Crash Style Games in Gambling: Throwing Bridges between Generations

Crash games are accounting for an increasing share of the iGaming market. Most of these games take a straightforward concept and build unique propositions around it, proving a commercial success, adding value to customer gameplay, and are generally considered a fun way to liven up the traditional gaming experience. 

Today, we speak with three developers of such games, to wit Craig Asling, head of games at ESA Gaming, Ivan Kravchuk, CEO at Evoplay, and Lloyd Purser, COO at Funfair Games. Their unique insights into the sector have helped players and partner brands navigate an exciting new opportunity in iGaming and create fond experiences that boost retention, enhance emotion, and realize fresh concepts. 

Q: What are the main selling points that make crash-style games a genre that is increasing in popularity and now going more mainstream?

CA: One of the main selling points is the success that this game type has seen out of the Crypto gambling scene. Due to the trends of its popularity, it is now helping bridge the gap to pull in new player types from that market into the real money gambling space as well as the newer generation of gamblers.

Gameplay elements such as risk management and perceived control over the results allow players to be more strategic and offer a new experience. A lot of these games are also providing multiplayer experiences which build community and competition among the users which again increases interest and activity.

IK: The phenomenon of crash-style games has emerged rather organically, employing simple mechanics that make them a top choice for those who seek simplicity and easy to enjoy entertainment.

The use-case is simple, crash-style games are an abundant source of high-octane fun – with the game’s probability curve increasing and able to crash at any moment, it builds tension and anticipation for players no matter what visual representation is used.

Given its format, we would say that the simple principles of crash-style games also appeal to players thanks to the competition and multiplayer elements included in these experiences. For example, these games feature leaderboards with player rankings and information about top wins, creating a competitive atmosphere and sense of community within the game, which in turn stimulates players to achieve more.

LP: Bottom line is that they’re really exciting. Crash is simply a game of chicken against the house. How long can a player hold their nerve to cash out against a payout curve that will crash at any moment? In most cases, the payouts have a max of way over 1000x, so it’s super simple to understand and exciting to play.

When you add to this the fact that they’re social and community-based you have an even more entertaining experience. As the games are different, not just in the game design and mechanics, but also in look and feel, they’re attracting a new fresh audience to online casinos, and that’s going to continue even more so in the future.

Q: What elements must a crash-style game have and what goes into developing content for this vertical?

CA: It’s important to remember that this genre of games came from the crypto gambling environment. The core essence of what made those games so enticing is the quick and simple nature of them so that element, therefore, needs to be incorporated.

Most of the original Crash titles looked very poor graphically but still brought in huge amounts of activity and wagering. So, it’s about taking the basics and evolving and improving it, whether that’s giving the player a visual feast with beautiful artwork and animations or by introducing new features and gameplay elements to this game type.

IK: These types of games are built on suspense, which is ever-present due to the essence of the crash element, which makes it possible to create various game plots with basic mechanics, such as a growing multiplier that can crash at any given time.

When creating such titles, one of the main aspects developers should focus on is enhancing the competitive spirit that multiplayer games can generate. Lists with top players, crash points, and amounts won, will motivate players and make the gaming process more thrilling for them.

A social component is equally important to crash-style games as the crash mechanic itself, providing players with the opportunity to communicate and therefore delivering a more enjoyable experience. Integrated chat rooms can allow players to discuss the game and socialize, which naturally increases retention of such players.

LP: Simplicity is key; we’ve learned this through our journey, having made mistakes in some of our games and overcomplicating them. Also, having real-time decision-making makes the games much more exciting. Outside of that, although we’re talking about crash-style games here, our main focus is on developing games that stick to specific foundations; social, active, and simple.

Although crash is all of these things, we’re also working on games that incorporate similar mechanics and have different game designs, math models and simple bonus rounds. We think it’s critical to build on the foundations that the crash style of the game offers for more engagement and variety for operators to offer their players.

Q: How do you make sure the games are suitable to regulated markets and ensure they are responsible without affecting the thrill factor?

CA: At the moment these games are very new and currently still undergoing review from most regulated market jurisdictions. It’s therefore a bit of an unknown at what adaptations will have to be made to the current crash-style games but as with any game type we are always happy to learn. We will review, change, test and repeat until we get the formula right from both a user experience and market regulation perspective.

