In the latest game developer spotlight episode of The Knowledge podcast Gambling.com spoke with Todd Haushalter, Chief Product Officer for Evolution Gaming. Todd’s already had a storied career in gambling and since arriving at the company four years ago has been involved in their biggest releases. Listen to the full podcast or read the highlights below.
Gambling.com has interviewed plenty of C-level iGaming executives for feature pieces and podcasts, but perhaps none with deeper ties to the industry than Todd Haushalter. Within minutes of meeting he has briefed us on his full 20+ year love affair with gambling; from creating his own dice game at 10 years old, to getting a Masters in casino management, to dealing blackjack and roulette to make money to put himself through school, right up to landing a job at MGM before moving to Europe and beginning work with Evolution Gaming around 4 years ago.
According to Todd he has ‘the most fun job in gaming’ as Chief Product Officer. At Evolution he is the self described ‘evangelist’ in charge of game production oversight and project management. He and Evolution’s various product teams work to bridge the gap between land-based and online casinos, always striving to create meaningful new gambling experiences that meet the expectations of modern digital consumers. Listen to the full podcast interview with Todd now:
Mega Ball: Let The Games Begin
In the initial stages of creating a game Evolution has around 10 people working on the case, Todd included. Once the game is built and getting ready for deployment to online casinos there are another 100 or so involved. It’s a massive operation getting a game from an idea to a finished product – one that Todd asserts can take close to 9 months.
Mega Ball, Evolution’s most recent offering, is a new type of game for the company and has been out for close to a month. Todd explained why they chose to release a bingo/lottery hybrid game now:
“I wanted to do a bouncing ball game for a long time. When I talk about the future or games I’ll often talk about a language that gamblers speak. You can come up with your own deck of cards if you want – good luck – but players don’t want to learn a new language. They understand bouncing balls, they understand dice. There was, in my opinion, nothing really fun in the bouncing ball genre.”
“The feedback has been amazing. Lots of operators have said very positive things. When we launch new games I always read the chat logs every day for the first two or three weeks and the chat is very positive. And it’s friendly chat, it’s a lot more positive. I haven’t put my finger quite on why that is. The player numbers have been really good.”
Roadmap and New Releases
Todd’s excited about a number of different upcoming games. He tells us that Power Blackjack is due soon. It’s a regular game of Blackjack with a limited number of players who have the option of tripling and quadrupling down, if the player wishes to do so, making for a more exciting dynamic.
After Power Blackjack it’s something that’s been requested time and time again from Evolution: craps. Games of craps will be hosted in an old-school Al Capone style studio with a working mechanical arm throwing the dice.
But the game that Todd is most excited for is totally different to Evolution’s spin on the classics:
“I know this sounds crazy but I think this is the most fun casino game ever made. It’s called Crazy Time and it’s coming out in a month. It’s definitely the most expensive casino game ever made and it took the most resources to make it.”
“It’s just this carnival of activity, like Monopoly in the sense that it’s a wheel game, but the wheel is just loaded with bonuses that take you off in different directions. You spend most of your time playing a variety of different bonus games. It’s in the true spirit of one of these great gameshows where there are ‘shows within the show’ and I can’t wait to get it live.”
To hear the full interview with Todd Haushalter of Evolution Gaming listen to episode 9 of The Knowledge podcast now – available on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud.