Commercial & Marketing Director
Henry McLean is the Commercial & Marketing Director at 4ThePlayer.com, an up-and-coming mobile-first gambling games creator founded in July 2018.
Please introduce your brand, its advantages, and tell us something about the team behind the brand.
4ThePlayer.com is a games studio with a difference. We think about the player first and what they really want from games. This runs through every decision we make from the best graphics to the exciting math to the innovative enhancements to gameplay.
One innovation so far is our Big Reel Portrait Mode™ that allows slots to use up to 60% of the portrait mobile screen rather than the tiny 20% most currently do.
We are also big believers in transparency and education, helping players make an informed decision about games. We have developed an infographic for our slot splash screens that tells the player more about what to expect from the math of the game, making it clear what type of game it really is. We have also created a ‘quick fact box’ that sits at the top of the help file to make it easier to find key information.
The founding team behind 4ThePlayer are not new to gaming. We have a combined gaming industry experience of over 50 years, ranging from founding small studios like Ash Gaming to running content and marketing at one of the world’s largest, Playtech.
Finally, we are all players ourselves. This alone gives us a great insight as we know what we find very frustrating in games and also what is essential.
As far as we know Yeti was a great success for you. Tell us more about the upcoming 1000X BUSTA.
Yes, 9kYeti has been a great success. We are really pleased, as has our second slot 1 Left Alive.
1000X BUSTA is very different as it taps into the same genre as our other game 100 Bit Dice. Games inspired by Crypto gaming – you probably know them as Dice games and Crash Games as they are hugely popular in the Crypto space. Looking at the blockchain we can see 25 Million Euros is wagered on one site alone on a Dice game!
1000X BUSTA is our own ‘crash’ game but on RNG and with real money or fiat as you know it. It has everything you would expect from a ‘crash’ game including the previous game’s data, advanced autoplay with strategies and a Cash Out feature. The game plays perfectly on desktop and mobile – we know this is a frustration for a lot of Crypto players as their favourite Crash game doesn’t work well on mobile – well it does now!
We are excited to release it as our Dice game, 100 Bit Dice, has done well and this game taps into the same type of player or as we call them the ‘Crypto aware player’. It gives them a pretty cool opportunity, to play their favourite Crypto game but for real money in a regulated, licensed casino. The games also have appeal to players that just like a simple and straightforward bet.
You are currently building a great online community. Wat is their input into the game development and what are your plans/targets?
As we mentioned earlier, we are all about players, so any feedback we can get from them the better. After all it is players who play the games!
Our community is growing nicely, and we are getting some great engagement – feel free to follow us on Twitter or Facebook or sign up directly on our website if you would like to give feedback on games.
What are your biggest challenges in this current world situation? Do you see it more challenging or full of opportunities for your business?
We are fortunate as 4ThePlayer has always been a remote company, we do not have any offices and have been remote from day 1. So, when other companies had upheaval to work from home, for us it was business as usual. Working remotely allows us to have a global workforce and have the best talent from the best places!
The current climate is always going to have an impact; now is the time for casinos to be even more responsible than ever. As a lot of players incomes have been affected by the situation. We would rather players focus on what matters right now and that is family and health.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself, your background, and how you entered the iGaming world?
I started in the industry over 14 years ago working at a digital agency during my sandwich year at university, this is when you spend a year in the industry you are studying.
The digital development agency I was working at created educational games and online slot machines, believe it or not! They split in two and I decided to go with the gaming arm as always enjoyed slots – the rest is history. The industry has changed so much in these 14 years.
Going a little bit backwards. Tell us about your achievements in 2019, about your winning partnerships, and how 2020 started for you.
2019 was an amazing year for us as we released our first-ever games as well as doing platform deals with some of the biggest names in the gaming industry: Relax, Yggdrasil and Scientific Gaming.
2020 so far is going just as well as our games have gone live at some of the largest online casinos like 888 and Poker Stars.
In terms of winning partnerships, we spend a lot of time considering who we want to work with and why. It’s not a matter of jumping into any deals we are offered, making sure it’s a right fit for us and them. I am pleased to say so far this strategy has worked very well and every partnership we have is winning.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see potential in the emerging markets?
I hate to say it as it sounds so cliché, but we really are global, due to our amazing distribution we are in all the key regulated markets, outside of the USA. A few weeks ago, we even went live on the Finnish national Casino Veikkaus.
Emerging markets are always interesting, and we work in any market that is legal and cost-effective. I say cost-effective as we do a lot of translations as we want the player to play the game, where possible, in their native language.
Tell us something more about the integration process and how you manage it.
The integration process for us is pretty straightforward although we do have three different platforms, each with slightly different ways of working. However, to put it simply as long as the casino is integrated into the platform the game is on, they can take the game without any development work.
There is, of course, a commercial conversation and pitch for the game but that aside we do not have any messy integrations, one thing that has really helped us. For example, 9k Yeti is now live at over 400 casinos!
What do you think about using blockchain and crypto components into the game building and its potential for the market?
We are big fans of the Crypto space, as you might have guessed from our Crypto inspired games. I do think Crypto payment methods have a place in gaming as it makes it much more accessible for players. However, it does come challenges especially in tightly regulated markets like the UK.
In terms of games on the blockchain we have very worked closely with very innovative start-ups in this area, we are constantly reviewing opportunities and bouncing around ideas internally.
What is your best performing game so far? And your best performing market
Our best performing game is 9k Yeti, but a close second is 100 Bit Dice. The best market is a hard question as we have such a wide distribution.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale, bring further innovation or grow your business?
Yes, we are about to close our investment round – with private individuals as we want to control our destiny without any bias or sway from corporate investors
Are you planning to attend some of the biggest conferences when the situation is back to normal, hopefully till fall? Which one you target, if so.
Trade shows are an interesting one, they are brilliant in the sense that everyone is around to meet. However, they are not always the most productive in terms of meetings as everyone is so busy! It is a bit like speed dating for business.
If we had to choose two shows ICE and SIGMA are the two for us and we will probably attend G2E as well this year to keep an eye on the USA market.
That said, we do not currently have any plans to exhibit at any as we would rather spend the money on other forms of marketing that communicate directly players.
Do you have some predictions for 2020? What will be the BIG thing?
One thing that will change for sure is production values as Mobile 5G is rolled out file size is less of an issue. So, I expect more video and media-rich productions.
I also think more games studios will look at things from a player point of view like better RTP’s and telling players more about volatility – something we already do.
And last but not least: Give us some tease for the near future, unique for BestBitcoinCasino.com [new partnership, new stakeholders, new partner Bitcoin casinos, sth else?]
We have lots of exciting things in the pipeline! For me the most exciting now is 1000X BUSTA as it’s such a simple and fast game to play – also I have dabbled with Crypto versions over the last year so making our own version was great fun! Making sure it stayed true to the original Crypto format but had 4ThePlayer production values and polish.
After then our next slot, 6 Wild Sharks, has a mechanism that allows players to interact with a slot like never before, choosing how they want to play and how volatile they want the experience.
Soon I will be able to share more with you when the games come out of heavy development.
Thanks for interviewing me today. It was really good speaking to you and telling you a bit more about 4ThePlayer and what to expect from our upcoming games.