In 1988, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, better known as the KLF, published a book titled The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way), a step-by-step guide to topping the singles chart without necessarily having any money or talent. The duo then followed their own advice and reached number one three years later, with 3am Eternal.
We can’t promise to offer as failsafe a recipe to creating the next number-one casino game, but we can share our philosophy, and our thoughts about what you need to succeed in an increasingly crowded market.
Blue Guru Games is a startup, but we’ve all worked in casino in various roles, and we have experience working at tier-one operators and providers, which means we have a 360-degree view of the games market.
As with any creative project – whether its games design or creating nineties avant-garde dance tunes – it helps if individual members share similar passions and ideas. Our shared passions include storytelling, eastern philosophy and music, and we pour those things into our games.
For any new games developer, the vast array of content held by mega providers in back catalogues can seem daunting, especially when these huge providers occupy vast percentages of casino share and market space.
Meanwhile, the barriers to entering the casino games space have dropped significantly in recent years, leading to a wealth of new providers, all trying to make a splash in the market, and the competition is fierce.
Is the market saturated? Perhaps.
Is it saturated with good games? Nope.
The crowded market has shifted the economics so that a place in the ‘New Games’ section of homepages becomes the goal and the key revenue driver, almost regardless of quality. We now find some games are aimed more at capturing that promotional opportunity than building brand loyalty and repeat plays.
Meanwhile, we’re seeing the same tired old themes: leprechauns with their pots of gold, pirates burying their doubloons, and so on. And it can’t be knocked, you have to give players what they want but there’s room for experimentation too.
At Blue Guru Games, we focus on storytelling through mythology, history, spirituality, and esoterica. The office is like a mix between a debating chamber and a literary festival. Our most recent game, Octopus Armada, for example, was inspired by a scientific study that cited Octopuses as evidence of panspermia, the theory of the seeding of life on Earth from outer space.
We were pretty sure a game featuring an invasion of blue-blooded space-faring superbeings with eight arms, nine brains and three hearts had not been done.
Music is tremendously important to us too, and we feel audio is an area where developers fail to push the boundaries. We work with ReelTrax, a company that makes music for movies and video games. This helps us stand out by ensuring our games feature powerful, authentic and engaging sound that helps to further immerse players in the stories and narratives.
There’s currently a trend towards mechanics in casino games. Everyone wants to find a new ‘Megaways.’ If you can do that, great. We have big ambitions to do that too. But, at least to begin with, you don’t necessarily need complex mechanics and new mathematical models to stand out. You just need strong ideas, powerful stories, and killer sounds.
Draw all these elements together, pour your heart and soul into it, and you could have a hit.
Bill Drummond and the KLF became the biggest selling Singles act in the world in 1992 so it was a solid formula, they then decided to cancel their entire back catalogue and burn their profits – we’re not planning to follow them in that.
We do have a little homage to them in a forthcoming game though so keep an eye out.