Castle Builder – A Real-Money Gaming Trailblazer

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Castle Builder, the epic new game from Rabcat Gambling, reaches another milestone in becoming what we believe to be the first HTML5 game available for real-money play on desktop as well as tablets and mobiles.

Castle Builder has already set a new standard for HTML5 game development through its intelligent use of casual gaming mechanics combined with the thrill of a real-money multi-reel slots game.  Specifically, it includes progressive gameplay, multiple levels and earned achievements such as ‘Master Builder’.

The theme is immersive, with players travelling through a medieval fantasyland of brave knights, beautiful princes and princesses, while striving to build castles, each more impressive than the last. There are royal weddings and 35 different castles to complete, with valuable prizes awarded throughout the journey.

This imaginative game concept was conceived by Rabcat CEO, Thomas Schleischitz, following a day spent building sandcastles with his daughter. More about its conception can be read here.

Thomas and his team at Rabcat have already built a reputation for their creativity and quality game development. As an award-winning studio they have provided art and creative services to clients such as Atari, Disney Interactive, Rockstar Games and Microsoft Studios. They are also credited with contributions to blockbuster games such as Forza Motorsport, Kinect Star Wars, and Split/Second Velocity for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  This pedigree and experience is evident within the gameplay and visuals of Castle Builder.

We spoke to Thomas about the game. He said, “Castle Builder is the most innovative, challenging and compelling game we’ve ever developed. We’re proud that, through the Odobo platform, we’re now able to bring this successful game to players worldwide, across all device channels. We understand this to be the first HTML5 game offered for real-cash play on desktop - yet another huge achievement for Castle Builder.”

As the first game to obtain this accolade, Castle Builder is leading the field as well as raising the bar in terms of innovation, graphics, fun, and a sense of player achievement. It’s a great example of how developers can use our platform services, such as “cloud save”, to retain player progress server-side. This enables players to return to game sessions from exactly where they left off, even if they are resuming play on a different device.

The team at Odobo has been delighted to work with Rabcat on this project and we share their excitement regarding its success.

Castle Builder is available now to play for free at Odobo Play and as a real-money game on all devices with bet365.

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Welcome iOS 7.1

Last week, Apple released iOS 7.1. With user adoption rates already surpassing 20%, we were quick to investigate how our development community would be affected and what new opportunities this version presents.

One positive addition is a modification to how Safari handles web apps: it makes development easier, improves the look of games and enhances the player experience. Better still, you do not need to change a thing; we’ve already incorporated all relevant changes into the GDK and have pushed it live.

In this article, we cover some iOS 7.0 history, our prior solution, and the future ahead with 7.1.

iOS 7.0 Safari: a brief history

In iOS 7.0, Mobile Safari hid the address bar and changed the behaviour of both full-screen browsing and full-screen mode. Although the idea behind full-screen browsing on iPhone was great, it was originally designed for scrollable webpages, not full-screen web apps such as media players and games. For gamers and developers this presented more of a challenge than with the previous version of iOS.

Although the changes impacted both device orientations, landscape presented the greatest need for a workaround: if a user tapped the top or bottom of the screen, the browser bars would activate, reducing the screen real estate, interrupting and obscuring the game or application. To complicate matters further, it was not possible to launch the game in full-screen mode.

iOS 7.0 Safari: a temporary solution

Since no browser event was fired when the browser bars appeared, workarounds had to poll the visible browser area for each frame (using requestAnimationFrame). This identified when browser bars were both visible and unsought. Once detected, the content was resized to allow scrolling, disabled the app, and presented a ‘swipe up’ message to the user.

Once the user swiped up, the app would detect that the visible browser area had been increased, re-enabling and resizing the content back to full-screen.

This provided a solution; however, it was a messy hack.

On the design side, developers had to change their game design practices to avoid the top and bottom areas (each ~100px high) for any interactive elements. This prevented users from triggering the bars. While this reduced the frequency of which this feature occurred in apps, it still presented a user experience challenge.

To provide a more natural experience to players, we provided direct feedback to Apple in hopes of creating web app development extensions.

Safari - full-screen ahead

iOS 7.1 arrived with a little-publicised gem for every HTML5 developer: minimal-ui.

In the iOS 7.1 release notes, under Safari, you will find the following:

A property, minimal-ui, has been added for the viewport meta tag key that allows minimizing the top and bottom bars on the iPhone as the page loads. While on a page using minimal-ui, tapping the top bar brings the bars back. Tapping back in the content dismisses them again.

