Therese Hillman: To stand out, games need to ‘stick with the player’

Therese Hillman: To stand out, games need to ‘stick with the player’

Game development can be a competitive business, as players and operators are always looking for the new exciting thing, and developers need to think several steps ahead, or be left behind. NetEnt’s CEO Therese Hillman joined’s Becky Liggero at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas to talk about what her company is doing to succeed, and the future she sees for game development and U.S. regulation.

Building new experiences is a key ingredient to staying in the minds of customers. Hillman notes, “The competition is so tough. And you really have to stand out, you need those things that sticks with the player, and also with our customers, the operators. We need to be much more innovative. We can say that we have been over the years, but I think that the limits, and the bar is raised a lot.”

With more regions allowing online gambling in their space, developing for the specific needs of each part of the world becomes a factor. The NetEnt CEO notes the increasing “demand for localized and customized games much more than we have been thinking about before.”

While she can’t divulge much about NetEnt’s private roadmap due to the public nature of the company, Hillman admits that they are working to get better. They want to “increase the speed of everything.” Specifically, they must improve their live casino offerings. “We haven’t succeeded, so that is something I’m now looking into much more and how can we work with the live casino part of the business and releasing pretty much the same things into all markets? And now there is a demand for varieties, different things. It’s exciting but also very challenging, of course,” said Hillman.

As with most CEOs in the space, Hillman has her eyes set on the slowly opening US market, and the opportunities it might afford. Hillman explained, “The buzz, we’ve been longing for this for a long time. NetEnt has been in the market for now four years. We’ve been waiting for more states than New Jersey and Delaware to open up. And now Pennsylvania is happening, so I think that the buzz around the third state that’s opened up is pretty exciting.”

Hillman did not miss out on lessons she could learn from the G2E conference. She remarked, “We see here, now with G2E, that lots of online trends are actually eating into the offline space as well, which is interesting. So we’re excited about the opportunity and also, you see the number of visitors here today, it’s amazing I think. “

Really though, the most exciting aspect for Hillman might be the idea of more jurisdictions, operators and players in the expanding U.S. market. She said, “We just want the states to open up a little bit faster than they do.”