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New markets for Crash Games

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A two-part series ahead of ICE London, 2024 we speak to pioneering studios that are behind crash games to analyze the growth potential for 2024.

The last few years, Crash Games have largely been under-reported.

The vertical is already hailed as the casino industry’s most promising growth opportunity.

Part two of our article last week continues with a conversation we had in which SPRIBE (the industry’s pioneering crash game) was interviewed, along with BetGames Aviatrix, and 1X2 Network, to discuss new markets, regulations, and engaging sports enthusiasts.

North America approaches

SPRIBE’s recent announcement of UFC sponsorship in North America has definitely planted the flag for North America.

With more than 300,000,000 fans, the world’s most popular mixed martial art (MMA) event is a globally recognized sports brand.

UFC’s supporter demographics makes it a particularly appealing proposition for advertisers and partners. The UFC has the most youthful fanbase of any sport, with a mean age of just 40.1, and the largest concentrations of millennials. The data shows that 43% of Aviator fans are in the 18-34 age group, which is ideal for this crash game.

The deal, announced in October 2023 by SPRIBE with UFC, will give the game developer opportunities to brand during UFC Fight Nights and pay-per view events. The agreement includes some placements in the Octagon, live broadcasts and a Brand Ambassador Fund that will be used to involve UFC athletes with various campaigns.

Giorgi Tsutskiridze, SPRIBE CCO says: “Branding is a key factor to the success of Aviator and the recent agreement with UFC shows just how important the sport has become.”

Is this a sign that they are about to make a big splash in North America? This is part of the plans we have for North America, and especially in the US. We believe Aviator can be a game sensation there.

Alex Ratcliffe, 1×2 Network’s Alex Ratcliffe, sees North America as having a promising future

The deal offers a great opportunity for us to increase our presence in this region and leverage the UFC’s popularity. It’s our largest partnership yet, and we will do all we can to maximize its potential.

1X2 Network is one of UK’s biggest studios. It also views North America as a big market.

Maverick is its debut game and it will be released in the US. It’s one of the first games on the market to receive regulatory approval.

Alex Ratcliffe is 1X2 Network’s Chief Product Officer. Our US launch in Michigan is part of a strategic move that aligns with the broader strategy for market penetration.

We’ve done market research, and we found that many key players in Michigan are not able to access quality crash games.

Crash games have a social component

All three studios are focusing on the community aspect as a way to crack America. In 2024, it will be important to harness the social aspects of gaming.

Ratcliffe says, “This trend toward community-oriented games is on the rise and Maverick has a perfect position to satisfy this demand.”

Our appeal is in our ability to offer a community and interactive platform. This attracts players who like the social elements of crash games. This makes it a great choice for those players who are looking for an inclusive gaming experience.

Tsutskiridze agrees. Aviator allows players to share the thrill of Aviator. Aviator is a social gaming game unlike any other slot machine.

“This trend towards community-oriented gaming is growing, and Maverick is perfectly positioned to meet this demand.” – 1X2’s alex ratcliffe

Aviatrix is no different. Anastasia Rimskaya is the chief account officer and she highlights that multiplayer has proven to be a major differentiator.

She says, “Another great feature of this game is the ability to see the custom-made aircrafts that other players have created flying behind you in the background. This creates a social element.”

We also hold regular tournaments on the network, with large prize pools and a lot of players. The most recent one-million euro tournament was our latest. We find that these are a great way to build a base of loyal players, as well as encourage them to come back to the game.

Converting Sports Bettors to Crash Games

Second, the number of fans who are willing to be converted is a major factor in the overall success.

Koeberl’s BetGames will make it a priority.

We see that there is a huge overlap between our current portfolio of crash games and the sports markets. The mechanics are similar to those of a bet slip, which is why it appeals to sports bettors.

It’s a perfect match for us, given that we are positioned as the gateway between gaming and sports. As many of our niche products are relatively new, we can stamp our mark on them. Skyward is a great acquisition tool because we see that our players are playing the same games. We can put launchers, and thumbnails of games into categories like casino, slots and instant games. It also allows us to drive new players toward BetGames in an operator’s lobby.

crash games are proving to be a key acquisition tool for sports fans

Aviatrix is also planning to make this a major part of its plan, especially when sports enthusiasts, crypto-enthusiasts, and those seeking a different form of entertainment will all flock together.