For example, use <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=1024, minimal-ui”>.

This small addition literally changes the game. Simply adding minimal-ui to our viewport’s meta tag (something automatically handled by the GDK) now solves the challenges presented in iOS 7.0 with one easy step - and being native, it performs exceptionally well.

Now, running HTML5 full-screen apps on iOS 7.1 looks and feels great without the need for complicated workarounds sitting behind the UI.

Apple has also gone a step further and removed the ‘dead-zone’ at the bottom of the display, which means that users can only activate the browser bars by tapping the top of the screen. When this happens, the bars appear, with a darkened overlay covering the app below. This provides the user with a true native feeling of being ‘out of the app’. Simply tapping in the content space will intuitively bring back the full-screen app.

So whatever you feel about iOS 7.1 in general, for gaming enthusiasts and HTML5 developers, this new update is one we’re applauding. 

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ICE – A Great Gaming Success

At ICE 2014, Odobo aimed to showcase the great games our developers are producing, maximise business opportunities and show the industry that we’re delivering on the vision we laid out last year. The industry has reacted positively to our innovative business model and we’ve seen rapid growth throughout 2013. ICE certainly delivered on its potential to highlight how far we’ve come over the past year.

We’d like to thank the developers who travelled from a wide range of countries to be with us to demonstrate their games at our stand. For us, this turned ICE into a real-world example of exactly what Odobo is about: our developer partners showing great games on our platform.

The experience was a world apart from last year when we had just emerged on the scene and revealed three concept games. This year, we were in the privileged position to promote 68 games from our current pipeline, exhibit a multitude of games that are now live with bet365 and present the inner workings of the Odobo model. We’re grateful for the interest of those who stopped by and, with the help of our partners, we look forward to a successful 2014.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to speak to us, please contact us at hello@odobo.com for more information.

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THE SPECTACULAR: ICE EXHIBITION

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Odobo is prepared for another exciting show at the ICE exhibition in London next week.  ICE is the largest show of its kind in Europe with over 500 exhibiting companies and thousands of attendees expected to head to the Excel centre over the three-day event.  Odobo is exhibiting at booth N13-160 and invites anyone interested in meeting our team and learning more about our business to visit us.  Details about the free-to-attend event and pre-registration can be found here.

This year, we’ve also invited a number of our talented developers to join us at our stand in order to showcase the games they are producing with Odobo. Dozens of game development studios have chosen Odobo for their games development and we are proud to offer a stage at ICE to showcase their work to the gaming industry. We’re thrilled that, working together, we’ll be featuring around 70 games already in the production pipeline for 2014, including 16 that are currently live and 12 nearing completion.

Joining us at our booth will be:

  • AppleJack Gaming
  • Core Gaming
  • The Games Company
  • Genesis Gaming Inc
  • Ingenuity Games
  • Rabcat
  • Revolver
  • Trimark

For gaming operators, Odobo now offers an expanding marketplace to discover and license great new games. These games stem from a rapidly increasing number of talented game studios and are built on a single development framework.  Odobo representatives will be on hand to demonstrate our platform and introduce you to our unique approach to delivering you more games content from more developers. Come and talk to us.

If you’re attending ICE and would like to meet us, or the great studios we work with, visit us at stand N13-160 or email hello@odobo.com to arrange a meeting.

Can’t wait for ICE? Find out more information about us here.

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Quickspin’s Big Bad Wolf Scoops Game of the Year Accolade

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Big Bad Wolf, an innovative slot with superior graphics, was last night awarded the title of EGR’s Game of the Year. The award, sponsored by Odobo, is new for 2013 and Quickspin stormed to victory, securing over half of the 197 votes cast. The final decision, made by industry peers, is indicative of the respect this game commands. Big Bad Wolf was commended for its production quality, creative theme and entertainment value.

Odobo congratulates Quickspin on its impressive win, which came with a £25,000 sponsorship credit towards game development on the Odobo platform. We’re very much looking forward to the collaboration and the exciting prospect of delivering Quickspin’s next big hit to devices worldwide.

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Shortlist Announced for EGR’s Game of the Year Award, Sponsored by Odobo

This will be the first year that a developer receives the newly coveted title of Game of the Year at the EGR Awards. The award is judged on game innovation, marketing value, production quality and revenue.

