During last month’s ICE London show, we sat down with Yggdrasil’s new CEO Björn Krantz, then Chief of Global Marketing Operations, to get his take on navigating regulatory frameworks, technological development and the future of in-person events.
Regulation is obviously a hot-button issue right now, and in Europe, where you have to deal with a lot of different frameworks, how has Yggdrasil navigated the regulatory landscape?
We are present in 19 regulated markets today, across Europe and the US. The first one to three you enter can be more cumbersome, but then the more markets you enter, the more similarities you find. But there’s still a lot of variation. When it comes to compliance or when it comes to an adaptation, if it’s related to spin times or max bets or whatever it may be, it can be a little bit more time consuming.
We fully support what is happening and we have always said that the regulated market approach and being a responsible supplier is the way to go, but down the line, we also believe that there is a need for improved harmonisation and standardisation. And this is also because of the responsibility that regulatory bodies have in maximizing the channelisation, so you are not turning it into a small regulated market, and then a big gray market.
There needs to be a balance, and to discover that balance is important. I think Europe has been well regulated for a number of years now, and a lot of lessons have been learned. Now it’s time that everyone came together and discussed those lessons to find that balance.
What do you predict will be the next big technology in gaming and how is Yggdrasil looking to capitalise on that?
I think we are driving the development of technology, how we can optimize the experience over the technology that we produce and how we innovate around that. One example is GATI, the Game Adaptation Tools & Interface. It is a centerpiece in our offering and optimises the way that you can commercialize your content across all of Yggdrasil’s regulated markets.
If you are a Masters partner, a studio, and you develop a game through GATI, then your game coming out is automatically compatible with the 19 regulatory frameworks that we have. And when we add markets, this will be added as a requirement in the GATI development toolkit as well.
If you’re innovative but don’t have your own platform, or you don’t have the muscles to do a global push, you need to work with a partner that has the right technology, the right tools to maximise your success and get your content out there. I believe that GATI is a technology that can do that.
We’re obviously here at ICE, how important do you think live events are to the gaming industry as a whole?
I think they are very important. There is a big difference between digital meetings and getting everyone together under one roof, where you can immediately get instant feedback. It’s a very cost effective way of meeting. I think when you have everyone under one roof, you have a clear agenda, what you would like to achieve and that the people there will maximise your time.
So I think live events will be important, but I think it will be difficult for smaller events to make themselves heard, if it’s not a very niche event. But other than that, I think it will be a few, very big live events, such as ICE and G2E in Las Vegas, where everything comes together: technology, companies, innovation, forums and debates. And when you get back home, you discuss what you saw, what you heard and how can it impact your priorities and roadmaps. So I think live events will be around but in a more concentrated form.
I think it will be difficult for smaller events to make themselves heard, if it’s not a very niche event
Going forward, in the next five to 10 years, maybe even less than that, what does the future hold for Yggdrasil?
Well, I really think that we will further strengthen our global network reach, we will be in more regulated markets, in more territories, and we will probably have more product channels to market that are relevant for the customers we serve.
We will continue to build on the foundation that we have and make it stronger. But ultimately, it’s all about people. We care about our people, and we care about how we maximise the opportunities for our colleagues and being innovative in our company, as well as having the strongest relationships out there in the market. So I think there are exciting times ahead for us.