Spearhead Studios: Local games for local markets

Since launching in late-2019, Spearhead Studios has taken iGaming by storm, launching an extensive portfolio of successful titles. With several blockbusters launched this year, a busy roadmap ahead and many ambitious plans, the up-and-coming gaming studio is set to achieve success and establish itself as a creative outlet for operators looking for fresh and highly entertaining content.

We caught up with Mathias Larsson, Spearhead Studios’ Managing Director, to discuss the company’s journey so far, his philosophy of creating market-specific and data-driven games, and how studios can navigate the intricacies of regulation in the slot world.

Would you be able to give us a brief background on Spearhead Studios from how you started up until the present day?

Spearhead Studios’ journey in the iGaming world began in November 2019, when we launched under the EveryMatrix umbrella, bringing aboard a very talented and experienced team.  Our in-house capabilities consist of game concept design, game development, digital art production and animation, UI/X design, audio production, gameplay testing and QA, certification and, particularly, localisation.

All of this allowed us to take huge strides in the seven months we’ve been on the market, launching so far a total of 13 exciting slot titles, and partnering up with some of the most influential casino content aggregators, such as Microgaming, Relax Gaming and United Remote. The current month will see us taking a huge leap: we’ve nicknamed it Super July since we plan to release no less than five excellent game titles that we have been working very hard on.

One crucial thing for Spearhead Studios’ evolution is something I’ve learned in the 11 years I’ve been involved with iGaming, especially in Asia-facing companies: localisation is the key differentiator. That’s why our mantra is ‘local games for local markets’.

How is the digital slots industry coping with changes in regulation around the world?

Industry regulations are something we welcome, and a natural step in the development of iGaming. Eventually, every country will create laws for online gambling, and this is a positive thing since it will offer a safety net to players. It is the way forward for our industry, and it will allow it to grow even more and bring regulated entertainment to a broader public.

For us at Spearhead Studios, it’s not that much of a challenge to adapt to various regulated markets. Main reason is because our technology (platform) is new and therefore easier to change. We are already certified in 9 different markets which is more than most and if a client asks us to certify for a new market that they are in we will do so.

We’re all about localisation. And you cannot have that without being able and willing to adapt as fast as possible existing and upcoming regulations on the markets your clients’ target. Regulation is inevitable, and we are embracing change to the benefit of our clients.

What does the team at Spearhead Studios believe makes a top slot when it comes to grabbing the attention of players?

First and foremost, when launching a game for a particular market, you need to get to know in detail the preferences of the players. For example, Britons can have very different expectations from Germans or Czechs. Even features like the slot’s audio or colours can make a game succeed or fail on a specific market. Most of our games are built for a specific market.

One thing that we avoid are assumptions, and especially stereotypes, which can be very misleading. I’ve seen developers that simply added a dragon to slots targeting the Asian market and then wondered what went wrong.

In addition to that, when we say localisation, we can also leverage the huge amount of data that EveryMatrix gathers from billions of game rounds on their CasinoEngine platform. By analysing data from a certain country or region, we can see what kind of slots work well on that market favours. Then we can tailor market-specific advice for our clients, which will allow us to grow together.

Book of Gates is going to be a hit for sure. What else do you have going on at the moment?

Book of Gates was created as a special project, a bespoke title commissioned by Wunderino. The fact that it now works exceptionally well for them makes us very proud and happy, and it also gives us the confidence that we are on the right path.

The success of our previous slots also shapes Spearhead Studios’ roadmap, and the perfect example of this is our current top title, Lara Jones is Cleopatra. We’ve taken the beloved character of our hit Book of Souls and sent her on another entertaining adventure to the delight of our players.

On that same note, among the several great games currently in our pipeline, I want to highlight Book of Souls 2 and Wilds of Wall Street 2. Both are sequels to our blockbusters, and our operators are looking forward to seeing them live on their websites.

What are the biggest challenges the digital slots industry is facing at the present? 

The first thing that comes to mind is that there are considerably more casino slot providers than just three years ago, for example. With this comes the constant challenge of continuously optimising the quality of your games, on one side. Then you also need to build strong relationships with casino operators and deliver to them high-quality, high-yielding products.

And I am more than confident Spearhead Studios can excel in both. As a part of the EveryMatrix Group, we’ve been empowered to create perfectly localised and data-driven slots, while maintaining our autonomy as a game studio. This is how we can service all ambitious game operators out there and give access to our content via several great content aggregators.

We are up for all the challenges brought by the fierce competition in iGaming. And we have the answer on how we will keep our clients and us ahead of the game: by delivering market-specific, innovative slots that make a difference.

The original version of this interview has been published by 5 Star Media on August 11, 2020, under the title Spearhead Studios: Local Games for Local Markets.