In such a competitive industry as iGaming, software developers must continually think of innovative ways to boost their games. A prime example of forward thinking and uniqueness in that sense is Neko Games.
Neko Games is an independent gaming studio working with Microgaming since 2020. Within the first year of the partnership, the ground-breaking studio launched a handful of mesmerizing casino games.
Its specialty being video bingo, the famous gambling game is interlinked with all of its titles. Pachinko slot is by far the most played game by Neko in Microgaming online casinos.
To bring the company closer to you, our readers, today, Casinos Online is talking to Neko Games’s Sebastian Perrier. Enjoy our exclusive interview below!
- Hello, and welcome to CasinosOnline.com, the one-stop shop for all things online gambling. Could you start by introducing yourself to our readers, please?
Hello! My name is Sebastián Perrier and I have over 10 years of experience in iGaming in Latam. My work experience was mainly based within Operators – more of a B2C experience. I worked as Regional Director for companies such Jackpotjoy, BetConstruct, Betmotion, Trillonario.com. I also worked as a consultant for PaddyPower, Scientific Games Interactive, WilliamHill, bPlay, among others. Finally, I hold a first-class honours MBA from the University College Dublin (UCD) Ireland, where I lived several years of my life.
- Neko Games is now a well-established gaming studio. Could you tell us what Neko Games intends on adding to global online gaming that hasn’t been invented yet?
Neko Games is different in that it specialises in creating video bingo games, not slots. We transform a simple bingo mechanic into a thrilling, rewarding and fun adventure that people can trust. Our games will also appeal to current bingo players who are finding the current slot offering too overwhelming and complicated.
- Your games are all based on video bingo. What inspired you to concentrate on this specific game mechanic?
We believe that there is a huge number of potential customers who still do not fully understand how online gambling works but would like to play. We therefore focus on video bingo games because their mechanics are easy to understand and new players will enjoy a simpler experience. For example, the basic winning patterns are the same as in traditional bingo: complete one line, two lines or a full bingo ticket to win a prize. New players are better off starting with games they already know and understand such as classic lottery, keno or bingo games. Therefore, our games reduce churn among first time players.
- LatAm is one of the leading gaming markets in the world. Tell us about the position of Neko Games in the area? Are there any plans for geographical expansion?
Well, I would not say that Latam is a leading gaming market yet; I would like to say it is an emerging market that could eventually become a relevant region for iGaming. But it is not yet as relevant as it should be. Neko Games is based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, but we are not just focusing on this region. Our games are distributed globally and have been well accepted by players in many different markets.
- Let’s talk about specific titles. Our players have particularly loved Pachinko, an ideal amalgamation of slots and bingo. Also, we must say that it ended up on our Top Asian Casino Games list. Could you tell us more about the development process of Pachinko?
Our Pachinko video bingo, is a lovely game and players start their journey at the gates of the legendary Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo. The story tells that at feudal times, one while a rich lord was waiting for a storm to pass away a cat inside the temple was beckoning at him. So the lord approached it, and at that same moment a lightning struck the tree that had given him shelter. As a result of saving his life, the rich lord honored the Maneki-neko (beckoning cat in Japanese) and financed the temple, making it wealthy and prosperous.
That’s why Maneki Neko cats are global symbols of good luck and fortune, and one of the iconic elements of the Pachinko game (and our logo), waving its paw on the roof and inviting it to play. In addition, prize animations are related to the forest scene, including traditional symbols of Japanese culture and representing real locations of the Gotokuji temple.
The game is available in Desktop and Mobile versions (including an exclusive portrait view for the first time in a video bingo) and combines traditional with new exciting video bingo features.
- Neko Games worked hard on developing Super Showball. Has this game lived up to your expectations?
Absolutely! Super Showball was our first release and exceeded our expectations far and beyond; both operators and our distribution partners have requested us to increase our output capacity. We have since doubled our team and we expect to triple our game delivery by 2022. Super Showball became the number 1 video bingo within Quickfire, top 3 games in Mexico, Brazil and Spain and within the top 50 globally including slots.
- You divide your video bingos into categories – Recreational, Intermediate, and Experienced. The latter is the one that sparked our interest. What makes video bingo games advanced? How does Neko achieve this complexity? What does that mean for the players?
Video bingo games have two stages: first, the initial draw where 20 balls are drawn from the 90 bingo balls container. The second stage is the extra ball, where players can purchase additional balls to match the winning patterns of the bingo tickets and get higher prizes. Depending on the prices of the extra balls is how we would categorize a game. When the price of the extra balls is low, we give more chances for the players to win and offer high hit frequencies, so we would consider the game as Recreational. On the other hand, if the price of the extra ball is higher (also allowing for higher prices) then the game would be aimed at more experienced players. For example, Pachinko is a game thought more for recreational players, but Fu88 aims at more experienced players.
- Please tell us about your roadmap for the rest of the year? What else can our players look forward to when it comes to Neko Games?
All our games so far are unique in their maths. This is worth mentioning as each of them already offers – apart from a distinctive theme – a completely different gaming experience and features. Next year, we are adding to the mix “branded content”, where players can relate to classic themes they already know and that will give them more information about what they’ll get once entering the games.
- Are you a player? What kinds of games do you prefer, and can you mention a couple of favourites of yours?
My favourite category is of course video bingo, not because I like playing them only, but more importantly because of what this game category can achieve. There is a huge number of potential customers who still do not fully understand how online gambling works. This ‘blue ocean’ of players does not yet consider online gambling as an entertainment proposal. Therefore, we believe that there was an opportunity to improve the bingo themed category. Bingo mechanics are easy to understand! For example, the basic winning patterns are the same as in traditional bingo: complete one line, two lines or a full bingo ticket to win a prize. Everybody anywhere in the world would know how to play Bingo. When new players in immature online markets are faced with sophisticated and feature-overloaded slot games, they are usually intimidated. Video bingo games are a great game to overcome this barrier.
- Lastly, is there anything else that you would like to tell our readers that we haven’t asked you?
Apart from creating great games, the Neko Games team can cook great barbeques, as we are based in Argentina. So, whenever you plan a trip to Latam, feel free to reach out to us. We'll prove how good our teammates are at BBQs and you can also enjoy our great wines too!