G.Games is a successful i-gaming game development studio with exciting and unusual company culture. We are speaking to Helen Walton who is a founder and Chief Commercial Officer at G. Games. The games delivered by the studio have a serious focus on innovation, with exciting future plans coming up later on in 2021.
Please introduce yourself, as well as G. Games, for those who do not know.
I'm Helen, founder and CCO of G. Games. We apply unique and engaging games to casinos and also state lotteries around the world.
Today, we are almost 100 people - what! How did we get so grown up?? - and we are investing heavily in new forms of gaming in particular - ssshhhh! - multiplayer slots 😉
How has the pandemic affected your internal operations as well as commercial operations?
We've always been a remote company since we launched, so actually the pandemic hasn't changed much about how we work. In fact, we were pretty lucky to already have everything in place on how to work. Commercially we are online-only, and so we've benefited from the faster shift to online.
How many games have you released so far, and what game categories do you focus on?
We have 200 games! Admittedly, it does depend a bit on how you count them because we do a lot of bespoke games for state lotteries which ups the game count significantly. But today, we bring out two new slots titles a month. These aren't just skins, but rather new games with a mix of much-loved features and brand-new innovative mechanics. We are getting back to the ideals we started out with to see how we can make multiplayer and meaningful interaction part of the real-money experience.
Which titles in G. Games's catalog have been your biggest hits so far, and why do you think they got to that level?
Sometimes it's all about having the humility to recognise it's not all about you 😉 Our most played games are often the simplest, but also the ones on which we've really polished the fine details.
Cheeky Fruits Deluxe is just a simple fruit game! But we also spent ages on the music, tweaked the artwork several times, and played with the maths to get what we felt was just the right hit rate to volatility mix.
Your games are very interactive, some with shots of real hosts. How proud are you of the quality of games your company produces? And how do you manage to receive that feedback from players?
We know our games look good, we do the majority of our work in-house and we have huge pride in the work we put out. In all honesty, sometimes I'm trying to wrestle work out of the hands of our designers who think they're painting the Sistine Chapel 😉
The trick in all development is knowing when your attention to detail is the extra 10% that proves passion, and when you're just gilding the lily. Anyone who tells you they have the perfect answer to that is selling snake oil!
A lot of developers only fixate on slots. What makes you love real money slot games but also scratch cards, skill games, and lotteries so much?
Only a small proportion of the adult population plays real money slots. Those who love slots, love them… but what about that other huge demographic who don't play slots?? Those people still like to win money, they still like games, so what's the idea or innovation that will reach them?
Every single person you know will have played solitaire at some point, but only a tiny section will have played blackjack… how do we find the right real money solitaire game to appeal to them?
What markets do you find the most suitable for your game selection?
We are a UK company and so we launched in the UK first. Our games have high appeal in the Nordics as well, but we've also discovered a particular range of games that really work in Germany.
What is the tech stack, on both frontend and backend, at G. Games?
Can you describe the process that goes into building a game at G. Games from proposing an idea to closing deals with partners?
Anyone can propose an idea in our Idea Factory and then work to create a business case. Two of our most successful game ideas came from developers, for example. But we insist on trying to quantify what we believe the appeal to be as part of our prioritisation process to attract resources to work on the concept. We look for early feedback on and not just internally, but also from customers.
Of course, that often means that ideas evolve as differing people interact with them. Yet, having a single product owner stops us from "designing by committee". We can definitely improve on the process though, and we're learning all the time!
On a human resources level, G. Games believes in a flat structure with no managers. How does this work on a day-to-day basis?
All ideas are prioritised through a transparent process. People work on what's most valuable to the company and collaborate in order to do so. We have coordination tools to help us keep a rich communication between us and we are dedicated to full transparency of information to help people make good quality decisions. That's it really! We argue a lot because we want dissent, not false consensus, and we take it in turns to lead projects we're passionate about.
How do you go about selecting the right candidates for your engineering roles, beyond the raw programming skills?
We insist on doing pair programming sessions as part of the interview process and try to ensure that people share a common set of standards and philosophy around code quality since that helps people work together. We're an eclectic bunch and we have a lot of strong personalities in the team, so I'm not sure I could say there's any particular technical quality.
But in general, what separates run of the mill from stardom in any employee is what we call "acting like an owner". Someone who takes responsibility, who weighs up difficult trade-offs, and who is always conscious of how much more we can achieve as a team than as individuals.
What is your prediction about the future of RNG games for the next decades, with new technologies popping up like AR, VR, and 5G speeds?
Anyone who can bring the social power of community and the video gamer passion of competition into real money gaming will have a winning combination…. What will that look like? Will it be us? Perhaps crystal balls are best kept inside our games!
Get us excited about the future!
MULTIPLAYER SLOTS. We cannot wait to tell you more…. Let's chat again at the end of the year!!