In an exclusive interview with Casinos Hunter, Ondrej Lapides, CEO at Tom Horn Gaming talks about the journey of Tom Horn Gaming from a small igaming software house to an award winning business with a global presence in many regulated markets.
Casinos Hunter: Hello Ondrej, thank you for finding time to answer the questions in our Q&A session! Would you mind telling a bit more about your experience in the niche in general, and about your job and responsibilities at Tom Horn?
Ondrej Lapides: Hello Hunter Casinos. I’m delighted to be chatting with you today. Thank you for having me. My journey through the gaming industry began over 15 years ago and I instantly fell in love with it. What makes me passionate about igaming, and what sets this industry apart from other fields, are limitless possibilities and a never-ending thirst for innovation and sustainability across the board, with people of different professional backgrounds – from artists, mathematicians, marketing people to developers working in tandem to deliver the best entertainment, that not only pleases the senses but also utilises the latest technology.
I became a CEO at Tom Horn Gaming in 2015. Innovative and versatile technologies and business approach are the bottom line of my work and they are deeply rooted in my approach to product as well as business development.
As part of my job I define and drive the strategic growth of the company. I’m also passionate about devising and delivering new products and solutions, therefore I spend a lot of time planning and overseeing projects which will be launched in the near future and which will further our growth. I am also on the move a lot, travelling to visit our business partners, seal new partnerships, and be more on the ground, in order to help enhance our business partners’ operations and grow together.
Running an igaming company is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride and it takes grit and persistence to make the right decisions and push the needle of innovation to create a brand that stands out from a competition. Tom Horn Gaming started off as a small software supplier and we have built it into a company with a global presence, operating in multiple regulated markets.This success goes all the way down to highly talented and skilled people who work at Tom Horn Gaming.
CH: How would you describe Tom Horn in a few words? What are Tom Horn’s main differences compared to other online casino games developers?
OL: We are a small but passionate team of like-minded gaming enthusiasts who are on a mission to deliver games which will bring joyful and unique experiences for fellow gaming fans.
In order to appeal to customers, you need to offer something unique, something that helps your operator partners stand out from the crowd. And this is exactly what we do. We’ve created a unique supplier-operator culture, and we work together closely on developing games that are underpinned by our expertise and reflect operators’ market insights and specific needs. This cooperation is crucial for the game development process and it helps us create products which are spot on and ready to ‘wow’ players in different markets.
CH: What goals are set for Tom Horn in 2021? What has already been achieved?
OL: We continue to monitor developing trends and new technologies, exploring their potential and experiment with their application in our upcoming gaming products.
In order to expand our portfolio we have boosted our infrastructure for the distribution of gaming content and sealed invaluable partnerships with operators and distribution partners to ensure that we cover as many relevant markets worldwide as possible.
To offer more content, we have joined forces with fantastic RNG and Live games studios. These partnerships enhance the uniqueness of our product portfolio, making it more diverse and appealing to a wider audience.
CH: Tom Horn has recently announced a new slot game release, the La Tomatina game. Considering the trailer, the slot will be interesting. Could you tell us a bit more about this slot and its features?
OL: The team put in plenty of hard work in order to deliver what we certainly believe is a highly entertaining game. In every new title we produce we aim to introduce a novel theme and an unforgettable mix of exciting features which add up to a well-rounded player experience.
The story of the game is set in the sunny town of Buñol in Spain and together with its features – flux spins, sticky respins, collection with free spins, and beautiful graphics and lively Spanish tunes, it has received some very positive feedback from operators and players.
I think part of La Tomatina’s complexity is how all features tie into each other. The flow and progression between the features is seamless and players are constantly on the edge of their seats in anticipation of another bonus round. Add to the mix multipliers, medium variance and the possibility to scoop wins up to 510x your stake and the outcome is a slot that has a very broad appeal.
CH: Generally speaking, what games, features, or achievements at Tom Horn are you most proud of?
OL: We have gone from being a small team of gaming enthusiasts to a multicultural team of brave innovators who love to push boundaries, disrupt and accelerate the world of gaming. We have a clear vision and strategy for what we want to achieve as a team for years to come.
This change wouldn’t be possible without transformation of our company culture – a process which resulted in a new Tom Horn Gaming. Today, we work with the best talent that is out there, continuously growing and attracting new skilled individuals who contribute and create the conditions and environment needed for delivering games that players love.
During the past 15 months we have gone fully remote which enables us to source the talent anywhere in the world and make our team even more diverse, not only geographically, but mainly professionally and culturally.
Over the years, we have launched a wide variety of content. One game that stands out and of which I am particularly proud, is 243 Crystal Fruits. I believe we managed to put together the unique balance of great features, a catchy theme, crisp graphics and sounds, which deliver an unforgettable player experience and players love the slot and return to play it even years after its release.
CH: Now I’d like to get to the most popular question from our readers, the question we ask in every interview with a software provider. What was the biggest win in Tom Horn history, and what slot game was it?
OL: We’re always excited to see players win big in our games and we do have a nice record of lucky players who have managed to scoop up some nice wins in our games. The highest-winning player, though, met his fortune on one of our top performing games, Don Juan’s Peppers and took home a whopping sum of 325,00 EUR.
CH: In your opinion, what are the most popular slot games made by Tom Horn?
OL: Our most popular game to date is definitely 243 Crystal Fruits. Featuring a classic theme, with crisp soundtrack and dazzling makeover of a good old fruit slot machine, the game introduced in our portfolio a famous 243 WILD symbol, 243 paylines and exploding symbols in respins with up to 5x multiplier.
The game was launched back in 2017 and we were overwhelmed with the response it got. Now four years on, the players are still crazy about the game and it still delivers significant revenues across multiple markets worldwide.
In 2020 this fruity adventure received a younger sister, 243 Crystal Fruits Reversed, in which we slightly tweaked the original mechanics to make it even more appealing and the game has equally been enjoying great reception ever since. As they say, classics never go out of style…you just need to add a little twist.
CH: Could you please tell us more about the development of games at Tom Horn, about creative processes, etc.?
OL: The game goes through many stages during the development process and its creation – from ideation to the final product – takes many months and many talented people from different fields to work on it.
We analyse player habits, listen carefully to the needs of our operator partners, monitor industry trends and changing player preferences, create drafts and prototypes and talk and chat and discuss for hours before we agree that this is the concept and features we wish to move forward.
Then it is weeks and weeks of game production including design, logic, math, backend and frontend work, endless rounds or feedbacks and discussions in terms of making sure we are happy with everything. Then a few tweaks here and there and here we are – the release date. Then we wait in anticipation to see how players and operators react to our new title.
CH: Could you tell us more about the new games by Tom Horn we can expect in the near future?
OL: We’re very excited about our roadmap ahead. The summer will see the release of Beastie Bux and Fruits Go Pop! which are built around popular mechanics of our blockbusters 243 Crystal Fruits and Flaming Fruit. We have seen a very high player engagement in these games, so it’s clear that this is what our players enjoy.
Later in the year, we will treat players to games with new entertaining themes and mechanics which will make our portfolio appealing to new demographics.
And we even have a Christmas surprise. A lot to be excited about so keep your eyes peeled!