Twenty-one nominations were received during the two-week entry period and the overall calibre impressed the judges. The quality of games under consideration highlighted the creativity coming into the sector. This also presented a challenge for the panel as they debated which games should make the final six. Following a lengthy discussion, only the very best remained in play and Odobo is pleased to announce the finalists of the inaugural Game of the Year award category.

The games selected for this prestigious shortlist are:

Big Bad Wolf (Quickspin)

This is a slot game offering innovative gameplay, superior graphics and sounds. It stands out due to its production quality and great storyline, which keep players engaged.

Blackjack Pro/Ace (Playtech)

Blackjack Pro/Ace is the only table game to make the list this year. Playtech’s game is well designed with advanced controls that make for quicker and more natural game play. This delivers an immersive and true-to-life player experience.

CASTLE BUILDER (RABCAT Gambling)

CASTLE BUILDER is a hit with both players and operators that has delivered incredible revenue performance. The progressive fantasy game features multiple achievements and quests; thrilling royal weddings with increasing bonuses, and a vast world that spans 3 kingdoms.

Elements: The Awakening (Net Entertainment)

As one of the most innovate games available in 2013 Elements deserves its place. This game leaves traditional slots standing with out-of-this-world 3D graphics and a truly creative theme.

MONOPOLY PLUS (IGT)

Attracting 20-30% of IGT’s total players, MONOPOLY PLUS is a phenomenal success story that is played 200-300 times a minute.

Super Graphics Upside Down (Realistic Games)

A well-designed slot game that became the number one grossing slot with two operators. It’s been a success with players during 2013 and deserves its place on the shortlist.

Who would get your vote?

The winner will be announced at awards night on 25th November 2013 in London.

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Odobo Announces HTML5 Games with bet365 

Odobo is proud to announce that its inaugural operator partnership is with one of the world’s largest online gambling groups, bet365. This announcement is the culmination of many months of great work from both teams and represents a real milestone for Odobo.

bet365 has signed-up to distribute a selection of new games and provide them with exposure to millions of players. Each new game selected will have been produced by experienced game development studios, which have been created using Odobo’s Game Development Kit (GDK).

Since integrating the Odobo platform, bet365 is already offering two new game titles: The Legend of Olympus, from well-known game studio RABCAT, and Baccpo, developed by AppleJack Gaming. Both of these games have been created using the latest HTML5 technologies and practices. 

Games produced using HTML5 are delivered via the player’s browser ensuring that they have advanced compatibility and support play on iOS, Android and Windows as well as via desktops, tablets and mobiles. bet365 can now access and browse the Odobo Marketplace, which operates as a new B2B “app store”, specifically aimed at real-money gambling games. Every game bet365 selects is fully compliant with the latest regulations and available in multiple languages.

Odobo is delighted that so many gaming operators have responded positively to the opportunity to distribute HTML5 games content from a wider variety of talented game developers in this way. Odobo’s model opens up a new business opportunity for game developers worldwide to produce games for the US$35bn/GBP£23bn global online gambling industry. The partnership generates royalties for developers, which are received based on both game play and referrals.

Games on the Odobo platform can be discovered and played for free worldwide on Odobo Play (www.odoboplay.com). For applicable markets, it also gives players the opportunity to click through to partners like bet365 if they would like to wager real money.

Odobo is also in the process of scheduling multiple new platform integrations to expand global distribution for real-money games content, so please subscribe to our blog or twitter feed for future updates. 

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Odobo Announces Its Sponsorship of the Inaugural EGR Operators’ Game of the Year Award

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Real-money gambling is about excitement, entertainment and the chance to be a winner. Other forms of gaming, whether social, casual or console gaming, have seen incredible leaps forward in quality and sophistication, to the point where a truly immersive and engaging experience is expected by players. The regulated real-money gambling industry may be playing catch up in some respects, but a number of developers are starting to really innovate and produce high-quality games that entertain today’s gamblers and new types of players. Mobile has also lived up to its hype with more players seeking games that are supported across multiple devices. This is having a distinct impact on the way new games are being produced and after several years online, it appears that the age of multi-device, real-money gaming has truly arrived. 

