As seen on CasinoBeats:
Part one – Halloween: slot design doesn’t necessarily trump quality
Part two – Halloween: holiday specific slot ‘easiest’ for operators to market
Joey Hurtado, Managing Director at Wizard Games
The Halloween period brings with it some preconceived ideas of what a slot should aesthetically look like, from having horror elements or pumpkins as a focus, how do you deliver this whilst still being innovative?
Horror is a broad genre with anything from traditional witches to more current themes such as zombies, phycological horror, serial killers etc. This gives plenty of scope to work with and a lot of room for creativity. I would say that it gets developers to think outside the box to evolve the theme and ensure it has innovative elements to ensure players are offered an entertaining, yet spooky, experience. We have seen some fantastic titles being released for Halloween over the last few years as studios explore this genre more.
How do you ensure the longevity of a title throughout the year, when it is focused on a specific holiday?
This depends a lot on the theme you choose. Pumpkins etc are a lot tougher to promote throughout the year as they are intrinsically linked to Halloween, however, there a number of horror themes that are very transferrable and maintain their relevance throughout the year as there is a big audience that enjoy scary films for example. It’s partly for this reason that we went with a Voodoo theme for this year’s title, Madame Voodoo, as we feel it is a great game to play all year long.
What are some of the opportunities that arise from creating a slot with a focus on a specific holiday period?
Primarily, a slot focused on a specific holiday is the easiest for an operator to market. It calls directly to the period and fits well in any promotions or activity the operators may be doing. It can also be brought back every year almost fresh whereas a game that has been played all year round may have less appeal.
Some markets such as North America celebrate Halloween with more enthusiasm than other regions, does this affect your decision on whether or not to develop a Halloween title?
Not specifically with Halloween but generally, if a growing or key market has an event or holiday that has bigger popularity, then it is normal for studios to create games that will appeal there. I expect we will see much more targeting of seasonal events and holidays from studios over the coming years.
With numerous other holidays throughout the year, such as Easter and Christmas how does creating a Halloween-focused title differ from these?
Christmas and Easter are quite rigid in their messaging and imagery etc. Whilst you can deviate slightly, the scope for creativity is limited. Halloween is far less structured and over the years has matured into a much wider range of themes. In some ways, Christmas and Easter make the task/brief a little easier as your central theme is more defined, however it is very hard to create games around these holidays that will have year round appeal.