In this exclusive column for Yogonet, Play’n GO’s IP, Licensing and Partnerships Manager Anny Gomes discusses the studio’s approach to licensed content, their choice for music, and their latest music collaboration title *NSYNC Pop. In addition, she delves into the key role of data in product development and understanding the audience.
Hitting the right notes with licensed gaming content is never easy, but when you do, there’s the chance to create show-stopping titles.
At Play’n GO, we’re hugely passionate about the world of entertainment, and particularly music. Lots of our licensed games feature the bands and artists we love, and we work really hard to ensure the games capture their magic.
Of course, we’re always focused on delivering great experiences to our players regardless of the theme of the slot. But with licensed games, we also need to be thinking about the IP holder. The game needs to match their expectations and their brand.
Take our recent release, *NSYNC Pop. We wanted to create something that, well, synced with the group.
In the past, many of our music-themed licensed games were in partnership with rockers, like KISS, Twisted Sister and Alice Cooper. The audience for an *NSYNC game is obviously very different, and every detail needed to reflect this.
We love how the game combines nineties nostalgia with contemporary features, including an unusual 2,3,4,3,2 grid layout. It’s a title that’s really been made with the fans in mind.
Physical popping animations that combine with the hit song Pop playing in the background, the Encore Spin feature, and the chance to unite the members of the group on the reels themselves are all designed to capture the excitement of an *NSYNC performance.
Following the data
We’re growing our portfolio of IP games because we want to offer these great experiences to every type of player. There are opportunities to collaborate with all sorts of artists and brands; building games for Alice Cooper and *NSYNC shows our versatility and how we can connect with different audiences.
What really excites us when working with global IP is how it gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a new type of brand experience. We’re deep diving into the world of music and entertainment as it allows us to reach global audiences with a wide range of tastes and preferences.
Data insights are also an important part of understanding these audiences. Our business is driven by creative product innovation, and the data underpins this process, even when it comes to crafting opportunities with new IP.
We’ve always taken a long-term approach and that’s why Play’n GO is such a trusted partner in regulated markets around the world. We cater to global clients, so it is essential that our portfolio of games can match their players regardless of location or demographic, and that’s only possible when you really understand the data.
This is even more important when building games based upon third-party IP, where we must match our experience with the IP holder’s vision to create a product that appeals not only to slots players, but also to fans of the artist or brand featured. We don’t assume to understand a brand or artist’s fans better than they do, so being open-minded to feedback is really important.
There are multiple layers in this process. A close working partnership between us and the IP holder is at the centre of it. It enables us to align the details, so, for instance, a new game can launch alongside a major release or tour so we can give fans a truly 360 degree experience.
Look, casino players are savvy. They know when someone has slapped a brand on an old game to try to pass it off as something new and unique. And they’ve been very clear in telling our industry they aren’t interested in that. These games need to add genuine value to the experience of being a fan. That’s the extent of the challenge we face every time we produce a new licensed title.
Licensed content is an important pillar of Play’n GO’s strategy to expand globally into regulated markets. In recent times, the Americas – both North and South – are presenting some interesting opportunities.
The majority of the IP we’ve licensed is based upon artists with truly global followings. This is no coincidence; we want players from a diverse range of markets – from the UK, to New Jersey, to Colombia – to enjoy these titles.
LatAm is developing into a particularly interesting region for us. We’re already licensed in markets such as Colombia and in both the City and Province of Buenos Aires, and we’re keeping a close eye on others as they move towards newly-regulated frameworks, including Brazil.
Our licensed IP is performing strongly in the region, which is no surprise given its passion for music. We’re really excited to create more content for our players in LatAm over the coming months and years.
Our goal moving forward is to cater to a mainstream audience with IP titles, while also developing niche and regional games to celebrate those local audiences as well. We’ll have opportunities to do this in Latin America, North America, Europe and beyond.
This is about having global reach but a local understanding, so fans of artists like *NSYNC and KISS around the world can enjoy games that truly match the way they feel for these icons.