The narrative of Monopoly is one of a number of reasons why this brand and others of its kind continue to remain successful, according to SG Digital’s content specialist director, Rob Procter.
Coming off the launch of the company’s latest slot title, in collaboration with long-term partner Hasbro, SG Digital revealed to the industry its Monopoly-themed slot, Monopoly Utility Trails, which claimed our Slot of the Week award.
Procter managed to take time out of his busy schedule to talk SlotBeats through the development of the title, how SG ensured it offered players ‘something different’, and the impact of reactor games in the modern market.
SlotBeats: There are an abundance of Monopoly-themed games in the market. How did you approach the development of this new version to ensure it offered players something different?
Rob Procter: This was a real team effort and is testament to the way that we work now internally. I am really pleased to see our new processes come to fruition with the likes of Cluedo Cash Mystery, Rainbow Riches Race Day and now Monopoly Utility Trails.
The way in which we develop game concepts collaboratively is light and day from where we were previously – or indeed any other slot developer in the industry, to the best of my knowledge.
Our content team is widespread geographically, from the north of England to Chicago and Malta. Even outside of the pandemic situation, it is not as if we can all be physically in the same place every day. Our working processes are well-established and we have created a very strong team ethic.
Our communication channels are full, daily – not just talking about our own games, but also new concepts, or other slots that are new to the market. We meet once a week for three hours, to go over anything from a full game concept that someone has written up, to the kernel of an idea about a mechanic we could try. It may be virtual, but it is working, as evidenced by the products we are putting in front of the player.
With Monopoly Utility Trails, the development stemmed from a core idea that was built on in layers over a number of weeks, up until the point that we had laid down a very solid mechanic. The Monopoly theme, and in particular the utilities aspect, tied in perfectly with what we had created.
It is a brand we treat with high regard and we will not simply churn out Monopoly games because it has been a while since the last one, hoping for the best. They go out with purpose, for solid business reasons, to hit key markets and with responsible gambling tools incorporated.
Our customers are asking us for reactor games, to push the boundaries on math. We need to take these ideas into our big brands, of which Monopoly is certainly one.
SB: How popular are reactor games in today’s marketplace? Is there a growing audience for this genre?
RB: I believe it is the case that very few developers have landed on a hit with a reactor game, but it certainly is not for the lack of trying. You see a lot of companies attempting to perfect the recipe, knowing that there is a definite appeal in the idea. That is why suppliers are constantly seeking new innovations in an attempt to land on a really good reactor engine and a game that works within that framework.
Historically we had one in Chain Reactor Super Trails. Monopoly Utility Trails is built upon the same engine which we know players respond well to in our key markets. That provides us with a good basis. It remains a relatively untapped mechanic, but also one I definitely believe has plenty of potential.
To give another example, when we launched Dr Reactive as an early grid-style game with Mega Drop Jackpots in New Jersey, it became the top-performing Mega Drop game in that market. There is a definite hunger for this type of game, from key markets to those emerging markets that are yet to be flooded with content.
We are delighted with the way that Monopoly Utility Trails has turned out and have bigger plans for the rest of the year when it comes to reactor-style content.
SB: What is it about the Monopoly brand that keeps players wanting more?
RP: There are a number of reasons why brands like this remain successful. For me, speaking as a player, a big one is the narrative. Going into a Monopoly game, although mechanics will vary, to an extent you know what you are going to get. You will be working with property, as well as evoking nostalgic memories of playing the board game.
Nostalgia within slot games is very powerful, as we see with brands that other suppliers use that originate from a certain time period that really resonates with players. Monopoly is no different and it keeps players interested.
Monopoly is renowned worldwide and its staying power is proven by the fact that there are still new board games being produced. In slots, too, we have further plans for the brand. In the final quarter of this year we will be releasing another Monopoly game, which is more akin to Hasbro’s roadmap.
There is one upcoming Hasbro product that really piqued our interest, so watch this space on that score. Monopoly remains an evolving brand and it is really exciting to be a part of that journey.