Just a few days after ICE 2016, SBC News spoke to Gamevy Founder and Marketing Director Helen Walton to discuss the company’s success in winning the ‘Game to Watch’ competition, with online gameshow ‘The Heist‘.
Winning the competition marked an ICE double for the online game developer, who also won the inaugural PitchICE in 2015. Helen was understandably delighted with the award, and gave us more insight into the Gamevy focus and plans for a busy 2016:
SBC: Congratulations on winning Game to Watch at ICE 2016! Can you explain how much this award means to Gamevy?
HW: We were just so pleased. Winning Best Start-Up at PitchICE last year was a big deal for us and we have been working so hard since then! So gaining more recognition this year was a huge morale boost for the team and the overall progress the company has made.
We passionately believe that most gambling companies deliver very limited true innovation – the slots get more and more complex with beautiful animations and bonus games – but essentially they’re still the same game, powered by an RNG being marketed ever more heavily to the same group of customers.
Winning Game to Watch was a recognition that Gamevy’s focus – bringing an entertaining real-money game to a much broader demographic of customers by combining skill, luck and huge jackpots in a gameshow format – is an interesting and potentially revolutionary approach.
SBC: The 3-day conference at the London Excel can be a hectic time for everyone involved; aside from winning the award, can you share with us some of the best moments of your ICE week?
HW: Where to start? We opened the show! Alongside Chris Veitch of Eurocoin, who at 88 was representing the long tradition of ICE, we were there as the new guard – a sparky start-up trying to deliver game-changing innovation.
Our studs in stilettos! We are industry outsiders so the sight of dozens of scantily clad promo girls was a bit of a shock to us. In fact we thought that it made everyone look kind of the same and a bit dated. So we thought we’d do a cheeky send-up of the idea with our two boys in tight skirts and killer high heels. They rocked ICE, with over 500 photos taken of them in a single day by amused visitors and they were the talk of the show, with everyone asking who they were. We thought it made a nice point – Gamevy plays differently – just like our games.
A huge crowd – we had our games playing on a big touch TV screen at the front of our stand and there was always a huddle of people around it trying our different games. “There is nothing like this out there” said one state lottery operator to me. “This is real innovation”. Whether they were playing our interactive scratch or demanding help from passers-by to get the quiz questions right, there was no doubt that our games caused a stir.
Doing deals. We have had several major operators asking to move to commercials after seeing the games in action, as well as promising conversations with a dozen others. It feels like a real take off point for the company.
SBC: We’re not sure about the studs in stilettos, but the award winning game is certainly attracting positive attention! Can you talk us through the concept and ideas behind launching The Heist; and what do you think separated this game from the others competing for the ICE award?
HW: The insight behind The Heist is simple: gameshows are one of the biggest forms of entertainment on TV. People love to watch and to play (downloading second screen version in their millions) and yet right now, there is no gameshow you can play for serious huge jackpots. Why not? It’s crazy!
The Heist has high-fidelity design to make it feel immersive and emotionally engaging. The players must avoid alarms and answer general knowledge quiz questions correctly and they pick their path to the vault to steal the money. Once there, it’s jackpot or jail! Will you walk away with what you have or risk it all to steal more – up to the million pound prize?
The game is aimed at players who buy lottery tickets, play the odd pub machine and watch gameshows, but who probably wouldn’t describe themselves as gamblers. This is a much bigger market than the 12% of slots players the industry focuses on. I think the judges responded not just to the game itself, but also to the scope of our ambition. We’re not pretending we have the perfect solution yet – but we do know that real innovation comes from thinking outside the existing product types in real-money gaming.
The Heist has been launched and is showing real traction. Each element has been carefully thought out to ensure it works for the operator as well as the player. For example, side betting is an option for more experienced / hardcore players who want to bet on which symbol will be revealed next, while our questions have been carefully sourced to be set at the right level for the audience. So while our game is highly innovative, it also displays a maturity of understanding the existing customer and player-base.
There was a real zeitgeist that was noticeable in the award nominations – the games all had skill aspects to them or were looking for deeper player engagement and interaction. In all honesty, we believe that the skill revolution is coming to real money gaming and that because this is looking at a new genre of game and a new audience profile, there won’t be just one winner.
So in the real world market we believe that our fellow contestants will be helping us forge the market. Now it’s time for operators to step up and take a punt on building this new type of gaming… because while there will be many games that can succeed, there may well be a single operator who dominates this more engaging, interactive play.
SBC: At SBC, we’ll be watching closely to see how this progresses! So finally, what are your plans and company goals for the rest of 2016?
HW: The games are live, but naturally we want to see more partnerships with key operators who will support our games. We are still developing products as fast as we can – and we have some truly exciting innovations coming.
A big multi-player gameshow in partnership with a very famous entertainment brand? A special sports game with a VERY famous football club? Exclusive games for some of the world’s biggest gaming brands? Launching into several new markets? All of that is coming in our pipeline for 2016! It is going to be a very busy crowded year – let’s hope it’s crowned with success for Gamevy!
Helen Walton, Founder & Marketing Director