James Curwen: “I know what operators want”


To design a game that players will want to play, having a deep understanding of what they like can play a key role. Golden Rock Studios, with decades of combined operator experience, have that knowledge, and CEO James Curwen joined our Becky Liggero Fontana at ICE London 2020 to discuss their new products.

Golden Rock came into ICE with two new products to promote, and rather than bringing in striking new innovations, they apply little twists to old favorites, and it sounds like a formula that will work. “We launched two games recently, because we’ve just started out, and Roulette x2, it’s a twist on traditional roulette,” Curwen said. “It’s really slick, it’s got fast play chips so you can bet faster than any other roulette, and the other added bonus is that every single spin, the customer can get double payout. So unlike any other game you can get double payouts on this roulette for free. So we don’t believe a roulette player will play anything else.”

They also applied the same thinking to a slot game. “So Wild Predators is aimed at VIPs,” he noted. “It’s a classic five liner with a single bonus round, but it triggers over and over again your original win. So it really is aimed at that top market, and the top 2,000 players on everyone’s site that they make the most money from.”

Curwen knows that these small but important changes will catch the players eye because he has decades of experience telling them so. “It’s year 30 for me in the industry, so I did 23 years in land based, running casinos like the Ritz in London, and when you’re in land based, you’re all selling the same things,” he said. “One of the things that we do, is we focus on our periodic table that you can see behind us, which gives the operators a really clear indication how we are positioning our games, into what markets, the volatility, the game weight, and we think that that’s the differential between us and everyone else.”

Part of what makes Golden Rock special as an iGaming design studio is the talented team Curwen has assembled. He explained how he put the team together. “After a long time in the industry, and obviously being in online for since 2011, I’ve realized that you actually need specialists rather than generalists,” he said. “So what we try and do is we try and attract people in specialist areas of art, creative, math, sales, and bring all those people together into a team because I think that makes us stronger.”

But all of that talent doesn’t mean much unless you know what operators, and more importantly the players, are looking for. Curwen has that in spades. “I think the biggest thing for us is we are operators,” he said. “So this is the first time I’ve gone out alone to run my own company, so I ran William Hill Gaming, Superbet Gaming, I’ve run casinos in Mayfair. So I’ve been an operator at heart, So I know what operators want, and some of my team come from operator backgrounds, so they know what operators want, and we also have a really deep understanding of the client. We understand gamblers probably better than anyone else, because from being an operator background, you see their play, you see their style, you see what they’re trying to do, you know and we take all of that knowledge and we put it into our game design.”