Andy Harris was recently made CEO of Realistic Games after four years as their commercial director. He has over two decades’ worth of experience working in senior operational roles at companies including Ladbrokes, BetVictor, and Rank.
Q: Tell us what Realistic Games is all about, what is the ethos of the company?
We deliver high-quality slots and table games to a wide range of gaming sites across Europe and beyond. Based in the UK, we have an experienced and innovative team, who are all passionate about making entertaining and immersive games. Those games are live with some of the biggest casino and bingo brands in the industry. Thanks to the knowledge we’ve built up as players ourselves, and through the use of modern technology, we think they provide some of the best gaming experiences for players on the market.
Q: Realistic’s table games have always been popular with players. Why is that and what do you make of the current state of the table games market?
I think many table games are a poor imitation of the real thing. There are still a wide-range of mediocre games that look nothing like the actual real-life experience. Many suppliers believe that as long as the cards slide across the table, or the ‘ball’ whizzes around what resembles a roulette wheel before juddering to a standstill on a number, that players will be happy. But this is far from the case.
I appreciate some online players will never have visited an actual casino, but there are no excuses for producing games that lack a high-quality front end, accurate sounds and that all-important immersive experience. We love playing games like blackjack and roulette, that’s why ours look and feel like the real thing. I’m pleased to say that a lot of players feel the same when they visit a site that offers our tables games and those from other suppliers.
Q: Why is the general quality so poor in your opinion?
I think some operators see table games as a commodity. The problem for these operators is that the experience doesn’t live up to the expectations of the player and they go elsewhere. The roulette wheel should spin smoothly, and look like a roulette wheel! A jerky wheel partnered with a badly drawn ‘ball’ hurriedly falling into a cup simply won’t cut it with players. Neither will poor quality graphics go down well with a generation of younger players so accustomed to high-quality video games.
Q: How is Realistic Games looking to improve the quality of table games then?
Historically, we have always put a lot of our efforts into the smaller details of the game, painstakingly modelling roulette ball spins and the sound on the real thing. We are also one of the few suppliers to offer multi-hand blackjack on mobile and among the first to offer side bets. All our features are developed with real players in mind who are used to the real casino. We also make sure the user interface is easy to use and consistent. So many games are awkward to play after even a short space of time because they haven’t been designed with the user in mind. They need to be smooth, slick, and engaging otherwise people won’t hang around. Moving forward, we have a number of innovative table game ideas that we’re working on.
Q: Switching to slots now. You’ve recently launched your new Symmetry slot, what does the game offer exactly?
Symmetry is all about players looking for the perfect symmetrical combination, as well as having the opportunity of hitting the jackpot prize of 500 x their starting stake. It’s a five-reel, ten-win line slot that features a tessellated tile theme and two bonus rounds in which players can win big prizes.
The innovative higher-end Symmetry bonus is awarded when all five reels contain a stack of three matching symbols and they then form a symmetrical pattern. Symmetry is also our first HTML5 only slot release, with Flash soon to become a thing of the past. It’s available across desktop, mobile and tablet devices. That means it delivers a quality experience across any device.
Q: What has been the main focus for Realistic Games in the previous 12 months?
As well as continuing to develop new games and bolstering our product portfolio, we’ve actively been trying to get our games available across a wider range of sites in Europe. We’ve sealed a number of major commercial deals, and now our slots and table games are available with Mr Green, Betsson, LeoVegas and Unibet to name a few. It’s fair to say we were something of a specialist in the UK market in the past, but we know now that our games have universal appeal among audiences further afield. To keep those audiences happy, we’ve also introduced new types of games in order to diversify our range of content.
Q: What will be your focus for the coming months?
We will continue to develop new and exciting games. There’s a lot in the pipeline and you can expect much more from us in the coming months. You can also be sure our games will be available across more and more sites, as we continue to build strong relationships with major brands in the gambling industry.
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