Challenger Gaming Suppliers

First published iGaming Business, 18 September 2017

iGaming Tracker’s Ken Muir looks at how emerging suppliers such as Blueprint, Yggdrasil, and others are increasing their presence on operators’ main casino pages and how this competition is affecting the major providers.

Our software monitors which games, and just as importantly which supplier’s games, are present on online casino pages worldwide.

From this we can compare suppliers’ exposure, or market share, on casino sites. Over the last 12 months we have noticed several new suppliers appearing more prominently in our reports.

Market share – our definition
Before I outline our findings it is important to understand what we are quantifying. We are not measuring market share in the sense of revenue or amount of traffic to the suppliers’ games.

We are simply taking a snapshot each day of a casino site and seeing how many games are present by each supplier and aggregating the results.

We are defining market share as the aggregated number of games from that supplier that are present each day in the time-period, expressed as the percentage of the total games present each day over that time period.

The more games a supplier has present on the main casino landing page, the more revenue they are likely to generate. Using this logic it’s a good indicator of the state of the market.

Additionally each site is given equal weighting, regardless of their relative traffic. We could apply weightings based on assumed traffic volumes, but this would change the analysis from actual data to modelled data.

Sites tracked
In this analysis we have taken data from 1 August, 2016 to 3 August, 2017 on the ‘main’ casino pages of 10 popular sites in the UK (see table below for the pages we monitored).

We have analysed the games present in the top 30 most prominent positions on each page to ensure we are only tracking the key titles being pushed by the sites.

In this case, we have looked at desktop sites only. There is often a difference in game composition between an operator’s mobile and desktop sites, which we will analyse in a future article.

The purpose of this analysis is to understand the composition by supplier on casino pages where there is competition between games.

Playtech’s exclusive casino pages, which we focused on in an earlier piece, have therefore been omitted from this analysis.

We are also only looking at slot titles in this analysis; live dealer and table games such as roulette have been omitted. Trends in live game exposure will also be covered in a future article.

UK – supplier mix becoming more competitive
The table below shows the market share of the top 20 suppliers across the tracked sites in August 2017 compared to their market share of the same pages in August 2016.

As you can see there are some significant differences, however bear in mind that this is only looking at August, a traditionally quiet month for online gambling. We have isolated some of the suppliers to see if there are any trends.

Blueprint and Yggdrasil
The graph below shows the aggregated market share by week for Blueprint and Yggdrasil. The dashed line shows the trend over the 13-month period. As you can see both suppliers are steadily increasing their market share on the 10 sites in the analysis.

Although Yggdrasil’s share is small, it is increasing rapidly, reflected in the steep gradient of the trend line. Equally impressive is the growth of Blueprint game exposure, now regularly exceeding 12% of total market share of the tracked sites.

The market is also getting more competitive. The graph below shows the market share trend for Red Tiger and Lightning Box Games, both relatively new to the UK market.

While their percentage share is still low, both are showing a strong upward trend. We have also found that the market share of the smaller companies fluctuates and is much more erratic than the more established providers.

UK Market Share – Red Tiger and Lightning Box Games
(August 2016 – August 2017

The trend seems to be towards quality games rather than quantity of games. As a result the share will increase/decrease with games releases.

The graph below illustrates this with Elk Studios. The peaks reflect individual game releases as opposed to a combination. It’s likely that once new games are released in the autumn their market share will revert to autumn 2016 levels.

Whose market share is correspondingly decreasing?
Looking at the market share over the 13-month period, we can see that NetEnt’s share of games on the tracked sites has decreased significantly, as has IGT’s.

But are they really losing market share?
Even though it looks like NetEnt are losing market share it is worth bearing in mind they are still dominant in the top positions, Starburst consistently ranks as the top-ranking game alongside SG Interactive’s Rainbow Riches.

However the data shows that they are coming under increasingly fierce competition.

Another explanation may well be seasonal. NetEnt may focus more on major game releases in the autumn and winter months – traditionally the busiest time periods.

LeoVegas home page
A good illustration of the changing face of casino supplier share is the desktop home page of LeoVegas in the UK. The chart below shows which suppliers occupy which position on the LeoVegas home page by day from Aug 2016 to Aug 2017.

The colours denote different games suppliers. At the start of the year you can see a lot of green, representing NetEnt games. From the second half of the year there are more suppliers present, although throughout most of the year Starburst retains the top position.

At the end of 2016 we expanded to tracking sites in multiple countries, so are able to see if these trends persist outside of the UK.

We used the same criteria as the UK market analysis, but over a shorter period (1 January, 2017 to 31 August, 2017) and focussed on seven popular casino sites in Sweden, listed below.

NetEnt dominates market share on the sites tracked, although some other suppliers are challenging their position.

Play’n Go has seen a significant increase in presence along with Playtech (including its Quickspin and Eyecon subsidiaries) and Blueprint.

The games suppliers’ market share may differ between Sweden and the UK, but the pattern is the same – the data suggests the market is becoming more competitive.

Looking at the data it would suggest that the exposure of casino games from the major games suppliers is decreasing due to competition from new and emerging games developers.

This may not necessarily translate to a proportionate loss of revenue now, as customers may still be playing their old favourites from the likes of NetEnt and IGT.

However in the long term the decreasing exposure of games may well affect the success of the larger games suppliers.

iGaming Tracker – how it works
iGaming Tracker tracks hundreds of casino sites worldwide every day. From this data it can ascertain which games are on which sites and where they are positioned on the pages. It can also measure the market share of casino games suppliers by percentage of “real estate” on casino sites at any given date.