Hello, Mr. Karapetrov. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Could you start by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about your role in the company?
Hello, my name is Toni Karapetrov, and I’m Head of Corporate Communications at Habanero. As an industry expert approaching a decade’s worth of experience in iGaming, I feel very much at home with the landscape. When I joined Habanero, I was met with a group of driven individuals that shared Habanero’s vision of developing high-quality slots, and this has in turn, shaped how the company manages to develop the fascinating games that make us so well-loved by players across the globe.
Give our readers some background on Habanero Systems. When was the company founded? Was there any specific goal in mind while entering the slot provider market?
Habanero was founded in 2013 by a passionate team that had one main mission – to deliver the best possible games on the market while ameliorating services that typically compliment these products. The abundance of industry knowledge and experience working with operators within this team really helped to streamline internal processes, and we have since become a dominant force in Europe, thanks to the popularity and performance of our games.
What do you believe distinguishes Habanero from other providers?
The proof is in the exciting titles that Habanero produces consistently throughout the year. We do our best to offer fantastic products, solutions, and business intelligence in terms of their reliability and scalability, which serves as a testament to the standards that we set for ourselves.
We’re driven to the point of obsession in terms of offering the best player experience, with our games combining vibrant colours and immersive sounds to create an unparalleled user journey. Our thematic effects are often localized to celebrate some of our favorite regions in the world – and they’ve proven popular the world over. After all, robust games perform well regardless of where you play them.
What are the main aspects of developing a successful slot?
For us at Habanero, it’s all about the mathematics behind the slots, which is one of the main things that impressed me when I was looking to make my move to Habanero. I was so inspired to join the team due to its ability to deliver fantastic gameplay with such incredible variety in payouts, and an impressive foundation that the company had developed to deliver highly popular and innovative games.
To your personal opinion, which slot games do you consider the top 3 most successful ones, and why do you think these games stand out from the rest?
Our titles feature strong, innovative mathematics, as well as vibrant graphics, animations, and storylines. All of this, merged with hand-crafted soundtracks and intuitive features, enables us to provide bespoke adventures to our players that show off the best of what we can offer.
Santa’s Village is a great example of this, despite being a seasonal title, it is one of our most popular titles year-round and continues to blow us away in terms of its replayability. It really is the gift that keeps on giving, and it makes my top three.
Looking at some of our more recent slot releases, the strong narratives behind Marvellous Furlongs and Mystic Fortune Deluxe, in tandem with their gorgeous visual styles, has seen them climb the rankings amongst our product offering. Being able to oversee the development from the first steps to the very last is always a thoroughly enjoyable and highly rewarding process.
The latest release was Lantern Luck which came out across your network on the 22nd of February. What is the best way to describe this title, and what do you think players will enjoy most about it? What are the key features?
Lantern Luck is an easy-to-play game with truly eye-catching visuals. The slot offers a real classic for all fans of Asian themes, where players can usher in the new year with flamboyant lanterns and exciting symbols in a bid to win big and enjoy the new year celebrations.
The recent release includes a variety of features that have become synonymous with Habanero’s offering, such as Wild symbols that trigger re-spins with locked Wilds. Each respin causes Wild symbols to move up a row, creating a thrilling and unpredictable gaming experience for players.
How was 2021 for Habanero Systems?
2021 was a crucial year for us and we expect to capitalize on the growth we saw in the year ahead. Having prepared for entry into newly regulated markets in Latin America, Africa, and Europe, while keeping a close eye on the US, we anticipate seeing fruitful results both financially and in terms of footprint.
Looking back on the past 12 months, it was disappointing to see a lack of any form of face-to-face opportunities – especially at the beginning of the year which was especially challenging. However, as the year progressed, events gradually returned, such as the SBC Summit in Barcelona, iGB Live and SiGMA in the second half of the year, it was fantastic to see everyone in the industry back together again.
Moving forward, I believe that we will continue to grow in the same way we have done over the past 12 months, with plenty of new debuts in the pipeline for us. The US market is an area that we’re watching closely, given it is a highly dynamic market with plenty of potential, we feel this jurisdiction will a key player as Habanero embarks on a more ambitious and aggressive growth strategy in 2022
What do you think player preferences will be in the next years? What impact does outside entertainment has on games demand?
The latest innovation is clearly the Metaverse, its evolution is of great interest to us, but at this particular moment, it’s still a very niche idea. As far as we’re concerned, we’re clear that our focus needs to be on delivering immersive games with great maths and fantastic gameplay, and at this point in time, nothing will distract us from doing that.
Being able to oversee the development from the first steps to the very last is always a thoroughly enjoyable and highly rewarding process.
Of course, the way that games are used and delivered will change with time. We timed this perfectly in the past, a great example of this was being at the forefront of the HTML5 evolution a decade ago when it was all about the advent of mobile. When the right time came, we identified that need and actioned it as soon as it was required.
Looking to what the Metaverse can hold, there’s plenty of potential for growth and to become a pioneer, but it’s too early in the adoption curve for us to be investing resources and energy at this time.
What can you tell us about the long-term vision and your goals for the nearest decade?
Our vision is to become a truly established global presence by continuing to expand on the process we’ve set in motion, distributing our content across every major operator group in the industry.
I believe that our business model and brand offers a unique selling point in iGaming for admirers of strong mathematics, immersive designs, pitch-perfect animations, and the very best in terms of customer service. I believe that this is what will continue to set us apart from competitors in the years to come and will define our strategy over the next five years as a truly pioneering supplier.