TalentTalks with Shane Cotter - CPO Real Dealer Studios

March 18, 2024

Talent Talks With Shane Cotter, CPO of Real Dealer Studios

We sat down with the CPO of Real Dealer Studios and former NetEnt's Head of Product, Shane Cotter to talk about their new approach to Table Games and how Real Dealer Studios is shaping the Gaming industry.

Can you provide an overview of your career in the gaming industry and how you progressed to the role of Chief Product Officer & Head of Studio at Real Dealer Studios?

I initially started in the industry back in 2007 working in Telbet for Betfair, taking bets over the phone. As Betfair was only in the process of setting up here in Malta, we weren’t given any formal training at the outset, I took it upon myself, once I’d settled into the job, to create training materials for all the newcomers, and to begin training them myself.

After a couple of months in the job, having previously been living and teaching scuba diving in Spain, I convinced the company to allow me to set up, staff, and run a Spanish Telbet.

A year and a half after joining, a position opened up for a corporate trainer to look after the 200+ staff members in the now fully formed Malta wing of Betfair. I was lucky enough to be successful in my application and spent the next 3 years, or thereabouts, identifying knowledge gaps across the company and creating and rolling out training courses to address these shortfalls, as well as travelling regularly to the London and Dublin offices to roll out the same courses for them.

Then in 2012 I joined NetEnt as a Product Manager, where I was tasked by our CPO (my boss) to build up the function and then start hiring people in to cover the increased areas of work.

I officially became Head of Product Management in 2014.

In total, I worked with NetEnt for almost exactly 6 years.

I then joined Booming Games in 2018 as Director of Product, and at the end of 2020 I took over Real Dealer Studios, where we’ve been having a lot of fun creating cinematic RNG games, and getting to work with the likes of Vinnie Jones.

How do you formulate and execute product development strategies to ensure the success and competitiveness of the gaming studio's products?

We spend a lot of time studying player behaviour in order to tailor our games to suit different types of players. One game we’re currently working on, though it’s still too soon to give any detail, will allow the players to choose their own level of volatility; enabling the game to reach out to multiple player types, from the ‘entertainment players’ to the ‘high volatility players’.

We’re also primed to bring sports bettors across to our partners’ table games tabs by linking to real world sports events. We initially dipped our toe in the water with the release of Hockey Fever Roulette, which was released in time for the Ice Hockey World Championships at the start of May.

This was such a success that we created Rugby Fever Roulette, which was released on the Monday of the week the rugby world cup kicked off. In this version players could choose between Sarati & Dave as their dealer, and could also choose their environment from 5 different rugby nations, including the formidable Ireland 😊

What methodologies and approaches do you employ in the game design and development process to create engaging and successful titles?

Traditionally, innovation happens on the slots side of the industry, but not the table game side. We’ve been turning this idea on its head, bringing in the types of themes that work in slots, for example Real Spooky Roulette our Halloween themed game, Scarab Auto Roulette our Egyptian themed roulette, Vault Run where the player needs to collect numbers on the roulette wheel to unlock the vault where they spin the wheel of fortune to win some pretty huge multipliers; to name but a few. We’ve also recently had huge success partnering with Mahi Studios to create a roulette version of the massively successful 9 Masks of Fire™.

Real Spooky Roulette™
Scarab Auto Roulette™

Vault Run™

9 Masks of Fire™ Roulette

How do you conduct market research to understand player preferences and industry trends, and how do you incorporate these insights into product development?

One of the tools we employ when creating our games is AB testing. This allows us to make data-driven decisions when it comes to polishing the games. These AB tests look at player preferences in specific jurisdictions, allowing us to tailor our games for our target markets. We’re constantly looking to ameliorate the player experience in our games. To this end we track all facets of player behaviour and feed all findings back into the production loop, ensuring that each game is even more loved by our players than the last.

What do you see as the most significant trends or challenges in the gaming industry, and how do you envision Real Dealer Studios adapting to these trends under your leadership?

From a Real Dealer perspective, we’re very much out on our own. Our product is unique and sits between Live Casino and regular RNG table games. We merge Hollywood-quality filmmaking with RNG gameplay, providing a premium casino experience unlike anything else on the market. Over the course of the last year we’ve begun to bring in certain mechanics, themes etc. that are perpetually successful on the slots side. This has led us to produce such standout games as our Card Chase™ series, a high/low variant which includes a multiplier round every 15th round, giving the player multipliers of up to 200x, and a collect feature every 5th round.

Given the recent success of Crash games, we’re also in the process of creating Rapid Card Chase: FlyX™ Edition. This game will incorporate the highly successful FlyX™ crash game from Buck Stakes Entertainment into every 5th turn of the card, giving players the opportunity to test their nerve and to take their FlyX™ multipliers to the next turn of the card.