As one of the most exciting new markets in the industry, Latin America has been the talk of the year. With the regulated online gambling LatAm market set to quadruple in size, it’s no surprise that it’s topping the list of most lucrative opportunities. From operators releasing localised games to suppliers getting to grips with the complex compliance requirements, the industry has already started to find its feet in the region.
“Adapting our games and marketing strategies to the cultural aspects of the Latin American player base is one of the biggest challenges we have encountered.”
However, this expansion hasn’t come without its challenges. The Latin American market comes with its own unique set of headwinds for both operators and suppliers. From varying regulations country-to-country and even state-to-state to differing player behaviours in Brazil compared to Argentina, there’s a vast amount to understand before companies see the fruits of their labour.
Identifying the LatAm obstacles early on
SlotsMaker saw these potential bumps in the road ahead of time, identifying key areas that required a thorough strategy for success like developing unique game mechanics. Collaborating with its long-standing business partner and game provider Live22, the company wanted to learn more about local players in each country and what exactly they wanted from a game to help drive player acquisition and game profitability.
Chong explains: “We carried out a great deal of market research with Live22; this made it easier for us to design game elements and themes that appeal to local players.
“One feature that came out of this was our PVP Bonus Battle feature. The feature gives players a chance to compete against one another in thrilling bonus rounds, giving our games a more competitive feel. Players’ reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, showing higher engagement and retention rates.”
Developing the PVP Bonus Battle feature
Establishing a new feature for bonus rounds that can revolutionise the way players play is no mean feat, especially considering that standard bonus rounds are already popular. That’s why SlotsMaker wanted to make it a collaborative effort with Live22.
“Our lead game designer team had a lot of discussions with Live22 to create a feature that is simple for Latin American players to engage with and allows them to double their rewards when they win,” says Chong.
“We went back and forth with ideas, including whether we should limit the feature to single-player versus single-player or group PVP battles. Ultimately, we narrowed it down to one idea: real-time player-versus-player battles.
“To simplify the game rules and to minimise language barriers, the winner takes all the money.”
How does PVP Bonus Battle work?
The PVP Bonus Battle feature by Live22 and SlotsMaker helps bring bonus rounds to life, engaging players in tournament-style gameplay. With players matching with opponents from around the world and battling it out against each other in real time, the rush of the winner-takes-all competition turns traditional bonus games on their head.
During a game like Apes Squad, launching the PVP Bonus Battle feature is easy – players simply need to click on the PVP icon displayed on the left-hand side of the screen. Once opened, they need to select their bet size then click “find a match”. The feature will work in the background to match a player with an opponent and, once one has been found, both players will “start the battle”. During the battle, scores update in real time at the top of the screen to add to the thrill of the round.
Currently, the PVP feature is available in two games – Apes Squad and Crypto Coins – with plans to extend the feature into additional titles in Live22’s portfolio.
Strategising for the LatAm market
For any supplier looking to expand into a new market, understanding the cultural nuances and player preferences is paramount to its success. For example, in a mature market like Europe companies have had to establish what each country’s players’ likes and dislikes are. In England, online blackjack is a firm favourite; in Spain it’s online slots. Having access to this data on player preferences is what helps game developers such as SlotsMaker build and release features like PVP Bonus Battle that players actually engaged with.
“When it comes to our games, we plan to develop more games that incorporate both player preferences with Latin American folklore to create authentic and immersive experiences,” Chong explains. “We work closely with Live22, which has the expertise and deep understanding of the region, helping us fine-tune our strategies and offerings.”
Localised marketing strategies
“We adapt our marketing by focusing on localised games that tap into cultural events and holidays.”
Understanding player preferences is just one tick on the checklist; building a marketing plan for features like PVP Bonus Battle that attracts the target demographic is another. Chong believes that strategising around cultural events and holidays in the LatAm region could help give new game launches the boost they need.
“We are launching the PVP Bonus Battle in December of this year in one of our newest slot game partnerships, Santa’s Payday. Because Santa’s Payday is created especially for gamers who celebrate Christmas, it’s the perfect game to get into the festive spirit.”
Early success for SlotsMaker and Live22
“We are dedicated to consistently enhancing the feature to live up to the expectations of our gamers, and we respect their feedback.”
By customising its approach to the LatAm market, SlotsMaker has already seen great success with its partnership with Live22. For Chong, this showcases that having a foolproof localised strategy can help to deliver the exact games that the audience wants.
“A lot of gamers say how much they enjoy the PVP Bonus Battle function and find it hugely rewarding and interesting. But they have also suggested several changes which is really beneficial for us looking to develop the feature.
“We are currently developing a new user interface (UI) and adding emojis to allow players to communicate while playing PVP.”
With this continuous development work happening in the background, SlotsMaker is keeping a careful eye on player engagement and retention rates to gauge the feature’s effectiveness. By doubling down on the data, Chong believes that these metrics will help the team to make more informed, data-driven decisions for future developments.