Neko Games is an iGaming software provider specializing in Video Bingo. Initially hot within the Latin American market, these games are piquing the interest of online casino players around the globe. Appealing to fans of video slots and traditional bingo alike, the special features and general mechanics of Video Bingo deliver a winning combination. Learn more about the company and its games of chance in this exclusive interview with Sebastian Perrier, Neko Games.
Q: Like many promising studios, the company quickly joined hands with Microgaming, becoming one of their trusted partners. How did you begin working with them?
A: Neko’s three founding partners have been in the online gaming industry for over 10 years each, mainly working within casino operators. There, we realized that most games were designed in Europe and for mature players, so we decided to create a game studio focusing on building games for the less mature iGaming markets such as Asia, Africa and Latin America. But creating games is a totally different business than distributing them, so we decided to look for the best distributing options, and of course, Microgaming was our number one option; they are one of the largest distribution networks in the world. Today, thanks to Microgaming, operators can launch our games without requiring any API integration or signing additional paperwork; they just go to Microgaming’s Client Zone and in a few clicks can put our games into their casino lobbies.
Q: Video Bingo was already popular in the Latin American market. Since the distribution deal with Microgaming, have you seen an increase in demand within other markets?
A: It is a category better known in Spain, Mexico and Brazil, but this is not why we develop video bingo games. The main concept is that the bingo games’ mechanics are globally known and very easy to understand. For example, the basic winning patterns are the same as in traditional bingo: complete one line, two lines or a full bingo ticket to win a prize. Therefore, our games use the bingo mechanics to offer immature players a game they can relate to, easy to understand and very familiar. And this is not limited to Latin America - we are seeing strong gameplay in a wide range of regions.
Q: Your games are widely available among online casinos. Do you find it difficult to convert traditional bingo players to try Video Bingo?
A: That’s a good question! No, our games are actually the perfect bridge to engage traditional 90-ball bingo players with casino games. Traditional multiplayer bingo users are there to socialize but the game itself becomes slow and boring with time (and it’s usually not a very profitable game for the operators). With our games, players can easily transition to playing more casino-oriented games by finding in video bingos similar mechanics they already trust and enjoy.
“We’re interested in creating games that players around the world can relate to, understand and trust.”
Q: What is it about Video Bingo that inspires your team?
A: We’re interested in creating games that players around the world can relate to, understand and trust. Above all, we believe that there is a blue ocean of players who would enjoy iGaming as entertainment but are currently not fully aware of how it works. We’re inspired by the opportunity to simplify the casino experience and enable more people to enjoy it. We believe that video bingos are a good channel for this because the bingo games’ mechanics are easy to understand. Also, bingo is a globally known and a socially-accepted game. While in less mature markets there is a negative preconception about gambling as an entertainment proposal, bingo is typically seen as a more friendly game.
Q: Tell us about the features included in the games like Free Balls and Mystery Prizes.
A: I’d like just to explain (for those who are not familiar with these games) that video bingo games have two stages. The initial draw, where 30 balls are drawn from the 90-ball bingo container, and players with only that one spin can win multiple prizes by matching several winning patterns. If they are close to winning bigger prizes, the game then offers a second stage - the extra ball stage. In this stage, the players can continue to buy more balls for an additional prize. Typically, players will be able to buy about 10 more extra balls in each round. Some of these balls can be randomly free of charge: that is what we would call a “free ball” feature. Furthermore, when players are buying extra balls, the game might award them with random additional prizes, which are called mystery prizes.
Q: Each title has an experience level including recreational, intermediate, and experienced. Is Video Bingo considered a game of skill?
A: No, the bingo and video bingo games are games of chance; they have a random number generator (certified by independent gaming laboratories). Video bingos cannot be considered a skill game. But our portfolio contemplates different player profiles, from adventure-seeking users to more time-on-device players. With this in mind, we created an initial set of three games, all for the less experienced players, but for different profiles. While Fu88 is for more adrenaline-seeking players (it has higher prices and volatility) Pachinko targets recreational or time-on-device players. Then, in the middle of these two, players will find Super Showball, which has a mid-volatility and mid-prices of extra balls and prices. So we completed our initial offering thinking about a wider variety of player profiles.
Q: Can you tell us about upcoming projects and/or game launches?
A: Yes, of course. In the near future, you'll see our games featuring more global themes, more exciting features and also branding with internationally renowned names. Thanks to the success of our initial titles, strong IP owners are trusting us with their assets to expand their brands into the video bingo category. We are very honored by this opportunity, and we believe that the best is yet to come.