Tell us a bit about yourself. What makes you, you; and why have you chosen to work at SG Digital?
I’m Rob Procter , VP of Game Development at SG. Basically, I look after all of our releases. That includes anything from game concepts and new game ideas, to deciding which games to build and why to build them. I also decide countries to launch the games in… basically everything from a game’s concept to it going live!
My passion is slots and has been for a long time. It’s my hobby as well as my job, which means I enjoy what I do – I play slots every day of my life. It’s my Netflix; it’s my entertainment. I’m all about the content – making the games as good as they possibly can be, as entertaining as they can be, and as enjoyable as they can be. As much as I’d like to just be playing slots and designing games all day, I’m not afforded that luxury. So, empowering my team is what I’m about. There are a lot of great creative minds in my team to go and make the best content they possibly can.
It’s 2022, so what can we expect from SG Digital this year compared to previous years?
You can expect bigger, better and more innovative content than we’ve ever done before. Last year we made some really big bold steps in terms of our strategy; we produced games that historically we would never have done – we were pushing the boundaries a lot last year. I’m going to continue that this year; we’re going to continue to push on, innovate, create new slots with new mechanics, new features and new math models.
However, the thing that I am really focused on this year is creating a balanced plan of releases for all of the countries we operate in. I think last year we produced great content, and it worked particularly well in all our markets. If you think of the big regions we operate in, it’s the UK, Europe and the U.S.
We’ll try to balance the schedule a lot more than we did last year (which is really tricky because we’re producing around 65 games this year). We’re not a small studio, we operate at scale and speed, and only games of quality get to go out. The focus this year is quality content – we’re still pushing the boundaries, still innovating, still trying to give players something new – but creating that balance is key.
You have an impressive portfolio; can you name the best three slots ever released by SG Digital?
I’ll give you my top three. This is not based on performance or best in terms of top of our charts – these are “the best” in terms of games I think are the best from a player’s perspective. The third for me is Raging Rhino – the original. It’s a classic game that I’ve had some great wins on over the years; it gives you that rollercoaster feeling. Second I’d say is Rainbow Riches Race Day – a game that came out during my tenure looking after first-party content here. It’s probably the game I’m proudest of; I think we did really well with that game and it hit the sweet spot for the UK just as we wanted it to. And first I’d say is Invaders Megaways, just because that one unique feature sold the game to me and we’ve posted some incredible wins on social media. It’s rare, but when you do get it, the excitement is off the charts.
Which game took the 2021 title of the best SG Digital release?
Race Day: just in terms of our execution of the game, the way we released the game, the timing of the game going out and the operator support we got. We also had incredible hype for the game, and it continues to be a top performer for us.
Looking to the future, what is the next big release SG Digital is planning?
Iif I’m going to single one out for the first part of the year and say Stargate Megaways. It’s probably the one that’s most anticipated internally not only because of the brand behind it, but because it’s also showcasing new features, new mechanics and a new twist on Megaways that we’ve never done before. The game looks and plays fantastically well. We’ve really gone to town on this one and put our heart and soul into this to make sure that we’ve given the players what they want. Whether you’re a Stargate fan or not, it’s a really enjoyable game to play
In a market with hundreds of game studios, what would you say is SG Digital’s biggest differentiator?
I would say scale. We are global, only playing in regulated markets, which really helps. Our scale in regulated markets transcends anyone else. We are the biggest provider in the US, biggest supplier in the US, biggest market share in the US (and growing) with our finger on the pulse of new markets opening up. If you combine that with the UK, which is still our biggest territory, that scale is off the charts.
For us it’s about how we get our games in front of players quickly and how can we make sure that their experience is good. Global-scale, combined with the fact that we’ve got more verticals in the US and the UK – they’re a big differentiator.
Being able to lean on trusted brands, especially in the US, is huge; you can walk casino floors anywhere in the U.S. and you’ll see SG games. That gives us a big leg-up. We’re known, we’re trusted, we’ve got brands and we’ve got content that players know and love. When they come online for the first time, they see 88 Fortunes or JJBX and they instantly know it’s SG and they trust it and have a familiarity with that game. You don’t have to win them over; they’re already there. So, our scale and our position are, I think, what differentiates us.
We would love to hear more about the game creation process. Can you let us know which is the most exciting part of the entire process when creating a new game?
The most exciting part for me is the start really – coming up with new ideas and floating them around the team. It’s a very collaborative process; it’s not just someone in my team going away into a little cave and coming out with a game idea. Daily we’re talking about new concepts and new ideas, but we get together once a week for two and a half hours to go over new games and new ideas. Those are the fun times where you’re talking about a theme or a mechanic or a math model. Those are the most exciting bits because you can see an idea coming to life.
How can you tell if an online slot is going to be a hit or not?
The simple answer is you can’t. Fortunately, quite quickly we’ll know if a game is going to do well or not. Within the first 24/48 hours, we can tell whether the slots will rank top five, top three, top five, top 10, or top 20 in the long run. But pre-launch you never know. We never put a game out there to fail, so every game we launch we think is going to be successful in the countries it’s targeted for. We know every game we release is not going to work in every market and that’s not a strategy that works – you can’t release one game and think is going to hit the mark in the UK, Europe, and the U.S. so you build what you think is right for specific countries and hope it’s a success.
Switching our attention to casinos… with so many options out there, can you let us know which are your top 3 casino preferences?
From a performance point of view, we’re live on every one of them. So, whereas a smaller supplier answering that question may have a “top three” based on the fact that they’re only live on certain casinos, it’s a bit more difficult for me because we’re everywhere!
Did you play slots before entering the iGaming industry? Can you share with us your biggest win on an online slot? (you don’t have to name the stake, just the multiplier and the game is more than enough)
Well, it’s not my biggest win, but one of the games I go back to a lot is Reactoonz. I play that a lot and I’ve had the top win on that quite often. Not on big stakes, but that’s 1500x. The biggest X win I’ve ever had was on a Nolimit City game, San Quentin. I can’t remember exactly but it was about 3,500x (on a small stake, but it was a good win!)
What are your hobbies?
Well work consumes a lot of time, and I have four kids, a dog and a wife, so keeping them all happy is my hobby! I love spending time with the family and just doing family stuff outside of working hours.
What has been your biggest challenge and your most significant success in the gambling industry?
I think the challenge is keeping up with the pace of the industry. It’s fast-moving for most, but for us at SG it’s probably faster than anyone else. If you take the U.S. for example, we want to be first in every state – we want to have the most games live in every state from Day One. We want to be ‘finger on the pulse’, we want to be moving quickly and we want to be producing great games that players want to play and are excited about playing. Keeping up and staying ahead is the biggest challenge.
What I’m doing now is my biggest success: transforming our games release schedule from where we were two or three years ago to a line-up that players are excited about.
If you weren’t in the gambling industry, what other industry would you want to work in?
I want to be a postman! I’ve been told by a lot of people (my wife mainly) that it’s not as easy as I think it is. I just have this vision in my head of a nice sunny day, walking around with a bag, posting a few letters. That’s what I want. I don’t want any hills, I don’t want any packages, I don’t want to have to be in a sorting office. I just want someone to give me a bag and I’ll just walk around for a few hours posting letters!