Crash games provide an easy way to get started for people who want to check out online casinos but don’t have time or energy to learn complicated rules. “It is an opportunity for more people enjoy the excitement of the game,” Rimskaya says.

SPRIBE sponsored the UFC for many years. Tsutskiridze explains, “to maximize the partnership, Aviator’s brand was seamlessly integrated with the UFC. This created a synergy which resonates both with gaming enthusiasts and UFC fans.”

Tsutskiridze believes that reaching out to this audience is crucial for the continued success of Aviator. This is especially true since it hasn’t been a brand new release. SPRIBE is not the only one to gain from this partnership. Tsutskiridze believes it benefits both parties.

Tsutskiridze says, “As world leaders in their respective fields this is more than a promotion tactic. It’s an authentic move to connect with the global community by leveraging UFC and its dynamic power.”

Extended engagement at low cost

RTP is perhaps the most intriguing element in crash games.

The RTP for Aviator is 97%. This is higher than most slots. How is it that this high RTP has been able to drive revenue for the operators?

Tsutskiridze explains. The higher the RTP is, the greater the amount of money that players will win. This might seem counterintuitive to operators. However, it is true that the higher the RTP, the greater the amount of money players can win.

It is something he sees as differentiating.

Aviator’s volume of bets is unparalleled, thanks to its unique offering and to our marketing tools.

For many operators, this game is actually the most profitable of the entire lobby.

Aviatrix also does bonusing.

aviatrix is placing major emphasis on bonusing

Rimskaya says that the recently introduced free bet is a major game changer for operators. It allows them to offer free flights as a reward. They have full control over the bonusing system, which makes it a very attractive tool to retain players.

BetGames has also focused on bonuses as a key feature of the product. This is proving to have been a great success for the studio.

Koeberl highlights a gap they see in the current market: “The bonus engine is one of the most important differentiators, which the market lacks.” Players who are willing to take risks and continue playing will receive bonuses.

The problem of abuse of bonuses is a real one. Due to the speed of the games and the fact that players bet on odds of 1.1x, 1.01x, or 1.2x, they are able to convert their bonus into cash. At low odds, players can convert their bonus into cash.

Koeberl says that bonuses are based upon the players’ gameplay and not just random cash. We look at player behavior and reward players who, for instance, do not withdraw before 2x or 3x their bets and don’t abuse bonuses.

Regulation and its role

We also have to take into consideration regulation as the industry is relatively new. Koeberl, from BetGames, believes that it is a factor to be considered.

We certainly do see some challenges on certain markets. Early signals in Africa suggest that some regulators are already challenging the concept.

As we speak we are still in the process of certification in different jurisdictions so we have yet to see any major obstacles.

In fact, because it is a relatively new industry, regulation has not yet caught up. It’s a RNG, isn’t it? He says, “We hope that there will be no specific problems with this genre.”

It’s likely that this will be the biggest question in terms of their definition. The slot machines, for instance, are the ones that seem to attract most attention from regulators.

This is certainly true of stake limits. Crash Games are regulated friendly because they have low stakes, extended play time and extended game times.

BetGames’ Koeberl sees regulation following an instant game framework, rather than that of slots

Koeberl agrees. I think that regulatory issues need to be viewed from a wider perspective, given the incredible growth and success of instant games.

Koeberl says that “Slots have seen a rise in player protection campaigns along with the increase in volume in the past year. I believe crash games are part of the broader picture for instant games, rather than just crash games.”

Ratcliffe, from 1X2, agrees that this vertical still needs to be defined in many ways.

The regulatory environment for Maverick games is complicated, since this game type is relatively new in the igaming industry.

Different regulatory bodies have different views about how crash games should be classified and regulated.

This presents challenges as well as opportunities for our planning and developing process. It is important to carefully consider the regulatory details, but it allows for innovation within different regulations.

This will be the most important factor for how Crash Games take off in 2020. It is clear that the popularity of crash games exists.

Gen Z will love the social and multiplayer elements, while sports enthusiasts can enjoy it with low entry barriers.

The holy grail of all operators is to provide the best product possible that will convince sports bettors for the very first time to try casino.

It is possible to achieve this goal in 2014 if the regulations are met.

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