Peter Causley is managing director of multi-channel slots designer Lightning Box Games, which he co-founded with David Little in 2004. The studio provides games content for online, land-based and social operators. Prior to Lightning Box, he spent a decade at Aristocract where, as jackpot products marketing manager, he helped design a host of iconic games.
For those unfamiliar with Lightning Box Games, tell us a bit about the company and what you offer
Lightning Box Games was formed in partnership with IGT back in 2004, with the aim of creating video slot content exclusively for the company in the North American market. After four years – some good, some bad – we moved on to spread our wings and supply content to other clients and markets. We secured our first online gaming deal with Chartwell in 2009 and haven’t looked back. We now supply to a number of very popular online casinos, such as Mr Green Casino, LeoVegas Casino, Betsson and the Kindred Group. Producing proper multi-channel content is what we’re about at Lightning Box.
How do you look to modify your land-based games to suit the online environment?
We’ve seen there is a big demand for land-based style slots in the online space, in particular Australian-style slots. A lot of the suppliers develop online-only slots that have a certain style, which isn’t a problem at all, but our expertise means we are able to offer players something different. We can offer a style that land-based casino players who are moving to online can appreciate, but also something that people who’ve never set foot in an actual casino will enjoy too. It’s important to have a mixture of games that have a broad appeal. The online games are 90% the same as the land-based ones, but it’s knowing what 10% to tweak which is the key virtue.
You recently struck an exclusive deal with UK bookmaker William Hill, how did that deal come about?
We had been talking with William Hill for a number of years about doing some omni-channel work for them, and we’re thrilled to have now made our UK retail debut with them. In fact, we’re doing more and more in the UK. We produced a tailored version of our popular online game Silver Lion, which is now available to play across Hills’ 2,300-plus network of Licenced Betting Offices (LBOs).
“A lot of suppliers develop online-only slots that have a certain style… but our expertise means that we are able to offer players something different.”
How does the retail Silver Lion Deluxe differ from the online version?
The Deluxe edition now includes a new Bonus Respin feature, which has been designed with help from our friends at BetDigital, to cater for the difference in player taste in the UK land-based environment. It’s a 4×5 reel, 10-line slot which takes players on safari across the sweeping plains of the African Savannah in search of the mythical Silver Lion. Along the way, they encounter zebras, hippos, meerkats, and spear-rattling tribesmen, with an appearance of the Silver Lion in the undergrowth leading to engagement in bonus rounds and huge wins.
Tell us more about your latest release, Panda Pow. What was the inspiration for this?
This is definitely one of our more light-hearted games. It’s fun and features Kung-Fu fighting pandas, which we reckon it will be popular just for the comedy value! It uses a similar math model as Chilli Gold, but with a much lower buy-in to the feature. It’s a very sociable game from that point of view. It is a 3×5 reel, 25-line slot featuring a unique wild symbol that triggers a free games bonus when any five or more are hit. Extra stacks of wild gold pandas are added to the reels in the free games mode, providing a great opportunity for wins over multiple lines. A Deluxe version is now available in William Hill’s LBOs alongside Silver Lion Deluxe. We really like it – and we hope players do too.
What can we expect from Lightning Box Games in the coming months?
We have three more games coming out over the summer. We’re also developing some interesting new maths models at the moment. Once those are in place we’ll think about what the themes for those games will be, as we always work from the maths up. These can be anything and everything really. For instance, our Reelfecta Super Reel bonus in Astro Cat was inspired by us watching the vast array of cat videos on YouTube. What’s important to us however is what happens under the hood. Get that right and you’re on the right path to producing a successful game.
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