LCB Highlights Online Games Developer Habanero

May 31st, 2017
Back LCB Highlights Online Games Developer Habanero

We bring you another LCB interview. Join us as we highlight Habanero, a smaller provider in the online gambling space with big success in the Asian market. At the moment, the focus is on a mobile first approach and games certification in Europe. The May 2017 launch of the Panda Panda slot with stacked wilds and bonus features may have piqued your curiosity, so to learn more about the company, we spoke with Toni Karapetrov, Head of Corporate Communications at Habanero. With 8 years of iGaming experience behind him, he dabbles in everything from marketing to spotting new client opportunities. Enjoy the read.

Q: We’d like to start by getting a summary of your products, services and what makes Habanero distinctive.

A: Habanero focuses on the development of slots and table games for operators and aggregators in the online casino industry.
The company was purchased by a group of European investors in 2012 and now boasts a host of skilled designers, developers, and mathematicians in offices around the world. Our comprehensive gaming portfolio features over 70 video slots titles, 11 table games, and 50 video poker titles, which are integrated into over 50 operators and aggregators and available in 21 languages, including thirteen European and eight Asian ones.
We are an agile content developer capable of releasing new games on a regular basis. Our track record over the last 18 months is evidence of that. We’ve released 22 new slot games over that period. We also engage very closely with each new client, seeking to understand their processes at a very detailed technological level. As a result, rather than being bogged down by lengthy integration pipelines, we have a growing reputation for being able to rapidly implement working solutions. This is hugely beneficial to operators looking to differentiate themselves and offer a unique experience for their customers.
Today, relative to April 2016, or 12 months ago, the Gross Gaming Revenue enjoyed by our clients has more than quadrupled. Our growth is fuelled on two fronts: signing up new clients and our games being enjoyed more and more by existing players. As a result, Habanero continues to experience phenomenal organic growth. Players have tried our games, liked them, and kept on playing them.

Q: Do you have specific markets in mind when developing slots? Where do Habanero games seem to be most successful?

A: We have been hugely successful in the Asian market over the last couple of years. However, we’re in the process of getting all of our titles certified for European markets, so it won’t be long before they are widely available there too. Our games have very rich graphics, interesting maths, and high-quality sounds, which we are very confident will go down well with European audiences. We know players are always looking for entertaining new games and we will keep providing those on a regular basis. Many of our game themes are very different, and I think people trying them for the first time are pleasantly surprised.

Q: We hear you guys made your first appearance at ICE this year and were in attendance at the EiG Berlin in October. You’ve been building your portfolio of games for a while so what determined that it was time to put the spotlight on them in such a major way?

A: This year was actually our second appearance at ICE following a strong debut at the exhibition in 2016. We made another big splash at the show earlier this year and are now in negotiations with a number of operators and aggregators following some very fruitful conversations. I won’t name names at this stage, but I would expect Habanero to feature with a lot more brands in the next 12 months. Exhibiting at industry shows such as ICE and EIG has definitely helped us develop a good reputation for producing good quality content consistently, and our presence has more than paid off. Show are always great for catching up with existing customers and meeting potential new ones, as well as seeing what else is going on in the industry. But the main thing that matters is that players keep enjoying our games!

Q: What qualities do your games have which players don’t find with other providers?

A: Our attractive bonus features have been well received by our players – it’s what makes slots and slot players tick as for them that is the endgame.
Obviously, players appreciate that they’re not going to hit them every single time, as they wouldn’t be bonus games if you did. We’ve always believed that ‘travelling is as important as arriving’ by which I mean that the base games have to be very entertaining too. It is these that players see the most of, so they have to be compelling and fun.
We also vary maths models so that bonus features are easier to hit on some games. The sense of anticipation is what makes our slots so enticing.

Q: Are your games licensed?

A: We are in the process of making sure all our games are certified to use in four jurisdictions in Europe, after teaming up with iTech Labs last year. While our table games are already certified for use, we are currently certifying eight slot games at a time, with a general turn-around-time from iTech Labs of 60 days per batch. By the end of June 2017, we anticipate we will have a total of 26 slots certified in our library, the majority of these being our new platform releases developed since December 2015. We will continue certifying slots during 2017 until our entire library has been through the process.

Q: Talk a bit about the user interface for the slots. What do you think is most useful for players?

A: We aim to provide our players with most immersive experience available, which is why we make sure the graphics for our games are as good as they can be. Millennials in Europe and Asia are so accustomed to high-quality video gaming technology and demand good quality sound effects and musical features from us.
We’re also proud to offer some of the shortest load times in the industry, something which is often overlooked despite being a major bugbear for customers playing other people’s games. The average size of our last six game releases is only 7.5Mbytes, which is very compact when you take into account the high-quality of graphics delivered.
Not only does this save on data costs, but it avoids wasting time and potential frustrations for players looking for a quick source of entertainment.

Q: There is a strong emphasis placed on mobile gaming. Are there any features that make your HTML5 games stand out in the mobile market?

A: The whole industry is heading towards a mobile-first strategy and we’re no different. The last year has seen us develop our entire back catalog into HTML5 to allow for seamless integration across all mobile devices. As a matter of fact, as of March this year, we no longer offer anything in Flash.
As well as being fun to play, we also want our games to be easy to play, which is why we place as much focus on the user interface as we do for the general user experience. We’re particularly proud of the fact that the 90-degree rotation from landscape to portrait works perfectly every time for any game, even on the smallest mobile devices.

Q: Are there any new projects or game releases in the pipeline?

A: We are constantly working hard to develop our offering and the coming months will see us release a number of new titles. We released Bird of Thunder in April, which features stunning graphics that have been very well-received so far. We also have a new game being released in May which features everyone’s favorite bear and which will be showcased at G2E, where we will be exhibiting. There’s then an action adventure one coming up in July, which we’re confident about too.
What’s great for our customers and players is that they don’t have to wait too long for a new game to be released. As well as producing quality titles, we’ve developed the ability to produce them very regularly, which is a great sign of our reliability as a company.

“We’re also proud to offer some of the shortest load times in the industry.”

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