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Casino dashboard: December 2023

| By Kevin Dale
There’s something for both the Grinch and Super Mario fans this month, as Kevin Dale from Egamingmonitor looks at the pre-Christmas charts and the role of game music in casino gaming.

Yay, Christmas has come early! Or maybe not so yay, depending on your outlook: “Them trees are up weeks earlier than t’old days and that muzak has been on loop since Halloween etc.”

It’s easy to blame the Americans with their early turkey gobbling and, although that event hasn’t reached European shores yet, their Black Friday export is here to stay. It has been pushed by Amazon and Walmart for a decade and now heralds the start of Christmas festivities. But then again, we didn’t need that much encouragement, even in egaming.

Although some despair at how the festive season arrives sooner each year, it’s commercial pressure that’s driving it. For example, twice as many Christmas slots were launched this October compared to last year. It seems that we’re all keen to squeeze another week of spins out of a casino game or to grab a larger share of the Christmas purse.

While those Santa slots launching in October and November managed to hook a few Black Friday shoppers, no Christmas slot quite made it into our top 20 in November – probably because most operators don’t roll out their Christmas collections until December. Well, not this year at least.

Top 20 games by distribution

The November lull then means the charts are dull, with limited movement in game positions and no new releases breaking through. Good reason then to turn to something cheerfully musical that popped up in the news this week….

To great fanfare, Play’n GO announced its plans to publish the music from their game titles and to remix them with known artists. Check out on Spotify (another Swedish export) the mesmerising soundtrack to Pilgrim of the Dead, or the 80’s electropop of their Gargantoonz release.

As with movie soundtracks, the publishing of game music has long been a “thing” in the video or social gaming sector and crossover projects between the music, gaming (and film) sectors are widespread. Soundtracks to the likes of Minecraft, Super Mario and Halo have massive streaming figures. Meanwhile, an avatar of collaboration pro Eminem took to the stage “live”, within the game Fortnite recently, with virtual players lowering their weapons to join in an air guitar play along, while wearing their Eminem “skins” of course.

While Play’n GO’s music foray isn’t at the level of Minecraft or Fortnite, it is still ambitious. The music revenue may turn out to be marginal, but the project speaks to the quality of a studio’s output. It is designed to create a following for their blockbuster games or game families. Even if it doesn’t amortise game production costs, the promotion of music from classic titles, such as the “Of Dead” family, promotes longevity, if not immortality.

The role that music plays in the dark arts of game design is scarcely researched, yet we all sort of understand that to achieve an immersive, memorable and re-playable experience, audio tracks and sound effects are significant. If Koji Kondo’s iconic tracks can be reworked, then why not those of our top-performing casino games?

On the deals front, EveryMatrix continues to command a comfortable lead as the busiest aggregator, adding Popok Gaming this month.

Biggest aggregator dealmakers

Meanwhile, Bulgarian start-up Pateplay now tops our leaderboard of studio dealmakers, having teamed up with the likes of BetConstruct and Digitain in recent months.

Biggest studio dealmakers

* Please note these are live charts that update every month so please ensure the month of November 2023 is selected in the drop-downs to match the analysis.

**The interactive games chart at the top excludes live games and table games. Game rankings are determined by the number of game appearances on the casino homepages of more than 2,500 casino sites. To access many other charts including game rankings, live and table games, positions on subpages or to filter game performance by game theme, game feature, market or operator, please get in touch with our partner, egamingmonitor.com. Egamingmonitor covers 56,000 games, 1,600 suppliers and 3,000+ operators. 

***Data on deals by month was collected from April 2020 onwards and the rolling chart reflects current dealmaking performance, i.e. how many deals were signed over the last six months. Note that only deals either a) on company websites or b) in the gaming press or c) reported to us by studios and aggregators, are collated. Deals between studios & aggregators (and aggregators & operators) from all time are available via Egamingmonitor.com.

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