Stephen Fisk, Microgaming’s new CEO, has stated that after the sale of Quickfire Microgaming will only focus on its platform business. It was the original reason it was so popular.
Microgaming, from the outside, has seen a lot of change over the last few years. In 2020, Microgaming poker network (later MPN), closed its doors. Games Global bought Quickfire, a platform for aggregating games and an extensive catalogue of titles two years later.
Microgaming has centered its PR strategy on slots and casinos for the last decade, so Quickfire’s sale is a big change. Stephen Fisk, chief executive of Microgaming, says that it is not so much about a shift in direction as a focus on the things that made the company thrive.
Fisk, named CEO in May explains, “You must remember Microgaming began as a platform provider offering a variety of services that went beyond games and content provision.” We’ve had poker and bingo networks, as well as other products and services along the way. But we’ve retained our identity around our platform product.
Quickfire served more than 900 different brands. Microgaming, as a supplier of platform technology to Games Global, supports these brands. However, Microgaming has narrowed its focus to a few core partners including Super Group’s Betway sports and casino operator.
This eases Fisk’s transition into the top position. In his role as chief operating officer (which he assumed in 2018), Fisk focused on platform development.
He adds, “There is always a certain amount of learning.” “And the learning never stops.” “I continue to learn something new every day as CEO.
“Leading and having the buck stop with me will be a new challenge, and I’m sure that there will be more to learn.”
Microgaming’s talent factory
Fisk is Microgaming’s latest executive to rise through the C-suite and take the top position. Microgaming experienced a period where it was undergoing a lot of change after Roger Raatgever’s 17-year tenure as CEO.
John Coleman, Andrew Clucas, and now Fisk are the three people who have been in charge of the department for five years. These appointments have a consistent pattern.
Coleman served as chief financial officer prior to his promotion. Clucas was previously chief operating officer. Fisk, who replaced Clucas in his role as COO and is now CEO, continues a series of internal promotions.
Fisk may be an exception, as Coleman and Clucas served more than ten years before they were promoted. He is still nearing a decade in the business.
He has over 20 years of experience in the gaming industry. He was previously at PokerStars operator Rational Group and was responsible for expanding sports betting in 2013 when the operation was still largely poker-centric.
He recalls, “In a poker business that was still very traditional, like PokerStars at the time, everyone was happy to move into sports betting.” It was a huge change in the way I did things every day. It taught me about leadership and management in terms of how you can bring people with you.
“Change is a process that requires focus, dedication, and drive.” The better the business will do if you can get everyone to work together with the same goal and focus.
He says that communication is the key to gaining buy-in within a team.
Microgaming: Back to the Future
Does that mean he can lead Microgaming to a brave, new world without slots or poker?
Quickfire has a new owner, but Games Global is still a close partner of Microgaming. He notes that “We still provide the technology to allow Games Global to distribute its games all over the world.”
The focus remains on tracking the market for products, services and content. The latest solutions are still needed to focus on providing bespoke service to a small number of partners.
Fisk continues, “We’re going back to Microgaming’s core identity as an online platform provider.” We must not forget that the casino is a large part of both our revenue and customer base. It’s extremely important to us.”
What role does sport play in Microgaming’s Future?
Sports betting is set to grow in importance. Betway is powered by Microgaming around the globe, so it is a tried and tested solution that may be underrated. Its small, but perfect clientele will propel it forward.
Fisk does not see the supplier competing with B2B giants in sports. He says, “I believe that’s our key to success.” “We offer bespoke solutions and products to our partners.
“We will give them the products they require, which we think will serve their customers well, and grow our businesses at the same time. This is a real partnership. It’s an open and honest discussion about what is needed.
He argues that Microgaming will be differentiated by its bespoke approach in the future. Selecting a clientele allows the company to move quickly in response to new opportunities.
New Markets: Sizing them up
He says that he is keeping an eye on a wide range of markets all over the world. “There are some [markets] that we’d like to regulate, both the established ones and those on the rise.
“The work done in Ontario over the past few years is a good sign for both us and the industry.”
He continues to say that Microgaming is a proponent of regulated and safe operating environments. They are particularly focused on safer gambling. Focusing on bespoke solutions allows Microgaming to incorporate regulatory compliance requirements as well as develop additional safeguards. Microgaming can provide the technology and advice to customers who want to create their own tools.
The support extends to industry-wide initiatives such as GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline, peer-to-peer groups therapy trials and local programmes in the Isle of Man. It’s not just about the products, but also the culture of the staff.
It’s something that we strive to instill within the organization, and responsible gaming awareness has been baked into our entire business. If we do this, we think we can provide better services and products to our customers.
Leveraging igaming heritage brands
This focus on improvement will be especially important as Microgaming tries to reposition itself in the market. Fisk says that the narrower focus represents less of a change of direction, and more of a return back to its roots. However, this still requires a bit of a reset.
The name has a great deal of brand equity. Microgaming was the company that powered the first ever online casino in 1994. This was six years before Fisk entered the industry.
Fisk emphasizes that the quality of their products and level of service have helped them endure for over 29 years.
“We must continue to build on our heritage of delivering to customers and leverage these relationships to the fullest extent possible. We also need to communicate that we are still industry leaders.
We’re still going strong after almost 30 years. “It’s a legendary place to be.”