GamCrowd interviewed Matt Richardson of specialist instant win game developer Inchinn about creativity and game development. The company was launched with a simple idea – that truly engaging games content was severely lacking, and that the key to unlocking new markets and new players was to look at softening the edges of gambling. The company is founded on creativity and original thinking – and its task is to persuade operators to move away from their heavy reliance on “just slots”. He also believes that smaller companies are destined to always innovate more quickly than larger organisations. “The smaller company has to keep growing and also doesn’t have the same bureaucratic issues and this makes it easier to innovate,” he says. “I also think larger companies recognize this and bring in smaller companies when they want to innovate and this reinforces this small versus big company gap.”
GamCrowd: What is the background of the people behind Inchinn?
Matt Richardson: We have a mix of design and software skills but what links us all is that we are very creative. We have been designing Instant Win Games for 5 years and we are always trying to find a different way to present the games to give the customer a better experience. We have been Camelot’s no 1 game producer for some time now and we believe that a constant focus on new innovation is what makes us stand out.
GamCrowd: What are the challenges in online gaming in bringing innovation?
Matt Richardson: For us it is convincing people that there is other gaming content other than just slots. Most of the platforms are highly focused around slots and for several years we have had to work hard to convince them that there is a place for high quality instant win games. Things are starting to improve though. ‘Instants’ started off as online scratch cards which offered a mechanism, which was simply a digital version of a retail scratch card, i.e. scratch and reveal. The internet allows for much more than that and we are building games which although the outcome is predetermined, the games can last several minutes with bonus rounds and even skill elements being played by the customer before they find out if they have won.
GamCrowd: Do you think smaller start-ups studies such as yourselves have a better chance of originating new and exciting games? Why are bigger organisations less innovative?
Matt Richardson: I do think smaller companies drive innovation, once you have established revenues and customer base you end up protecting your market share and often have grown to a size where policies and procedures are needed to manage the business. This often limits innovation. The smaller company has to keep growing and also doesn’t have the same bureaucratic issues and this makes it easier to innovate. I also think larger companies recognize this and bring in smaller companies when they want to innovate and this reinforces this small versus big company gap.
GamCrowd: What areas of the gaming sector do you think are ripe for further innovation?
Matt Richardson: I am sure there are plenty of areas that we don’t touch, but so much of the online lottery space is ripe for innovation we don’t need to look anywhere else. We are putting our games into some US state lotteries, these guys have only just started to go online and as such their product is really an Internet version of a traditional retail product. This is often the way with the first phase of innovation on the Internet but soon a second or third phase emerges where designers make products that can only work on the Internet and really take advantage of its strengths. We believe that the state lotteries in the US and elsewhere in the world are only just going online and because they are licensed monopolies they tend to be conservative. So there is plenty of room for innovation giving better products to state lotteries but also online companies such as www.lottoland.co.uk and the www.footballpools.com emerging to compete with the big state lotteries.
GamCrowd: What technology advantages do newer businesses have when it comes to building more innovative games?
Matt Richardson: That’s simple – newer companies have used newer technologies, they don’t have to manage older legacy technologies. In 2000 a start-up needed millions of pounds to build a system, now we have open source, really good technology frameworks that are easy to develop against, amazon cloud services, social networks you can leverage and dozens of really cool cloud based solutions to do everything from monitor software to manage code repositories. You can build a business for much less than 15 years ago and with much better tech. If you built from scratch in this environment then you will have an advantage over a company that has a 5 or even 15-year-old tech stack.
GamCrowd: What are your tips for start-ups in the gaming area?
Matt Richardson: It’s a marathon not a sprint so staying in the game is my number one tip. It takes time to build a sustainable business – we are big fans of the Lean Start Up and keep our cash burn low whilst getting products in front of customers at the earliest opportunity. Not everything works for us, but if you stay in the game you will eventually find what works and monetize it.