To a huge extent, this is facilitated by the hard work and skill of game developers who are committed to producing ever more sophisticated and entertaining games within stringent regulatory requirements. Many of these real-money games are starting to command parity with the quality and engagement found amongst the very best of social, casual and console games. However, to see more game developers participate and innovate within the real-money sector, more needs to be done by the industry to support this trend.   

At Odobo, the Developer Program and Games Marketplace for the online real-money gambling industry, we are providing the first program designed specifically to encourage and support the efforts of talented game developers, whether or not they have developed in the real-money gambling sector before. Supported by our sophisticated technology and cutting edge Games Development Kit (GDK), we are building the ecosystem for more game developers to push the boundaries of quality and innovation.

Odobo understands that the focus must remain on great games. These require significant work, skill and an element of magic. Whether this is ultimately conveyed via the design, art, sound or concept, great games should deliver an exciting and compelling experience for players, underpinned by a sound maths model. It’s because of this that Odobo is also proud to announce its support of the inaugural Operators’ Game of the Year award, to be presented at this year’s EGR awards night. It is high time the real-money gaming industry got the opportunity to recognise the hard work that goes into producing cutting edge content and to officially acknowledge those who are doing it, in style.

The award is open to any real-money game available via a registered operator and will be judged on innovation, game quality, marketing value and revenue. Studios and producers are encouraged to nominate themselves with the shortlist being revealed on 18th November.

The winner will be judged by a panel of industry experts, including the editorial team at EGR. The coveted title of Operators’ Game of the Year will then be awarded to the winner along with a generous £25,000 of credit towards future game development using the Odobo platform. This includes access to Odobo’s advanced GDK, its game development and QA team (who will ensure their game works on any supporting device as well as providing rigorous testing), translations for foreign language markets and regulatory support for their next big hit. 

Criteria for entry:

  • Open to all real-money gambling (RMG) games
  • Game developers and studios can enter their own titles
  • The game must be live and available to play as a RMG game with at least one registered operator on the date of entry
  • Only entries received by EGR between: 00:00, 25th October 2013 and 23:59, 13th November 2013 will be considered 

Key diary dates:

  • Deadline for entry: 09:00, 13th November 2013
  • Shortlist announcement: 18th November 2013
  • Winner’s announcement: 25th November 2013

What to do next:

If you are a Game Developer and would like to be considered for the award, please download the entry form.

Good luck.

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Core Gaming Makes the Jump to Odobo with Evel Knievel®

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Gibraltar 4 July 2013 - CORE Gaming  - a leading developer of HTML5 mobile and tablet casino games - today announced a partnership with Odobo, the new games development platform and marketplace for the regulated gambling industry.

CORE Gaming, whose clients include Sky Vegas and Paddy Power, are leading developers of slot, fixed-odds games and table games for operators in global regulated markets and are currently developing a portfolio of proprietary HTML5 casino games.

Odobo is the new HTML5 game development platform for the regulated gambling industry.  Developers produce regulatory-compliant games using Odobo’s Game Development Kit (GDK), and then distribute them to operators through the Odobo Marketplace – the B2B content “app store” for the regulated gambling industry.  The developer gains royalties from gaming revenue and has the option of earning additional affiliate revenue by driving their own player traffic to the operators.

CORE Gaming’s first production powered by Odobo’s GDK will be its brand new slot game based around the exploits of legendary stunt rider Evel Knievel.

imageManaging Director at CORE Gaming, Justin Chamberlain said:  

CORE already produces HTML5 games for several of the world’s largest regulated gambling operators but the big benefit of Odobo is that they have standardised the development framework and deployment technologies for the industry.  With Odobo we will build a single client for each new game and can then license it to any gaming operator on the Odobo platform. Odobo simplifies and supports every element of how we produce and monetize HTML5 games within the real-money gambling industry.  With Odobo, CORE can produce more games, for more gaming operators, and earn more revenue through their unique model.”

Odobo’s platform has been built from the ground up specifically for the regulated gaming industry and includes a number of cutting edge server-side technologies including authentication handling, localisation, multi-currency support, game-state memory across sessions and devices via the Odobo cloud, and custom game logic certified to meet industry standards.

Chamberlain added:

“Odobo really understands the challenges game developers face in real-money gambling beyond just the game development itself.  With Odobo Play™ they provide an optimised marketing channel for us to promote the availability of our games with gaming operators and take control of our revenues by referring new players.  Through the reports offered in the developer portal we gain visibility on game play activity and the revenues we are earning from royalties and affiliate commissions.  With Odobo we have, in one platform, all the tools and resources necessary to enable us to build our business in real-money gambling.

