Number-based games have always provided a bridge between the sportsbook and casino sectors for NSoft, whose unique offering includes Roulette, Next Six, Lucky X and Keno, as well as Lucky Six – still its most lucrative game despite launching almost a decade ago.
Now more than ever, NSoft has seen the advantages of number-based games acknowledged by sportsbook operators left short by the huge drop-off in live sports action.
SBC News took the opportunity to speak with NSoft’s Product designer Ivo Marinovic, a creator of Lucky Six and many other NSoft games. We asked him a few questions about the history of Lucky Six and why it is still so popular amongst operators and players.
SBC: Thanks for talking to us, Ivo. First of all, how did you get into product design?
IM: At that time, 12 years ago, NSoft was a small company. I had been interested in art and design from an early age and motion design was just an extension of that. 3D design, modeling, animation, processing followed by after-effects compositing are the things that caught my attention immediately.
One thing was leading to another. I found myself in front of a challenge when Igor (NSoft founder) gave me a sketch in a few sentences of what is now NSoft’s Lucky Six.
There is an interesting story behind it. Immediately after a sketch, we had a client, and a deadline, an impossible one – a month. Of course, nobody believed we would make it – hence the deadline.
In the beginning, I could do a couple of key-frames and would get lost. Tommy, our genius but silent developer, was very patient and after a few exhausting and sleepless nights we managed it, the client got the MVP and what was even more crazy – he liked it.
SBC: The successful launch of a gaming product is no small feat – even after you’d managed to meet this “impossible” deadline. How did it get recognised on the market? What about the first trade-show and the initial feedback from clients?
IM: Every company is different. Every market is different. But every successful product launch example has one thing in common: a story behind it. Our first trade show participation was a real road trip to ICE London in 2011.
We had only heard about it, but four of us packed a couple of PC’s with Lucky Six – created in June 2010 – and some other products and off we went. To London, by car, with no marketing materials. We were fascinated with the variety of offered products but managed to gather a few leads. We were in the game.
And suddenly, there were 30+ people in the company. The business extended and income multiplied. Players loved it, but so did the competition. It was necessary to keep the pace in front, to make frequent upgrades. Version after version, Lucky Six has become the industry standard.
SBC: Why do you think Lucky Six has held its appeal for such a long time? Have you made significant upgrades to the product over the years?
IM: When you’re launching a new product, it’s critical to keep key internal project managers and users in the loop, asking for feedback along the way. Asking a few trusted clients to test your product will give you incredibly valuable insight and will tell you a lot about your product. You’ll get feedback on the product appearance, usability and performance that is better learned before launch than after.
Lucky Six was launched before the aforementioned procedures that NSoft now has. Luckily it worked out. However, Lucky Six is indeed a great product. It is optimised to run on almost every low-end machine as well as on the top quality ones. It was an amazing adventure of discovering different components and their improvements; we have added specials, introduced a fancy 3D graphic, realistic look and finally extended it to multiple channels.
Lucky Six literally runs on everything from mini PC’s to android devices, tablets, notebooks, kiosks and the web – every channel and on every device. It is constantly undergoing architectural improvements, automation, modularity improvements and design polishing, while we are also adding special bets, extending multi-language offering and boosting the product responsiveness.
SBC: What do you think players would recognise as the key features?
IM: I’m certain that a game that’s kept is the allure for such a long period of time has to have that x-factor. Lucky Six experience feels simple, natural, not manufactured. It is easy to play, customizable, fast and offers great chances to win. You know, when a player realizes that a computer is behind the interaction, whether due to the bad programming or bad design choices you lose them, the UX becomes crucial. It must be crucial in any industry, especially in ours.
SBC: Is there anything else you can add about the Lucky Six story?
IM: There were millions of little things that I didn’t mention. But I hope I gave you a glimpse of what was to build and maintain one of the most popular products in the business.