“You cannot get a lot of innovation when there’s rigidness in the sector,” begins Fredrik Elmqvist, Yggdrasil’s animated CEO in a keynote address on the opening day of SBC Summit Barcelona.
The “visionary leader,” as he was so affectionately introduced to get the session kick started, delved down numerous avenues, with disruption, game engagement mechanics, Swedish history lessons, and entrepreneurial insights all key facets of the half hour session.
With disruption pinpointed as being a crucial aspect of moving sectors and industries forward, Elmqvist elaborates to suggest that breaking down age-old rigid barriers was crucial in paving the way for igaming to progress and innovate as it continues to.
For Yggdrasil, this has resulted in the Ygg Masters programme continuing to flourish, something Elqvist touches upon with pride: “When we noticed that a lot of fragment, studios and creativity were popping up left, right and centre, we thought this market is going to be flooded with content so what do we do with that?
“Either we keep on doing what they did in the gold rush and we keep on digging for our own gold, which would be building your own games, or we start selling the shovels, because those were the ones making the most of the money, i.e. becoming an enabler and opening up a publishing arm.
“And we did both, so we are doing our own studio development, and also we are opening up for third parties and doing some really cool things to also disrupt the aggregation model by developing a really cool piece of technology called GATI, so all studios … have access to 600 brands [and] 25 regulated markets.”
As Yggdrasil moves from strength to strength, Andrew McCarron, SBC’s MD and Elmqvist’s host for the afternoon, switches the focus to look at what advice would be offered to the next rising stars in the space.
“…it’s not like the market needs a lot more content”
“I would say this, since we’ve seen a lot of studios and there’s a lot of competition now, I see a lot of studios, and I see a lot of studios popping up because they have the capacity to build something,” Elmqvist explains.
“Let that not be the driver for why you enter into the casino market, it’s much more of a, excuse my language, hit and shit market now. So, if you don’t know how to make hits, and the games won’t actually perform, I’d advise you to use that studio capacity for something else because it is very very competitive.
“If you want to enter into it, and you have the capacity and all of that, do some proper R&D before.”
Adding: “There’s a lot of content out there already, either through platforms like us or others, so it’s not like the market needs a lot more content. The need is something for a greater user experience.
“So, take your time, do R&D, a bit like you do in the product development world. You don’t see factories starting on a whim, they don’t start a production line before they do the proper R&D so they know that the investment that goes in will actually return investment.”
Following warnings being issued on copying content and/or ideas, it is added that without proper R&D newer entrants will just drown because “it is tough out there now I’ll tell you that, it is tough out there”.
“If you are now getting a bit successful, you get some revenue up and running, think of it from a potential acquisition point of view. You might want to sell the company down the line,” the guidance continues.
“And I see a lot of not only studios but gaming companies that cut corners, especially from a compliance point of view, which means that the passion you put into the company, product and teams, might not be exitable because you cut a few corners in the early days.
“I know several companies that have had great products and so forth, but due to certain things, how they operated makes the assets more or less toxic.
“So don’t cut corners early, because, as my grandmother used to say, shit floats, and it will surface at one time or another.”