Interviews & Editorials
NSoft: COVID-19 - implications on Gaming industry
Comprehensive insight into the market specifics
NSoft’s latest perspective on the business implications caused by Coronavirus pandemic. The articles are intended to provide a comprehensive insight into the market specifics during this period and are provided by NSoft business team in accordance with the regions they operate in.
Given the fact that the outbreak is moving fast, the current perspective might become outdated soon and the team will update it regularly as the situation evolves. The first line is Mr. Dario Jurcic, NSoft CBO, explaining NSoft’s support to its partners and employees.
Dario Jurcic, NSoft CBO - NSoft’s relief package
April 2, 2020
Following on the NSoft’s offering of online Virtual Sports Betting products and Draw-based games completely free of charge for the period from April 1 to June 1, 2020, the company’s CBO, Dario Jurcic has shared his thoughts on this specific global industry impact, company’s strategy and support to its clients during this challenging period.
NSoft is committed to tackling the challenges that COVID-19 imposes to our industry and the world in general. For the past ten years, we have been building an internationally spread out team and a global network of partners in order to disperse business risk and ensure growth, but the current situation is truly unprecedented and is a formidable threat to any company. In the time of uncertainty, there are two commitments we can be absolutely sure about.
First is, that we have done and will be doing everything we can to protect the health of our employees. The employees are working remotely from the safety of their homes for weeks, and the company has enforced a strong business continuity plan practically and operationally aligned with the wellbeing of our international team. Having our employees secured this brings us to, and assures, our second commitment - continuing strong support for our partners. We have been closely working with our partners to jointly combat the turmoil since day one and assure the best possible customer experience and support.
The lack of sporting events globally and the mass closing of retail across all the markets lead us to a bold yet much-appraised move - we offered all our partners and future partners a completely free of charge set of our renowned virtual products online for the months of April and May 2020. The traditional retailers had little options but to go completely online and we have aligned our resources to quickly and effectively ease the transition, but also to make the best out of the free virtual offer we have. The reception from our partners has been great, and it truly gives us the pride to see how much confidence they have in our team. In addition to virtual games, we are constantly expanding the suite of alternative products to maximize the offer. A close relationship with Sportradar assures addition of new markets and eSports offer on our Seven platform, but also the out of the box casino and live-casino integrations means our partners have plenty to offer to their clients.
We will be continuing to work closely with our partners, monitor the market changes in cooperation with our international team and agilely adapt to all the challenges that might arise. NSoft is and will continue to be a true industry leader and a trusted partner despite all the challenges the industry is facing.
Ivan Rozic - The industry will bounce back soon
April 3, 2020 - Next in line is Mr. Ivan Rozic, NSoft SVP Global Sales & Business Development, who has given his long term forecast on the main repercussions that COVID-19 will bring upon gaming industry.
Death of small retail operators and providers
Most of them will not shut their business down during the crisis itself but the financial burdens they will have to take upon themselves post-crisis will likely bring a lot of them to the ground by end of 2020. Bigger operators with larger cash reserves will easily take over their retail locations and their workers once everything is back to normal or simply buy them off for next to nothing. The same applies for providers that depend heavily on retail business especially the ones focused on a single market.
Increase in M&A
The industry has been steadily progressing down the M&A path for years now and COVID-19 will definitely move gaming further down that same road.
More focus on online
The knee-jerk reaction from both the operators and providers, at least the ones that make it through COVID-19, will be an even stronger focus on the online channel. There will be no more retail-only operators and all providers will be overwhelmed with online projects.
Innovation in online
There will be new exciting products ranging from new and fresh casino content to content that will require a category of its own. Even the existing products like the sportsbook will pay closer attention to obscure sports like soap soccer or quidditch.
A more prominent spot for virtual games online
I have seen a lot of websites placing virtual sports and virtual draw-based games especially in Casino segment of their site. This will probably not be the case anymore since virtuals are currently the ventilators for every online sportsbook business.
What’s NSoft’s support to its partners?
We have two approaches. One is very broad and applies equally to all our partners and the second one is more bespoke.
The first approach is that we are offering all our in-house virtual products completely for free for a period of two months starting April 1st. It wasn’t an easy decision since the online segment of our products will be the sole revenue driver for an unknown period of time but we really wanted our partners to know that we are here for them in the worst moments.
The second approach is very personalized for each partner. We listen to their biggest challenges and threats at the moment and we offer unique solutions or at least as much as we can do from our side. NSoft will surely be financially hit by COVID-19 but we are confident that we will come out of it even stronger by taking good care of our partners.
April 6,2020 - NSoft’s overview of Central Western Europe, South-Eastern and East Europe through the eyes of NSoft’s sales team, Mr. Karlo Kralj, Mr. Dalibor Ostojic and Mr. Vladimir Popovic.
Commenting on the biggest challenges within the region in the past month Dalibor says: ‘’All countries closed their retail businesses in accordance to the state provisions in action, and this is certainly the biggest challenge for all, operators, players and software providers.’’
Explaining the NSoft solution to mitigate this demanding period Vladimir emphasizes the current promotion of free online Virtual games over the upcoming two months: ‘’Clients appreciate having such support and not having to think about setup fees, minimum monthly fees and monthly revenue share invoices for 2 months!’’ Giving a forecast on possible Region’s market recovery, all three Regional Managers share the opinion that many retail companies, from all around the world, are facing significant losses since it is still uncertain how long this period will last and when will the World’s sports events begin. Vladimir also adds: ‘’ The Region's market recovery strongly depends on easing up on Government imposed movement restrictions due to COVID-19. Even though the online offer is up and running, if this lasts longer than expected, it’s still uncertain what will be the end repercussions on the gaming industry.
