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chrisJournalist at CasinoRange.comPublished DateNovember 22, 2022 | Last UpdatedNovember 23, 2022
CasinoRange Sits Down With: Light & Wonder

It is with great pleasure the CasinoRange team can share this exclusive interview with Light & Wonder’s Creative Director! This giant of online slots may be more familiar to some by its pre-rebrand name – Scientific Games. Light & Wonder has both quantity and quality when it comes to online slots, with hundreds built in-house and thousands distributed courtesy of other studio partnerships.

  • Light & Wonder has developed a reputation for delivering top-class branded slots, with games based on Cluedo, Monopoly, and Stargate all performing strongly in various markets. Why do you think these games resonate so well with players?

I believe branded content resonates so well with players as the brands that we select evoke strong memories from the past. Over the last few years, Light & Wonder has worked alongside Hasbro to create a range of slots based on iconic brands such as Monopoly, Cluedo, and Subbuteo. Having a host of big-name brands on board is great for us as they resonate strongly with players, which in turn brings a lot of in-built trust to the slots we develop.

Working with Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros and MGM has shown us that players will naturally gravitate towards a product should they have a strong affinity to the original IP. On the other side of this equation, we must be extremely careful to ensure we’re staying true to the spirit of much-loved brands.

Having worked in the industry for over 30 years, I’ve seen examples of branded slots that are lazy and unimaginative. Studios have been guilty of taking still images from films and television shows and just placing them on the reels and calling it a day. This is something we’ve always been strongly against and will never do, as we are wholly committed to doing brands justice.

  • How difficult is it from a studio perspective to develop a branded game when there’s another party involved in the creative process? Is there a lot of back-and-forth before the final product is released?

There is certainly more back-and-forth than there would be if we were releasing a non-branded slot, but luckily for Light & Wonder, we have Ross Campbell, our talented Senior Brand and Asset Manager, who works closely with our legal team to support the process. This makes the process so much smoother.

We are very much at the mercy of the brand holder in being told exactly which assets we can and cannot use when creating a new product, so our brief must be really clear, and our development team has to make sure it does not step outside of those boundaries.

Naturally there can be hurdles, but often it’s straightforward as we are open and up-front from the word go. We provide license holders with storyboards and visuals from early on in the creative process, and this way, they feel like they are fully on board with everything. If that is not the case, the partnership is just not going to work.

  • How do you go about agreeing on which IP to pursue when developing a branded slot? Is it a matter of right place right time when talking to brand license holders, or do you have a strong idea of who you want to work with well in advance?

I think it’s a combination of both to a certain extent. Light & Wonder has cultivated strong relationships with Warner Bros, Hasbro and MGM, so we are blessed with major brands that we will continue to work with in the future. As a global company offering games in jurisdictions around the world, it’s hugely important that we work with global brands that are equally as recognizable in these markets.

Another huge factor in planning our digital content has been looking at what our colleagues in the land-based sector are planning. We are now working more closely than ever before, and this has allowed us to look at potential brands from a joint standpoint in order to formulate a stronger approach. Having a presence both in casinos and online can only strengthen our overall game offering.

  • Do you think branded slots will flourish in today’s market, particularly in places such as the US, where players are less knowledgeable about major slot franchises, therefore finding comfort in products they recognize?

In short, yes. From a US perspective, that is exactly the case as we see it. If you go into any casino in the States, you will see a lot of branded content, so it makes total sense that you will start seeing US-facing brands increase in number and prominence online too, as that market gets larger.

It’s worth noting that for suppliers to be successful, they must get the brand right for a game to flourish, and it’s not as straightforward a process as some might think. The stronger the brand, the higher price the studio must pay. This cost is then passed onto the operator should they pick up the game.

It’s a fine balancing act, but as long as the supplier is true to the brand and doesn’t cut corners during the development process, then they can flourish in today’s market.

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