2020 is a year that will be marked down in the history books; we have seen the worst pandemic in modern history, businesses have adapted to a whole new way-of-working which will play a central role in the “future of work”, the stock market crashed and recovered in no time. And the list goes on. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster year, to say the least. But it’s also a year when Casinolytics was founded and came to life.
In short, Casinolytics is the world’s first casino intelligence platform that provides insights on live-streamed slot content using AI that was founded by Johan Sandén and myself on October 24, 2020. We are a value-driven company whose mission is to help people explore, monitor and understand the live-streaming landscape in the world of slots.
The birth of a product
To give you some perspective, we need to go back somewhat in time, as the journey started sometime in late 2018 in the heart of a dark Stockholm. During this time, slot-streaming on Twitch had begun to grow and make some small noise in the industry. Johan Sandén, my friend and fellow founder, had during the year started to enjoy watching casino streamers on Twitch. It was clearly much more enjoyable than at first glance. One thing led to another, and on October 5, 2018, he started a casino streaming channel called “Kasinofamiljen” – a Swedish casual enthusiast casino stream. After streaming for a few sessions, he started to try some ideas with machine learning that would help him keep track of the slots that he had been playing, and from there, it all begun. Who is Johan besides his passion for slots? He is a gamer and programmer who calls himself a creative technologist who has been in the industry since 2008. He loves to learn new things and has a passion for problem-solving, skateboarding, slots, and e-sports.
For myself, being a brand strategist and marketeer in the industry since 2012, innovation has always been something I’ve been very passionate about. I’ve worked with designing innovation processes – and I genuinely love the process – from developing something from idea all the way to execution. Perhaps because it’s far from easy, like when I try to perfect my golf swing, it’s a very iterative process. It’s a lot of fine-tuning, experimenting, and prototyping. Like there is no perfect golf swing, nor is there a picture-perfect way to innovate – it’s a process, and you need to give it time and trust your instincts and vision.
Earlier in 2018, I had done some thorough analysis to determine a game’s performance on a specific market when working at NetEnt. In my findings, the results showed that the impact streaming had on this game’s performance was mindblowing. I naturally didn’t have all the data that we can offer today, but the results were clearly pointing in one direction. Streamers had influenced other streamers, and all of a sudden, everyone was playing this one game. This was also when I really understood the entertainment value of watching live-streamed slots, and I have been doing that ever since.
In a world driven by data, we suddenly didn’t have any data at our disposal. Twitch uses dedicated categories for all games, except for slot games. All slot games are streamed from a specific category called slots, meaning many useful metrics to understand a game’s popularity, reach, likeability, and trend get lost. On average, slot-streamers are changing a game every 5 minutes or so, and just from that simple fact; it makes sense to put all slot games into one category from Twitch’s perspective. It’s basically been an empty hole where your gut feeling has been the “data” to trust.
With our joint passion for slots, innovation, and industry experience – we felt confident that there is a need and definitely a problem that needs to be addressed. Since Johan already started with the technical part, I began to look at the brand, product, and business perspectives. As you can imagine, identifying a game in realtime using AI is very complex, but building the whole technology and business around it is a totally different ballgame. Things like building the entire tech infrastructure, identifying streamers and games on Twitch, making the AI smarter, creating a product, building a brand, establishing a business, and getting customers on board are challenging.
But most importantly, you need to enjoy the process while you’re at it, and we’ve loved (almost) every minute of it. Somewhere during our journey so far, we just looked at each other and said, “Lessa go” – let’s create Casinolytics!
A record-breaking year
2020 has not been kind for many industries, but it’s also been the year where streaming skyrocketed and has broken all kinds of records. And continue to do so in 2021, like the all-time record of 2.5 million concurrent viewers on Twitch set by the Spanish streamer TheGrefg on January 11. It’s an understatement to say that live-streaming will be playing a central role in how we consume entertainment moving forward. According to Twitch official data, over 1 trillion minutes were watched in 2020. Hold that thought for a minute and let’s put it into some perspective – it’s over 16 billion hours, about 700 days, and nearly two million calendar years. Breathtaking numbers, for sure.
For live slots-streaming, 2020 was when it established itself as a part of the industry for real. Today, we can’t deny that streaming doesn’t impact a brand’s awareness, reputation, or popularity. In its purest form of entertainment, like any other live-streamed content, and it has an impact. In 2020 nearly 10 billion minutes of slot-streaming were watched, increasing over +50% year-on-year. Almost a million hours were broadcasted. Average viewers and channels went up also by +50%. We simply can’t deny the facts that viewers enjoy watching slot-streaming.
The most streamed slot in 2020 is based on the now-famous character Gargatoon, featured in Reactoonz by Play’n Go, closely followed by Book of Dead from the same provider and The Dog House by Pragmatic Play. In Q4, we also saw a new kid on the block becoming the top dog, Money Train 2 by Relax Gaming, which basically took over the live-streaming scene with its highly entertaining bonus game. Looking at the start of 2021, we’ve seen an impressive performance from two very different games by different providers. First off is the delightfully fruity Fruit Party (Pragmatic Play) and the hardcore prison-themed San Quentin (Nolimit City) with its insane 150,000x potential max win by Nolimit City. It will be an exciting year, with many new streamers popping up, increasing viewer numbers, and lots of great games in the pipeline from many providers. With the idea born in late 2018, we stand here today, several thousands of hours and now over two years later with a booming live-streaming market and an AI that tracks live-streamed slots every minute as we speak. As of today, we just signed our very first customer, and our AI has recorded over 18 million data points of live-streamed slots, and our platform consists of 1000+ slot streamers and games combined.
We are very proud, humble, and excited about 2021. After all, innovation is an iterative process, and with tons of new ideas, we see this as the very start of our journey. Thanks for reading.