Karlo is a bit more optimistic saying: ‘’ In accordance with my predictions, after two months of quarantine, I'm pretty much sure that until the end of 2020 everything will get back into the old perspective, even better perspective.’’
This situation has brought an entirely new perspective to the gaming world. Companies are making strategic moves and helping their partners with individual approaches. NSoft has taken this opportunity to focus more on its online business aspect. Dalibor also add: ‘’NSoft’s focus is not solely on Virtual games but also on casino games, slot, poker, etc.’’ As Vladimir explains: ‘’ Every market has different customs and habits. Customizing and adopting our existing games to the partners’ local standards is a huge NSoft’s asset.
To conclude, Karlo says:’’ It is certain that no one is happy with this situation, not even the online-based companies due to the global economic failure. But still, I’m certain that the industry recovery, as soon the coronavirus crisis is over, will be fast and productive. Vladimir shares Karlos’s opinion: ‘’ Apart from having retail operations suspended, our customers are having their online operations running. It is really important to emphasize, once again, the NSoft’s offer to switch the business online and get NSoft’s Virtuals running for free during the upcoming two months.’’
April 7, 2020 - NSoft’s overview of African market through the eyes of NSoft’s sales team, Mr. Davor Konjevod, Mr. Marko Dzoic, Mr. Patrick Alike And Mr. Aluwani Mukhudwana.
Expressing an opinion on the biggest challenges caused by the Corona outbreak in Africa’s market during the past month our Sales Managers agree it was the closure of most of the retail shops around Africa and the suspension of sporting events around the globe.
Mr. Dzoic adds: ‘’At the beginning of March the challenge was a smaller Sportsbook offer and that was the main problem in the first two weeks. Due to the decreased Sportsbook offer, the traffic in sports betting was around 30% down during that time. By the end of March, the problem was even bigger because most of the countries started closing the betting shops.” Mr. Mukhudwana added: “Since internet penetration in Africa is much weaker than in the rest of the world, most of that traffic couldn’t go on the web.’’
Speaking about NSoft’s outreach to its client’s during this period Patrick Alike says: ‘’NSoft has already given a helping hand in mitigating the crisis by offering our online virtual games integration and set up free for two months. I believe that's a bold step to help our prospective and current clients to push our products deeper into the market.”
Davor's thoughts on market recovery: ’’Products like our virtual games can help now struggling sportsbooks, that’s clear, but since the pandemic is just starting in Africa I don’t believe it will
recover fully this year.’’ Mr. Mukhudwana is more optimistic as he believes that things will return back to normal by September.
Marko is looking forward to seeing his clients soon: “Africa is being less hit with Corona than most of the world and having in mind a lot of restrictions in most countries, even in those with a small number of infected individuals, I am expecting that African economy will not suffer a lot. As soon as major sports leagues begin I am expecting the fast recovery to the state where everything was two months ago. If this happens before the beginning of June then around September I’m looking forward to seeing our partners and continuing where we stopped.’’
April 8, 2020 - NSoft’s overview of the LATAM market through the eyes of NSoft’s Regional Sales Representative Mr. Carlos Vargas
The coronavirus landed in Latin America on February 26, when Brazil confirmed a case in São Paulo. Since then, governments across the region have taken an array of actions to protect their citizens and contain COVID-19’s spread. Aside from the health risks, there will be an economic impact as well. The biggest challenge in LATAM, as well as worldwide, is the lack of sporting events that are being canceled or postponed due to the Corona outbreak and what resulted in the closure of retail shops. This situation has mostly affected small and medium operators.
NSoft has had the right decision at the right moment to offer an emergency solution to its partners and potential clients. The offer of giving virtual games for free on the web, for the period of two months, has proved to be the right decision since the clients have embraced it extremely well. It is a lifetime opportunity that includes fast integration and the best terms, and it has, of course, caused a massive response from the clients.
However, it is still pretty unclear for how long will it take for the situation to improve significantly but if there is something that characterizes LATAM, it is that we succeed despite everything, which is why a positive and optimistic environment is perceived all around the Region.
April 9, 2020 - NSoft’s overview of Asian markets through the eyes of NSoft’s Regional Sales Representative, Mr. Roko Coko.
COVID19, which has now hit 1.5 million cases worldwide, has already had a significant impact on China’s gambling market and those of neighbouring Macau and Singapore. The lack of sports offered to the market/clients has caused the significant issues within the industry. The general situation, as everywhere, is causing the Asian Governments to impose different measures to tackle this problem, including the quarantine.
The situation in Asia very much depends on sports events therefore it will start with recovery when the most popular sports for betting, leagues and competitions resume.
In order to help our existing and new clients NSoft has undertaken an appreciated and generous offer of free Virtual products for the period of two months that will help our partners fill the gap and keep them engaged with their customers. This situation has offered NSoft an opportunity to penetrate Online business, achieve good online client foundation with our Virtual offering and the possibility to expand as the market bounces back.
I believe we are in a situation where we have to work hand in hand with our partners and go from one case to another, evaluate situations and possible opportunities and move forward.
Companies are looking in all directions for products which would soften the lack of real sports such as E-sport, virtual and casino games. Whenever this situation eases and the market starts recovering, and it certainly will soon, the sports leagues will come back on. New starting dates of Euro 2020, Olympics and many more will be announced soon as I see the decline of this world pandemic, especially in Asia. I expect the market to start recovering pretty soon.
In accordance to my expectations, some companies will have problems for a while but some of them will bounce back as new players will emerge and the cycle will start again. We just need to be patient for a little while, continue working as NSoft’s Board measures have brought us an elevated success with the offer of free Virtual games.
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