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Shaping slots: All the market trends from Q3

| By Nick Brown
As we analyse the final summer months with Q3 of this year, Kevin Dale of eGaming Monitor takes a look at how Starbust has finally been knocked off its perch, the rise of low/medium volatility slots and why Megaways and Egyptian themes are now on the decline.

Unique Games

Unique games are certainly the big theme in Q3 as, for the second quarter in a row, we have seen the number of unique games found across operator sites increase by a huge 11%.

We’ve seen 25 new studios come onto the market, as well as existing studios ramping up their output too. For existing studios, this has likely been due to increased competition – which inevitably sees them looking to keep pace with new entrants. Of course, we’re also seeing that operators tend towards not retiring their older titles.

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Game launches by quarter

So, what does that mean in numbers? In total, we’re now seeing over 1,000 new games launched on average every month. That means 3,000 per quarter added to our database from 365 studios.

Output rates per studio are also up, with “producing studios” creating 2.7 games per month on average, which is a climb from 2.3 per month in the previous quarter.

Extrapolated into the first nine months of this year, we’ve seen 515 studios launch games. Meanwhile, we found games from 705 separate studios across operator sites. Of course, this larger number also reflects studios that are no longer active in game production, but still show their old titles still on the market.

If we then consider all studios which are active, then we can then say that the average studio launches around three games every two months (or 1.5 per month). If we then compare that to the smaller number of 370 for producing studios, then we arrive back at our figure of 2.8 games per month.

Leading studios

Looking at the biggest players – Pragmatic Play, Evolution Gaming and Playtech – we can start to get an idea of the scale we’re dealing with. Pragmatic Play, on average, is now turning out at least one game per day.

If we were to exclude live casino however, then Evolution would be removed from the list. This would then make Games Global, Pragmatic Play and Gauselmann Group the top three producers.

Taking a look at the data, we can also see that MGA and EGT broke into the top producers list, edging out Novomatic and Light and Wonder.

Slots on the decline across operator pages

While slots make up the majority of the content across the 3,000 operator sites that we monitor, we’re now seeing a continued decline in the percentage total to be found on sites.

In total, they now account for 85.5% of all games content across casino pages, which is down 1% from last quarter and nearly 3% from a year ago.

Live games are the highest climbers and crash games are proving the ones to watch, having doubled their share content since the beginning of the year.

Another six crash games were launched in Q3, with Fly X from Games Global taking the third spot after Aviator and Spaceman. Make sure to take a look at our May dashboard on igamingbusiness.com.

All hail Pragmatic Play

After nearly a decade as King, NetEnt’s Starbust has finally lost its crown at the top. Surprisingly, the legendary game has been replaced by five games above it – all from Pragmatic Play. In our below chart, we consider all subpages across operator sites across the three-month period – while also including all live game content.

Pragmatic Play now accounts for more than half of all our top 20 games. Gates of Olympus, Sweet Bonanza and Big Bass Bonanza were the top three biggest spinners over the last quarter.

Even more striking, is the dominance of Pragmatic Play in the Top 20 new games chart. The only other studios to make it into the new chart this quarter were Play’n Go, Gameburger Studios and Hacksaw Gaming.

Other than Pragmatic Play, the various Games Global and Evolution Gaming studios, Hacksaw Gaming and Play’n Go are likely to be the main contenders for iGB’s Game of the Year award, which will be announced at the iGB Affiliate Awards next February.

Low/medium volatility games on the rise

The ratio between medium and high volatility games remained fairly stable last quarter, while the only real gain was for new games that were classed as low/medium volatility – which is up by 6.6% compared to the last quarter.

Interestingly, while the overall picture is similar, there is a slight difference between the volatility of games produced – versus the volatility of games distributed. This data also varies considerably by country.

Megaways and Egyptian themes on the decline

Last but not least, the Megaways share of all content has decreased significantly from the last quarter, down by 4.2% in total. While there are more games using licensed third-party brands than in the previous quarter (623 vs 594), they have not managed to match the sheer speed of output of all games.

This means that in total, branded games’ share of all content has declined quarter-on-quarter from 2.1% to 1.8%. By performance, MGA joins Light & Wonder and Gauselmann in the top three suppliers of branded content.

The top themes, in Q3 are Action & Adventure and Money, which also increased in popularity. Other growing themes include Far East, Cute on Latin, while on the wane were Tales & Legends, Egyptian and Jewels. Somewhat predictably, games with a winter theme also declined during the final summer months.

About eGaming Monitor

eGaming Monitor (egamingmonitor.com) is an advisory firm to the gambling industry, with proprietary data covering 25,000 games from 1,000 suppliers across 1,000 operator sites. Their interactive charts power decisions on sales targeting, account management and game design. The company was founded by Kevin Dale and Joel Keeble.

Kevin was previously CEO of Gameaccount (now GAN plc) and CMO at Eurobet, Sportingbet and Betfair. Joel was a founder of industry data specialists H2 Mobile and ex-director at H2 Gambling Capital.

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