambitions to become one of the top developers of slot content not only for the German market but beyond.
You are a brand-new developer in the iGaming market, but this has not stopped you from developing innovative, pleasing, and visually appealing slots. How hard is it to break onto the market as a new supplier of games?
The market is highly competitive. It feels like a new title is released every five minutes. So, it is hard to gain visibility amid this flood of new games. If we were really ‘new’, we would indeed have a problem. But we are what many others claim to be in their self-descriptions, industry veterans. That means we knew what to do and who to approach.
We know that you have a handful of partnerships with prominent casino and gaming operators in the works. How have you been able to catch the attention of some of the bigger companies in the sector?
Firstly, it’s about where we came from. I think our experience in the German brick-and-mortar market as producers of proven land-based winners made us interesting to operators. German players are still kind of traditional, so we took the game concepts and mechanics we knew would work within our core target group and translated them into the digital space. We gave them a fresh, modern glaze, combining ingredients to make new recipes, always with German players’ tastes in mind.
The second reason is to do with the market itself. Although a number of operators have publicly withdrawn from the market in protest of last year’s regulation, Germany remains one of the most important markets in Europe. This is the market we come from, and we produce for. The more difficult a market becomes, the more you must be able to adapt to its particularities if you want to remain in it.
So, it’s a combination of our many years of experience, our insight into the market, and, of course, the portfolio of games we provide. Well-known partners like Relax want to grow in Germany, despite all the difficulties, so they wanted to work with us.
What does your roadmap look like? Do you have any fixed release schedule or do you work until the game is done without time constraints?
Even though we only left ‘stealth mode’ and officially launched a few weeks ago, we have been working on our concept for more than two years. Our MGA application was submitted in January last year and then approved in November. At the same time, we have already developed, tested, and certified our games and our technology. Currently, we have three games ready for release and can guarantee our release dates with stereotypical German reliability.
But at the same time, you are right. A game is finished when it’s good and not when the schedule says so. We are currently working with our teams on 11 games at the same time, and we buffer the real-world dates realistically. That means we are still able to absorb delays or even swap two games if necessary. You can still rely on our release dates.
Can you tell us more about your designing process and how you choose to develop a new title? What plays an important role for you in determining which approach makes the most sense?
As we already mentioned, some elements have existed before in one form or another – not always successfully. On the one hand, we rely on our experience to know what goes down well with the players and what works in the market. And we try to make good things even better. Sometimes, however, a good concept has not been as successful as we think it will be. So, we are constantly evolving and expanding, based on tried and tested game mechanics, features, and mathematics.
A good example is our game ‘The Warlocks Book’, which will be released at the end of August, and which combines the classic ‘book game’ with other, proven game mechanics in an innovative way. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be gigantic production values that make a game a high performer. What ultimately counts is whether it’s fun to play.
Could you share one big thing to look forward to this year when we hear the name Apparat Gaming, or perhaps just tease it?
We know that you have to dream and live your visions and to be honest, we do that every day. But we also know that in our industry success is very rarely the result of one big thing, but rather of many little things. And so, for us as a small company, the reliability of being able to release a new game every month is one of the things that we are proud of, and that also represents a big thing for us. Does that make us German and boring?