Taking players to another world: exclusive Q&A with Toni Karapetrov of games giant, Habanero

We speak with Toni Karapetrov, Head of Corporate Communications at Habanero, where his responsibilities include marketing strategies and identifying new client opportunities. He has eight years’ experience in the online casino market, having worked in a variety of VIP and customer retention roles.

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Q. Tell us about a little about Habanero and what you offer players

Habanero is an online developer that specialises in offering players high-quality online slots and table games, particularly for mobile devices. We’ve developed 75 video slots titles, nine table games, and 50 video poker titles, which are integrated into more than 45 operators and game aggregators around the world. We’re continuing to enhance our portfolio with monthly additions. A number of our games released in 2017 have Asian themes, such as our latest releases Koi Gate, Fire Rooster, and Panda Panda, which have proved to be very popular in the region. But we have a very diverse range of titles and there is something for everyone in our portfolio, wherever they are in the world.

Q. Habanero’s slots have predominantly been Asia-focused, but you’re in the process of making the switch into Europe. What was the thinking behind this?

We’ve enjoyed good results in Asia over the last couple of years and have established a real fan base in the region. Unsurprisingly, most of our Asian-themed games have done very well indeed. But generally-speaking our full suite of games has universal appeal and can be played in any market. While the ability to deliver rich graphics, interesting maths and high quality sounds is undoubtedly a non-negotiable to even compete in the content supplier industry, we feel we are now well ahead of that curve, and we know for certain that our games will succeed anywhere. We’re currently in the process of having all our games certified for European jurisdictions and have done deals with content aggregators who focus on the region.

Q. You’ve released quite a few games in recent months, tell us a bit more about them and what’s new

We’ve just released Panda Panda, which sees the bears perform somersaults when they are paired up together. It’s set against the backdrop of a waterfall and beautiful cherry trees, and features an innovative way of paying left to right or right to left based on the outcome of the spin. Bird of Thunder was launched last month and features a mythical eagle that possesses magical powers. All our games are developed in HTML5, providing the best experience possible on mobile devices. We release new games nearly every month, which means players never have to wait too long for the next instalment from us.

“We’ve never been afraid of tinkering with a game until we get it right. We’ll even scrap or place games on the back-burner if we begin to realise they’re not going to meet the required standard.”

Q. How are you able to release new games on a monthly basis?

As we are an independent studio, we can move quickly and are not bogged down by things like business protocols or lengthy integration pipelines. This is not only great for the operators but for their players too, who get to enjoy new and exciting releases on a regular basis. But while we’re quick to develop games, we naturally ensure our content is of the highest quality and we don’t cut any corners or copy our old titles. We’ve never been afraid of tinkering with a game until we get it right. We’ll even scrap or place games on the back-burner of the development pipeline if we begin to realise they’re not going to meet the required standard.

Q. What’s the thought process behind developing your slots, are there any specific rules you follow when designing your games?

We believe that simplicity is the key to designing a successful game. People’s lives are becoming increasingly busy, and so when it is time to relax they want entertainment that is easy to consume and doesn’t require a great deal of thought. They want to zone out, and get lost in another world. Of course, the more complex, show-stopper games are going to draw in the crowds, but from our experience it’s the simpler games that often bring about longevity.

Q. What makes Habanero’s games unique and stand out from the rest of the crowd?

As well as being fun, our games are easy to play as we attach lots of importance on the user interface and the user experience. We’re particularly proud of that fact that the rotation from landscape to portrait works perfectly, even on the smallest mobile devices, which not all gaming providers can offer. Also, the load times of our games are shorter than other content providers in the marketplace. The average size of our last six game releases is only 7.5Mbytes, which is very compact when you take into account the high-quality of graphics and sound that we code into such an optimised space. Not only does this save on data costs, but it avoids wasting time and potential frustrations for players looking for a quick source of entertainment.

Q. What are Habanero’s plans for the rest of the year?

Our expansion into Europe will continue to be a big part of our strategy moving forward. We’ve developed a good reputation for producing good quality content consistently and that is what players want from their online casino. You can be sure to see our games go live on a number of new sites in the coming months. Also, there are lots of new games in the pipeline for the second half of the year, so expect to see a lot more from us.

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