It’s certainly been a busy week for Yggdrasil Gaming, with the hustle and bustle of a certain conference in London complimenting a series of significant developments regarding its Yggdrasil Game Server Masters programme.
Securing its fourth and fifth independent studios to sign on to YGS, in AvatarUX and 4ThePlayer, these deals sandwiched CEO Fredrik Elmqvist stressing that the studio partnership initiative is expected to undergo a period of significant growth throughout 2019.
CasinoBeats spoke to Stuart McCarthy, head of studio partnerships at Yggdrasil, who spoke about certain benefits to the programme: “We don’t have to pretend like we have got the monopoly on ideas, that our way is necessarily always going to be the right way,” he stressed.
“Guys like Northern Lights for example have got fantastic credibility in the UK, they have a massive heritage in the UK and they really understand how to deliver UK games, which is not something we’ve traditionally done.
“We find that if there’s a cultural fit there then everything really works nicely”
“And in the same way some of our Asian partners are delivering stuff that we wouldn’t even dream of doing.”
Adding: “We’re getting additional flavours in terms of what we deliver at Yggdrasil. It compliments what we do, and I think that’s where we are going to score some major major wins.
“Because our operators have that appetite, and somebody who wants to be getting game content with a particular German flavour or Nordic flavour, maybe thinks we don’t actually do that, but because we have got master on-board, we can go and find those partners, and bring them on-board in order to deliver exactly what they are looking for.”
Lauding the mutual respect in the formation of partnerships falling under YGS, an element of surprise was issued not on the success being felt but of interest enjoyed outside of Yggdrasil’s core target group.
“It’s not a million miles away from what Netflix are doing”
Upon the establishment of the programme, McCarthy elaborated on if any difficulty had been felt in seeking partners with which to align: “We find that if there’s a cultural fit there then everything really works nicely, we haven’t had anything that doesn’t have a cultural fit yet, but no doubt that day will come at some point when we look at someone and go ‘well, we really like what you do but we don’t feel that we are aligned to work together’.
“Whereas you’ve got guys like Northern Lights for example, we’ve got an instant rapport with those guys, they have nothing but great things to say about our game development, and they’ve been a breath of fresh air to work with and develop games in this way.
“And that seems to be the way with everyone else we have partnered with, everyone has got engaged and is building games and is going ‘wow, this is refreshing’.”
“We’re driving forward, we’re pushing on with flexibility, we’re opening the doors to lots of possibilities”
Such partnerships and collaborations were emphasised as being crucial in the evolution of Yggdrasil, with McCarthy looking at other industries as an example of the potential expansion of the gaming industry as a whole: “If you look at what we’re doing it’s not a million miles away from what Netflix are doing, from what Amazon are doing.
“Netflix are investing in building or making films with production companies … and this is how we see the gaming industry expanding”.
Amongst the instant uplift currently being felt by YGS, with similar such examples existing within both Microgaming and QTech Games, McCarthy offered a brief insight into what the future could hold of YGS: “I think what we will probably increasingly see happen is we will get requests through from operators for particular types of content, or a particular flavour of content, and if we’ve got trusted partners we can say ‘listen, there’s a massive opportunity here and you guys are absolutely perfectly placed to deliver on this, why don’t you guys do it’.
“Maybe Yggdrasil stops making games at some point”
“It’s flexibility, and that’s kind of the whole point of the partnerships we are bringing in here. We’ve expanded out of just the straight masters, we’ve build the server they built the client side of things, but now it’s expanding into a publishing side of the business, where we start to look at more IP related deals, for example where we will take on the heavy lifting of building a game based on someone else’s IP or based around a game that has maybe existed in land-based.
“So that’s what we’re driving forward, we’re pushing on with flexibility, we’re opening the doors to lots of possibilities.”
Amongst all this talk, however, are we witnessing the changing face of Yggdrasil, from developers to occupying a role more associated with that of curators: “We have this conversation regularly, we see how masters goes, maybe Yggdrasil stops making games at some point, and is only about distribution. We don’t see it in the near future, but it’s certainly something that could happen”.