Carlo Cooke, FunFair Games: we’re taking a step into the unknown
Much optimism was expressed earlier in the week as FunFair Games confirmed Carlo Cooke as Commercial Director in big to accelerate its global growth ambitions and deliver its products too an ever increasing player base.
As the CasinoBeats Summit gets underway on the shores of Mediterranean archipelago of Malta, Cooke, who will be in attendance alongside Mark McGinley, CEO at FunFair Games, who are also exhibiting, discusses his impending challenge, aspirations moving forward, potential markets of expansion, and more.
CasinoBeats: Why did you choose FunFair Games as your next challenge and what attracted you to the company?
Carlo Cooke: Well first and foremost, after working closely with him during my time at the Microgaming Group, it was great to have the chance to work with FunFair Games’ newly appointed CEO Mark McGinley once again. I was very impressed by the vision and ambition outlined by Mark and was fascinated by the current suite of games such as Astroboomers TURBO! And The Wheel of Steal.
At FunFair Games, there’s an exciting opportunity to sell titles in the emerging sector of non-traditional games after primarily working with slots over the last few years, and the chance to lead the way in this exciting vertical is very appealing. In my previous roles, it was quite evident that player preferences are changing and it’s important for companies to evolve.
With emerging demographics of younger players that are used to a different offering, the inclusion of multiplayer in slots has become very appealing. It seems like the need for a more social product offering is a trend which most companies are starting to catch onto, with FunFair Games having launched to offer multiplayer games several years ago. It shows how forward thinking and ambitious the team is.
CB: As the new Commercial Director, what are your main goals and aspirations for the company?
CC: As the Commercial Director, I want to define and deliver on our overall revenue strategy, maximise our current distribution channels and increase operator uptake. We’re ambitious and want to scale up quickly and we aspire to enhance our game revenue and drive sales.
This can be achieved by building closer strategic partnerships with operators, which additionally will allow us to define the non-traditional gaming space and promote this new and exciting vertical.
Aside from the initial goals we’ve set, I hope to play a part in bringing something new, different and entertaining to the online casino marketplace. So far, FunFair Games has shown how creative and innovative the brand is and I’m confident that the company will continue to grow, evolve and improve year on year.
CB: You have a wealth of igaming experience, having worked at Red Tiger, William Hill and All41 Studios – how will you apply your previous experience in this new role?
CC: My time at Red Tiger, William Hill and All41 Studios taught me a lot about the igaming industry such as how leading companies operate, the importance of interacting with each other and the need to swiftly react to evolving player preferences. Working in these B2C and B2B roles provided me with a great framework, and I’m sure I’ll continue learning more about this vibrant industry at FunFair Games.
My background in finance will allow me to keep a close eye on the performance of our games and ensure we’re providing relevant, market focused insight to our current and future partners – allowing us to better inform and educate our customers about our titles.
CB: Does this present a different challenge, perhaps something you may have not encountered at previous companies?
CC: Absolutely, and this is the one of the most exciting elements of my role and one of the main reasons as to why I took the job! Non-Traditional content has always caught my eye. Previously I was very much single-player focused, so the opportunity to work on multiplayer games is very appealing.
I believe every new challenge allows one to continue enhancing their skills, meanwhile the journey towards non-traditional slots will enhance Funfair Games’ value in the market, and our relationship with our customers.
Moreover, by taking on this exciting project, there is also a very high element of job satisfaction that comes with it. We’re exploring new horizons and redefining the way we currently engage with our players and operators
CB: As FunFair Games focuses on providing multiplayer games, what more do you think the company can do in this emerging space?
CC: We’re taking a step into the unknown. With this high-risk approach, we anticipate a high reward as we’re venturing into a vertical that has shown potential and garnered quite a lot of interest. There’s a huge opportunity for us to challenge the norm of single player gambling experiences and focus on high-quality, simple, and entertaining multiplayer titles.
When tackling a new horizon, insight is key and the more conversations we have with B2C operators, the more feedback our product team will receive. Creating a feedback loop will be key in my role as we must stay ahead of the curve and ensure that we’re aligned with our generation Z & Y target audience. Additionally, we need to be consistent with our roadmap.
Phase one has really been about testing the waters, but I can assure you that we will consistently release more games in the future. With phase two bringing forward a diverse and appealing gaming portfolio as we move towards a more regular cadence of quality and delivery.
CB: Are there any markets that you’d look to expand or focus on as the new Commercial Director?
CC: North America is highly desirable, with the US and Canada inviting a lot of attention. We’re eager to explore new and emerging markets but increasing our reach in primary and key European markets is equally important. There’s a large focus on the US, but more mature markets like the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands are still very prominent jurisdictions.
Overall, we’re looking to get our games to as many customers as possible and we will be working tirelessly to increase our global reach. We’re fortunate that we have a very supportive distribution partner in EveryMatrix and will be working with them closely to maximise the current distribution on offer, while in parallel looking to expand in new markets.
CB: What does FunFair Games have in store for the rest of 2022?
CC: During the third quarter of the year, we will introduce more exciting games. We’ve already announced Hugo but will reveal a thrilling title called Dig It in the coming weeks. Hugo is our first branded game and we’re extremely excited to be working with such a well-known and loved character, one which also reconciles well with our target audience. For us, Hugo inspires nostalgia and we’re confident that our players will feel the same way.
Dig It will offer a competitive and communal multiplayer experience, where players can instantly see the success of its competitors – enhancing the need for big wins and improving player engagement and retention in the process. It will also feature a range of very attractive multipliers, which we know players will adore.
Additionally, we have ambitious plans to grow the team further and increase our product output. We’re currently working closely to build a high-quality portfolio of diverse and appealing games for this year and 2023, so watch this space.
Organised by SBC, the CasinoBeats Summit 2022 conference and exhibition will take place on 24-26 May at the InterContinental in St Julian’s, Malta.
The summit features a conference agenda that focuses on igaming industry leadership, the next generation of slots and live casino games, emerging markets, the impact of wider technological developments on the gaming industry, and marketing strategies. Delegates will also have access to a programme of networking events and an exhibition featuring the latest innovations and games releases from leading suppliers.
Find full details, including how to book a pass, at the CasinoBeats Summit website.