Exclusive Interview With ATMOSFERA’s CEO!

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what is your role at Atmosfera? How did your journey in the gambling industry begin? 

Hello everyone! My name is Yury Ermantraut, I’m the co-owner and CEO of ATMOSFERA company. In 2017, I began my career in the gambling industry and progressed to the position of Director of Business Development at a betting company. In 2020, I founded the ATMOSFERA project, where I serve as the face and the visionary leader responsible for the development of all departments. 

2. Atmosfera entered the international market 2020 with a unique vision. Could you elaborate on the core principles and goals that drove the establishment of your company? 

In 2020, we thought our vision was unique. Now it has transformed, but back then, it was like our secret sauce that helped us find our special spot in the market. We were fueled by big dreams and ambitions. We even cooked up our own signature visual style for game-making and studio work. We believe in it, and it’s our fundamental product principle. Another key to success was placing our trust in people. It runs through the entire ATMOSFERA company. 

3. What are your top 3 LIVE games from Atmosfera, and what makes them stand out in terms of player engagement and experience? 

When it comes to the number of active players, our top 3 games are Live Roulette, Blackjack, and Music Wheel. But if we’re talking about the amount of bets and GGR, Blackjack is the clear winner. The game’s success is all thanks to the high level of player engagement, and that really shows in our retention and lifetime metrics.  

Blackjack is that classic card game that already has a loyal fanbase. We took their preferences into consideration when creating the game, keeping the standard features and enhancing the gaming experience with a classic design. Now, when it comes to Live Roulette and Music Wheel, it’s a bit of a different story. In these games, we see a higher churn rate, which isn’t surprising given the faster pace of gameplay. 

4. What are the top 3 LIVE games from Atmosfera that you believe uniquely capture player engagement, and what makes them stand out? 

I think each game has its unique charm and twist to it. Take our Auto Roulette, for example. It’s essentially similar to many other auto roulettes out there, but our game studio adds a special charm to it that sets it apart from the rest. 

Our Roulette and Blackjack, I believe, attract with their elegance. They are calm, without the hustle and bustle you find in many other similar games on the market. Plus, all these games have beautifully designed studios that make you want to stay. 

MUSIC WHEEL, in a way, was one of the first bonus wheels of this kind, with moderate volatility but a real chance to win a nice prize without waiting for hours. I personally like the visual design of the wheel, the pleasant studio, and the colorful yet uncluttered interface. And music plays a special role in the wheel, in my opinion. We’ve used a similar approach in some games where there’s sound accompaniment – we make it continuous, not tied to specific game stages. It makes the game more dynamic and doesn’t draw attention to a repetitive game structure. 

And of course, I can’t forget to mention our hosts in all the games. I believe we have a strong team of hosts who look great, are friendly, open, and fun, ready to engage in any conversation. The hosts’ player orientation is a crucial part of any game. 

5. How do you incorporate elements of player psychology into the design of your LIVE games to enhance engagement and entertainment?

Playing games is like a break from real life, right? So, the big deal for us is making sure that this chill time is super comfy and cozy. 

Basically, we’re all about keeping things simple, getting rid of any unnecessary stuff, and focusing on what really matters. 

And it’s not just about the game studios – it’s about the user interface, the game story, and how our hosts behave. We’re all in on creating that awesome, comfy world where players can be whoever they want. 

While we’re at it, we do some testing and fix any weak spots. It’s not just about the game mechanics; it’s about making the whole experience better. 

We create only those games that we play ourselves.  

6. How does player feedback shape the development of your new games? Can you give an example of a game that was significantly influenced by player input?

Since we’re in the B2B game, we don’t have the chance to chat with players directly. But knowing that, we consult a lot with key players and industry experts during the concept development phase. We discuss various aspects of the game with this focus group, like prototypes, music, game mechanics, and more. We also share demos.

After the launch, we primarily focus on user metrics and, again, turn to our focus group if we encounter any issues. Conducting regular CustDev sessions, prototype testing with focus groups, and A/B testing are the directions we’ll definitely be heading in 2024.

We’re big on being player-centric, and we’re moving towards it rapidly. Player feedback is gold in the world of game development. There are cases where we receive direct feedback from players and make changes to the product. For example, we significantly adjusted the timing in Roulette and Auto Roulette after receiving feedback that they felt slow and not dynamic enough. Currently, we’re reevaluating the math in our new game, CLER, because there were comments about wanting more frequent bonuses. After launching the new chat, we’ll likely initiate a pilot project for semantic analysis to identify the most common issues our players face and react to them promptly. If the pilot is successful, we’ll implement this tool and continuously monitor it with its help.

Working with direct player feedback is currently more of a situational activity than an established practice. However, we really want to develop this direction in the near future and engage much more with players directly.

By the way, if you wanna join our focus group or spill the beans about games, just hit me up on LinkedIn or drop us a line at [email protected].  

7. Which live game from Atmosfera has recorded the biggest wins, and what do you think makes it so successful among players?

Our absolute record for the highest bet volume by a single player was in the summer of 2023 in Live Roulette – €38.4 million in total turnover. Over two months, we witnessed both significant losses and big wins – it was a rollercoaster ride that we’ll remember for a long time. We constantly monitor players’ winnings and notice that most big wins occur in Blackjack. But in addition to that, we have a dedicated anti-fraud team that tracks players in real-time and responds instantly if there are suspicions of unfair play. 

8. From your experience at Atmosfera, how do you gauge if a game will be a hit? What factors are considered during development? 

I think it all starts with a feeling when we’re just kicking off a new concept. We have a really open team dynamic, where anyone can join in on concept discussions and share their thoughts. It’s a fun creative process where new ideas come and go, getting refined until we all agree that we’ve come up with something cool. 

Our main goal is to meet the players’ needs, and that’s where the real challenge begins. We need to understand what can truly attract and keep players engaged. To do this, we use various approaches and tools. We always begin by analyzing existing products to grasp behavioral patterns and immerse ourselves in the gameplay. Before starting development, we aim to meticulously map out the user experience using User Flows and Use Cases, which are then turned into prototypes and undergo multiple rounds of testing within the team to perfect the gameplay experience as envisioned by the product manager. 

So, in a nutshell, three big things make our games a hit: satisfying players’ needs and the seamless teamwork, along with a genuine belief in what you’re doing and a passion for it.  ATMOSFERA only drops games we’re totally vibin’ with. 

9. Looking ahead, what exciting developments or big releases can players expect from Atmosfera? 

I can’t reveal too much right now because it would be a product spoiler, but in a nutshell – Baccarat, a unique feature for site bets on blackjack, and a game show with bonus features for crash games. 

10. Do you have any advice for those who would like to work in the gambling/iGaming industry? 

Entering the industry nowadays is significantly more expensive and challenging than it was 2-3 years ago. The cost of making a mistake has also gone up. So, always do your own deep dives to double-check all those trends, hunches, and business deals. Nevertheless, I still find this industry darn appealing and full of excitement!  

11. Is there anything you would like to say to those who support Atmosfera, before we conclude our interview? 

First of all, I want to say thank you for preparing for the interview. The level of questions is impressive, you guys are awesome. Secondly, let 2024 bring lots of luck, love, and warmth to everyone! 

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