According to a recent report from H2 Gambling Capital, when game developers are also active in marketing their games, and referring new players to the regulated online casino operators, they gain access to additional revenues in the form of typical affiliate commission of 25-30% of the player’s lifetime value. The Odobo Promote affiliate program rewards developers and marketing partners for driving players to game profile pages on Odobo Play and onto the gaming operators that have licensed the games.

Odobo CEO Ashley Lang, commented:

“We designed Odobo to address two key problems; the largest gaming operators desperately seek new HTML5 games to offer their customers, and traditionally the route to bring these games to market for game developers has been fraught with challenges and unnecessary expense.  The rapid growth of our program is evidence that we are solving important issues for developers and operators.  We are very proud to add CORE Gaming to the expanding list of top-tier game development studios that choose Odobo to grow their business in real-money gambling. We look forward to bringing many great CORE games, such as Evel Knievel, to millions of players worldwide through our participating operators.”

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The Odobo developer program is now working with multiple game studios, producers and developers worldwide who wish to participate in the multi-million pound real-money gambling opportunity.

For more information on developing games for the regulated gambling industry please visit https://www.odobo.com/developers/.

For information on licensing games from CORE and other participating Odobo developers for your licensed online gaming business please visit: https://www.odobo.com/operators/

For a free copy of our research report, ‘Opportunities for Game Developers in Regulated Real-Money Online Gambling’ click here.

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Real-Money Online Gambling Emerges as Massive Global Revenue Opportunity for Games Developers According to New Report by H2 Gambling Capital and Odobo

Download research report here.

San Francisco 28 March 2013 – ‘Opportunities for Game Developers in Regulated Real-Money Online Gambling’, a new report commissioned by Odobo and researched by H2 Gambling Capital outlines the size of the global regulated online gambling market and provides new data to expose the scale of the opportunity for games development studios to tap into the most lucrative sector in games monetization.

Regulated real-money online gambling (RMG), excluding lottery and skill-based games, already generates almost $30bn in gross win internationally, with the UK and Europe accounting for 54% of the market.  Recent legislation passed in several US states supports licensing for online gambling and, according to H2, means that by 2017 the US may already represent up to 30% of the global online gaming market and generate gross win just over $7.4bn, this will continue to grow annually.

Revenues in real-money online gambling are driven by player activity on digital games content with the developers of the games earning royalties of 7-15% of the gaming revenue generated by play of their games.  Unlike social and casual gaming (where revenues are generated from a small subset of players), the vast majority of customers of RMG operators are paying revenue-generating players.  This royalty alone results in Average Revenues Per User (ARPUs) for the game developer of 30-40 times higher than social gaming.

When game developers are also active in marketing their games and referring new players to the regulated online casino operators they gain access to additional revenues in the form of affiliate commissions of 25-30% of the player lifetime value.  With Odobo, developers earn this additional income not only when referred player play the developer’s game(s), but on all gaming activity for the lifetime of the player.  This amounts to an additional $350-$500 in developer revenue per player on top of game-play royalties.  The combination of the game royalties and affiliate commissions can push the monthly ARPUs in excess of $35 per player.

H2 Gambling Capital also estimates the pace of convergence between real-money gambling and social casino gambling which, when combined, generated just over $30bn in 2012 and are forecast to grow to over $40bn by 2015.  For social casino game developers and operators, additional revenues from RMG can fuel multi-channel marketing strategies providing a lift to all forms of monetization and helping the developers active in RMG to have an economical competitive advantage over other developers who are not active in this sector.

Odobo has streamlined the process by which games content for the RMG industry is created, licensed, distributed, marketed and monetized through a growing network of the largest established regulated gambling operators and their millions of funded-account customers. The Odobo Developer Program provides the GDK framework for the production of compliant and certified HTML5 games content and the Odobo Marketplace simplifies distribution of the games content to the industry.  The consumer-facing Odobo Play portal provides an optimized marketing channel for the game developer to take an active role in marketing the availability of RMG versions of their games with participating operators in regulated markets.

The new revenue opportunity in online real-money gambling is too big for companies in the games business to overlook.  The H2 Gambling Capital report is free from Odobo.

Please click here to download the PDF or email press@odobo.com for your copy.

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