The entire online casino world has been waiting patiently for Quickspin to drop their new loyalty program Achievements, and we’re delighted to say that we’ve managed to sit down with their CPO, Joachim Timmermans, for a complete overview of what to expect. As one of the founders of the casino games developer, Joachim has a wealth of experience in creating and maintaining real-money video slots and social games. His current role oversees the general strategy for gameplay, amongst other tasks, so he’s the perfect person to run us through Achievements having been a key player in its birth.
Quickspin’s Achievements recently went live through the release of their latest slot game Sakura Fortune. However, before you rush over to your favourite online casino to sample this brand-new reward scheme, make sure you take the time to read Joachim’s guide to Achievements and the high hopes that Quickspin have for it in the iGaming world.
Quickspin’s Achievements Explained
Although there have been numerous works online describing how Achievements by Quickspin will work, it was great to be able to sit down with someone who’d been with the company from the very beginning. Also, it allowed us to ask some of the pertinent questions and concerns that we, and the industry as a whole, had about its distribution. Before we get into that, though, let’s tell you about how the Achievements concept was formed.
“Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is give the casino players a reward – a thank you for playing our games. We hope that we can produce better and more innovative content for them in the future.”
Where Did the Idea Come From?
The key aspect that we took away from the interview was that Quickspin are looking to give casino gamers an extra incentive to play their games. Joachim specifically mentions giving players an additional “carrot to chase” when they fire up their titles, likening the experience to video games whereby gamers can enjoy other challenges on top of the main storyline.
However, the roots of Achievements can be traced back to another area of Quickspin’s development – social casino games. Alongside their partner Plumbee, the software provider has, essentially, used a similar loyalty scheme when creating games to be played on Facebook. This program takes a very similar form to what online casino players can look forward to, with a virtual currency being used as a reward for continued play. Joachim describes this venture as “very successful”, thus it seemed right to migrate the same idea to the video slot world.
How Will Achievements Work?
There’s been a lot written about how Achievements will work, but, thankfully, it’s a very simple process. There will be 6 different Achievements within each video slot that this feature is included with, and each one is based upon a specific game event that Joachim says is “meaningful to the player”. An example of an Achievement in Sakura Fortune would be attaining a respin, and every time this happens a progress bar is filled.
Every single Achievement has 4 distinct levels – bronze, silver, gold and diamond. As you can imagine, it becomes more challenging to reach these levels as you gain promotion, but the rewards for doing so are greater. You can check each Achievement’s progress bar to ascertain when you expect to be rewarded next, and once you’ve finally gotten there, Quickspin will grant you tokens.
You can then exchange your tokens for specific in-game bonuses – such as free spins bonus rounds – giving you a completely free hit to scoop larger prizes.
What is the Purpose of Achievements by Quickspin?
Joachim suggests that, although players will probably be familiar with this kind of reward scheme due to online casino VIP programs, the difference is that Quickspin’s Achievements will be dished out in “real time”. Therefore, you won’t be waiting around for your casino freebies to be awarded, giving you instant access to the slot features you love.
“This kind of Achievements module that we’re building is the first step towards a wider gamification expansion in the industry”
Which Quickspin Slots Will Have Achievements?
One of the immediate questions that everyone was asking after Quickspin’s announcement was: which video slots will have Achievements included? Obviously, Sakura Fortune will debut it on our screens, but would this feature be part of all future slots too? Joachim gave us the good news we’d all been hoping for – “every future game will have Achievements available”.
We certainly weren’t sure whether Quickspin’s older video slots would be reworked and given the Achievements treatment, but again Joachim brought a positive update. “We would like to introduce Achievements to all our slots, our entire portfolio”. However, this will obviously be a work in progress.
The current target is 5 games to be shipped with Achievements by summer 2017 – great news! He did warn that the redesign of all slots could be dependent on positive feedback from the industry, however, from what we’ve seen we don’t envisage anything else!
How Have Casinos Embraced Achievements?
While we, as players, think that Quickspin’s Achievements feature is a fantastic step in the right direction, another area of iGaming may have had other ideas – the casinos themselves. Of course, it’s great to be given a few free hits on the best bonus rounds on Quickspin content, but it’s the operators after all that would be taking a hit. So, we asked Joachim how the operators had taken the introduction on board.
He began by confirming our suspicions – Achievements won’t be shared across the casinos. “They [online casinos] would not be happy for you to go and play at one casino and then cash in your tokens at another”. Each player will be assigned a unique ID for every casino you use Achievements at. For example, if you play Sakura Fortune at two brands, you will be assigned two anonymous IDs.
However, Joachim expects many casino websites to offer Achievements as a feature, as he emphasises that doing otherwise would be “offering a lesser product”. He does appreciate that some may find it difficult to integrate this loyalty program alongside their own casino VIP schemes, as it’s an extra cost that they would have to burden. Therefore, Quickspin are anticipating that some operators won’t include Achievements, but it will be offered to all no matter.
Quickspin Anticipate Gamification Features to be the Future of iGaming
Looking to the future of online video slots, Joachim certainly expects gamification features such as Achievements to play a massive part. However, rather than it being games developers driving this notion forward, he believes that the casinos themselves will take on a greater role.
He says this is his belief because it is the brands who have direct relationships with the gamers, so they will want to cater towards their desires. Suppliers will, instead, help the casinos by providing “building blocks” rather than complete packages such as Achievements. However, Quickspin’s new feature will help to bring the concept to the front of iGaming’s attention to kickstart this process, he suggests.
Joachim Has His Doubts About the Future of Virtual Reality Video Slots
Finally, we couldn’t resist probing Joachim about his recent comments which described the video slot virtual reality experience to be “a fad” – something he repeated in our very interview. Before you all jump up at your screens with outrage, he stated that this was his own personal belief before explaining why.
Essentially, it all boils down to virtual reality not being the perfect environment for video slots. As Joachim puts it: “To me, virtual reality doesn’t add anything extra to the slots experience, it stands in the way!”. He clarifies that the virtual reality video slots he’s played before have been excellent in their creation, but instead of focussing on the reels he was distracted by other elements.
“I still believe that slots, specifically, is not the right target for VR – I can see it working with live dealers and table games where you have a little bit of a social experience – but for slots I don’t see it.”
Furthermore, the fact that few casino players have access to virtual reality devices poses many problems for a small developer such as Quickspin, as they won’t see a return. He suggests that larger gaming companies could and should go down this route due to future potential, but he’s still unconvinced about VR’s future in slots as a whole.
I guess we’ll see whether Joachim is accurate in the near future!
Want to read the full interview? Check out the full transcript here.