IK: It depends on the jurisdiction and how such games are interpreted in a certain market. For instance, in some territories, crash-style games are considered a mere subcategory of instant games, such as that in Malta under the MGA.

Crash-style games, like any other iGaming product, are subject to a standard “crash test”, which usually includes RTP and variability checks, as well as server tests. In addition to this, the titles are checked for hidden bets, the availability of the auto mode, round duration, and much more. Once the game has passed the lengthy process and receives approval from regulatory requirements, only then is it considered suitable for our players to use.

LP: With crash games gaining popularity in an unregulated space, they traditionally have very few restrictions. Moving into global regulated markets means we’ve adapted them very slightly, but this doesn’t reduce the excitement of the mechanics at all. We ensure that our games have engaging and immersive mechanics, features and themes and are fun to play, just like traditional slot studios.

Q: From a marketing perspective, is crash-style games a completely new vertical or do they sit with traditional online casino content?

CA: I think this vertical will experience some huge growth over the next few years and become even more popular and as a result, it will sit alongside the traditional casino games. I don’t think this means it take over but rather expand on the existing offerings from mainstream casinos and widen the audience for existing content.

Our focus at ESA Gaming is on creating games that successfully cross-sell to traditional casino content and we believe we can also capitalize on crash-style games to do this by adding them to our EasySwipe portfolio. We certainly see how they can be used to broaden appeal in general so watch this space!

IK: Although crash-style games are considered a ‘fresh’ form of casino content, they still follow traditional and classic principles of online gambling. The reason for this is their direct relation to instant games, which share such features as immediate playing and fast luck-based nature. This makes them one of the most popular instant game mechanics available.

Evoplay was one of the first game suppliers to develop crash-style games back in 2017, and we will be doing a lot of work to bolster this product range in the months ahead.

Crash-style games have really strong potential to stick, as they include various ingredients that are welcomed by Millennials and Gen Z players, such as complete adaptation to mobile devices, instant gameplay, social interaction and multiplayer features.

LP: This is one aspect that has been a challenge for us since we launched our first game last year. We found that operators weren’t sure where to best position our content on their sites, and it was often placed in slots lobbies which isn’t the right fit. We continue to educate the industry about our games and how they differ to slots. There is cleary demand for community-based casino experiences, and more and more companies are building in this area.

Q: What can we expect from this new vertical as the industry realize the potential of it?

CA: I think it will spur a newer generation of game styles for the younger generations of gamblers. These games will take the essence that makes them engaging and enticing and build upon them, much like how we’ve seen with online slots, going from very basic design and features sets to high production, highly entertaining feature-packed games.

I expect most game providers will see the value in offering a different type of game and also the potential of a new customer base and give them another avenue to an already highly saturated market with slots and other classic games types. At ESA Gaming, we are venturing into this space for the first time in 2022 as we will develop two crash titles and we are very excited about the potential this new genre will offer us as we evolve as a supplier and bring our innovative approach to crash-style games.

IK: We always need to remember that the iGaming industry is oriented towards satisfying players’ needs. And we know, based on our experience, that gambling audiences appreciate simplicity above anything else. This is why simplicity remains a permanent feature when it comes to crash-style games, and other instant games for that matter.

However, innovative mechanics and new themes are necessary to maintain and enhance players’ interest. A rising curve alone isn’t usually enough to satisfy a modern player who is searching for something easy-to-understand, but also intriguing and exclusive at the same time, which can provide hours of fun.

At Evoplay, this dynamic is what inspires us to work on fresh solutions for all of our upcoming instant game releases – and we see this is a significant growth space that we’ll continue to invest our resources in.

LP: Moving forward we are going to see a number of new ‘arcade’ and/or ‘multiplayer’ tabs added to the more forward-thinking casino brands to take advantage of the increasing popularity of this genre, satisfying player demand and driving new revenue streams. I think it’s really going to take off towards the end of this year when global top-tier operators better understand its potential.

The market is swamped with similar content and must take into account the needs and preferences of younger generations, who want an engaging, interactive and more community-based gambling and entertainment experience. I also expect to see more participation in a ‘soup to nuts’ approach through a customer’s lifetime. So, using this new genre of games for acquisition opens up new channels, like Telegram and Discord, that have huge crypto and gaming audiences.

Of course, streaming will remain critical and will take center stage in the journey and we expect to see closer relationships with streamers and studios for these games. It’s going to be an exciting year, and FunFair Games is happy to be at the forefront!

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