Meet the Slots Creators – Aurum Signature Studios’s Madelein Ozok Interview

Posted by: John
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Tell us a bit about yourself. What makes you, you; and why have you chosen to work at Aurum Signature Studios?

I am an avid believer in uniqueness, diversity, and that if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.

I built a career in the casino industry for over 20 years, it allowed me to meet a diverse group of people, travel the world and combine my passion for numbers and creativity.

I had the privilege to work for amazing companies, from suppliers to operators, in companies such as Aristocrat and Sun International.

When I was approached to establish and manage Aurum Signature Studios it was a no-brainer.  It gave me the opportunity to combine all my experience in marketing, product management and general management in an industry that I am passionate about.

You have an impressive slots portfolio, can you name the best three slots ever released by Aurum Signature Studios?

Thank you.  Aurum has released over 20 games already and each one was unique to the customer and we are proud of every game we have delivered.  If “best” is measured by the quality and on-time delivery, they were all the best!  If the game’s performance with that specific operator is satisfactory, we believe it is a success.

So, it’s difficult to choose the best three, but I can say A Tale of Elves (our global Christmas game in 2020) and deadmau5 did really well.  On the bespoke games, we have seen great performance with games such as  Danmarks Vikinger and Joker Mega Moolah.

2020 was a challenging year for all of us. Even so, Aurum Signature had multiple releases. Which slot takes the 2020 title of the best Aurum Signature Studios release?

It was indeed a challenging year across the globe.  I am super proud of my team, delivering 16 new games in 2020.  A Tale of Elves received rave reviews and performed well across the globe.

Looking to the future, what is the next big release Aurum Signature Studios is planning?

We will deliver 20 games in 2021 and I cannot divulge any information on the bespoke games we are building, but we are excited about Burlesque by Dita, which is set for global release in July 2021, and our Halloween themed game later this year, called Mega Moolah The Witch’s Moon.

In a market with hundreds of game studios, what would you say is Aurum Signature’s biggest differentiator?

That majority of our games are bespoke and unique to a single operator, nobody else will have that game. That’s a powerful asset for any casino.

We would love to hear more about the slot creation process. Can you let us know which is the most exciting part of the entire process when creating a new slot?

There are two parts of the process that excite me the most: the start and the finish.  Brainstorming the theme and features with the operator at the start of the process is always fun.  It is a collaborative effort between Aurum and our customer and I love that each one is different, capturing the essence the operator wants to portray in their game.  Seeing how it all comes together in the end, the art, animation, audio and build is one of the most satisfying parts of creating a new slot.

What about any inside funny stories, do you have something to share with us?

I have the most amazing team, they are all very good at what they do. We are a close-knit team and have a great sense of humour.  We laugh, a lot!  One day, we were on a video call with a customer when a monkey ran into my house and grabbed fruit from the kitchen counter.  I shouted and chased it out, sat down calmly and apologised to the customer for the interruption.  There was dead silence for a few seconds and he said:  “Did you just say there is a monkey in the house?  Where do you live, in the bush?”.  I replied, yes as a matter of fact I live on an Eco Estate in South Africa and we all just burst out laughing – only in Africa.

How can you tell if an online slot is going to be a hit or not?

In today’s world, we have so much data at our fingertips, the art is to read the story in the data.  Player behaviour indicates what they enjoy, what features they most like, how many spins they play in a session, etc.  So, incorporating your learnings from the data story in your game should forecast whether it will be a hit or not. Of course, it is not a sure thing, but an educated guess.

When it comes to bespoke games, over and above the data story, we have also seen that games where the operator is heavily involved and invested in the creation and marketing of the game is always a winner!

Did you use to play slots before entering the iGaming industry?

If one spent over 20 years in the casino industry, almost seven of those with Aristocrat, you get your fair share of playing slots.  I must confess, I mostly play demos for product development purposes.

What are your hobbies?

I play golf most Saturdays, I read extensively – anything from business to inspiration to historical fiction (I hardly watch television), I write, I am a business and life coach and absolutely love travelling!

What has been your biggest challenge and your most significant success in the gambling industry?

My biggest challenge is keeping a work-life balance; it’s a fast-paced industry 24/7, coupled with extensive travelling.  Keeping a balance between family commitments and overall well-being has been challenging at times.

I believe my most significant success is my variety of experience, fulfilling senior management roles in supplier and operator companies in the land-based world, and then transitioning into the online casino world.  My roles included marketing, product management and general management.

If you weren’t in the gambling industry, what other industry would you want to work in?

I started a BSc degree after school and then swapped to Marketing and Stats.  I have 50/50 numerical and creative ability and thus whatever other industry I choose, will have to fulfil my need for creative output, as well as a numerical stimulus.  Oh, and the people in that industry must have personality!