It is never easy for a new slot developing company to get started in the saturated industry. It is even more challenging in the times when all the major iGaming events and conferences are either canceled or rescheduled due to lockdowns. And amidst these challenges, the team of Mancala Gaming — a new and promising name in the industry — remains optimistic.
In a candid and exclusive sitdown with KeyToCasinos, Anastasia Rimskaya, Head of Account Management at Mancala Gaming talks to us about how it all started for the company, and how the studio found ways to pivot around the 2020 challenges and to grow its portfolio and outreach.
Q: Thank you for accepting our interview invitation! We are sure that the readers of KTC would love to find out more about the team of Mancala Gaming, its values, and mission. Could you please share your story?
A: Mancala Gaming is a new and ambitious online slot game provider, establishing itself in 2019 by a group of iGaming enthusiasts. Before launching, we prepared our initial portfolio of 70 games, as it’s pretty hard to grab operators’ interest with a portfolio of just 10-15 games.
Our mission is to bring innovative games to the market for both demanding players and the younger generation, incorporating innovative game mechanics and elements from mobile and PC games.
We are very passionate about game development and bringing new and exciting products to the market. Not only that, but we’re committed to great customer service. In a saturated market like this, you need to tackle all aspects, not just game development.
...it’s pretty hard to grab operators’ interest with a portfolio of just 10-15 games.
Q: The company was founded in 2019 – amidst the boom of the slot developing industry. How challenging was it to establish a new brand in a competing environment and which strategies helped Mancala Gaming to successfully move past the startup threshold?
A: Let’s say that 2019 was our “technical launch,” as we presented some basics such as the structure of the company, essential team members, our ready-to-launch portfolio, and so on.
The initial launch of the brand itself was much later, with our first partners in June 2020. The first wave of the pandemic was in full swing - not the best time to grow business in traditional ways. We were planning to present Mancala Gaming in iGB Amsterdam in September 2020, but the current situation changed our plans and all offline expos were canceled. Thus, we are still waiting for proper industry events to present ourselves as a new brand within the iGaming community.
We are still growing, facing various new challenges, and learning on the way. Nowadays, when the market is so saturated with slot content, I wouldn’t say that we are fully established in the industry yet, but we are working on it intensely.
Q: This past year was not easy – to say the least – for all businesses, including online gambling. Would you say that 2020 slowed down the development of the iGaming industry, or allowed it to pivot in a new direction? Has it affected the studio’s growth in any way?
A: The industry itself grew because people had to spend more time at home and less on other activities. The entire industry had to learn to work online and more effectively. Online exhibitions and conferences skyrocketed. We were not able to attend any offline exhibitions yet so it is more difficult to get the brand noticed by industry professionals. And unfortunately, that is slowing down the business growth in our case.
We are still growing, facing various new challenges, and learning on the way.
Q: What is your current focus market, and would you say its players are a tough crowd to wow?
A: Right now, Mancala Gaming targets regulated markets, therefore we are preparing everything to get licenses. Players are incredibly demanding and their preferences are shifting to more dynamic gameplay. That’s why we are trying to gain more players’ attention with unique mechanics, which give players more control over the game itself.
Q: With so many games in the studio’s portfolio, what, in your opinion, defines a great slot that will resonate with players?
A: 100 players have 100 different preferences. That’s why we have various types of slot games in our game portfolio. Our new releases are mostly experimental and modern to attract the younger generation of players and those who seek something more dynamic, interactive, and fresh.
Q: Is it fair to say that your current priority is slots, and would you consider producing other types of games in the future? Like table games, live streams, fish games, etc.
A: Yes, absolutely! We are completely focused on slots; however, skill-based dice games are in our plans as well. We are not planning to produce other types of games in the nearest future, but we are not refusing this possibility just yet.
Q: This is the perfect time and place to tease players about upcoming games. What should we expect from the studio’s next releases?
A: The games we have planned for this year include a classic game with a shocking plot twist within the bonus game. A game that comes with a magical theme, where players can decide when to use magic spells and influence the outcome of the game. And one game that is very close to our hearts because it is a combination of a slot game and Mancala’s game.
Note: The original interview can be found here:https://www.keytocasinos.com/news/the-entire-industry-had-to-learn-to-work-online-and-work-effectively
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