European Gaming Q&A with Thomas Wendt, Co-founder and Director of Apparat Gaming
Your tagline is that you create slots with a German accent. Can you tell us more about that?
Germany is our market. It’s where we live and work, and also the market we work for. Of course, we would have liked the regulation that came into force last year to have been different. But as is so often the case in life, there’s opportunity there.
The German market is large and remains so, despite adversities. It’s the second or third largest market in Europe. And it is also a special market in terms of gaming habits and tastes, which we understand well through our years of experience, both land-based and online. That is our ‘German accent’: from the market, for the market!
We produce games with mechanics, features and mathematics that we know German players like. But we also like to take a fresh, modern approach beyond our great graphics. Because that’s the second level of our German accent: we want to stand for what ‘Made in Germany’ represents in the best sense: quality, technology and reliability. And, of course, the famous measure of humorlessness’.
What makes for top-performing content in the German market? What themes/features/etc are players drawn to?
Quality works everywhere, of course, and it doesn’t matter where it comes from. That’s why we don’t limit ourselves to the German market. We know that features that work particularly well in Germany also find fans in the Nordic or Asian markets.
Of course, there are the essential classics that belong in every portfolio: good fruit games, Ancient Egypt-themed slots, and so on. But to stop there would be too simplistic.
Hold & Respin is definitely a feature that we think is a real gamechanger after our first release of this kind, “Total Eclipse”, and we want to explore variations of that.
We have dedicated ourselves to some German themes and myths, stories that haven’t been told hundreds of times by game designers. But we don’t want to ignore classic themes and myths, like Norse Gods, for example. We want to work internationally.
How do you add in the unmistakable German humour into your games and your studio brand?
Is there a German sense of humour? Or in other words, is there humour in Germany? We’d rather leave the answer to the readers, but let’s just say this: our industry in general, but also German regulation in particular, can only be endured with a good measure of humour. Failing that, German beer always helps.
Have regulations negatively impacted the German market? How can operators adapt?
For us, the regulations have certainly not made it easier to enter the market as a new provider. But since we are also aiming beyond the German market, we are still very optimistic. The regulation has been positive for us in that not all games available on the international market could simply be offered unchanged in Germany. But German-market demand is still high, so it is important to know the needs of the players and to be able to serve them specifically. Just lowering the RTP will not be enough.
Thanks to our many years of experience, we can cater to those needs, from the themes and game mechanics to the demand for quality. And the list of our partners, like Relax, Pariplay and United Remote, is testament to that.
Do you have any plans outside of the German market?
As I’ve said, although you have to start somewhere, we’ve been thinking beyond Germany from the very beginning. And our success in other markets is proof of that. It would be presumptuous to measure ourselves against the German automotive industry just yet. But if we did, we’d rather be Porsche than VW.
What lessons have you learned in Germany that will help you succeed elsewhere?
Always expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to regulation. And on the same subject, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. And lastly, not everything has to make sense, but you have to know how to deal with it.