Innovation has been at the heart of the journey for gaming firm Yggdrasil, according to Fredrik Elmqvist, the company’s CEO, as explained in the new ‘What’s up Ygg?’ podcast.
In the opening episode entitled ‘King of Slots’, he provided deeper insight into how the company has grown and continued to elevate the user experience and drive innovation in the gaming space.
The newly launched podcast is hosted by Stewart Darkin, Director of New Media at Square in the Air, as he and Elmqvist revealed that Yggdrasil initially set out to become a company which ‘did things differently’ from others in the industry, highlighting that he wanted to create a company which did not simply ‘mimic’ other providers.
Instead, he detailed the importance of innovation from the get-go – something which he believes has helped define the overall vision that Yggdrasil now has.
“At the time, there was Microgaming, Playtech, NetEnt etc,” said Elmqvist. “These were the leading companies within the industry. Everyone was trying to do something which mimicked these big names – no one was really trying to innovate from the beginning.
“So when I left NetEnt, I had this idea that we should be doing things differently from the beginning. We should be working from the bottom upwards, innovating in terms of technology, user experiences and promotional tools.
“It was tedious to build everything from scratch, rather than copying the big providers, but that also became the core essence of Yggdrasil as a company. It showed that we had this ambition, and it’s shaped the people that came on board in the early days.
“We showed this ambition to people who we wanted to join the company, and some people were discouraged by it of course because it required a lot of hard work. But then some people really liked this drive that we had. So we had a lot of momentum from the get-go largely because of how we defined ourselves as a company.”
When quizzed on how Yggdrasil managed to ‘play the long game’, Elmqvist noted that a methodical approach is fundamental.
“You need to be able to think that you’re running one hundred metres each day but at the same time, you need to think about the marathon,” he shared.
“You do need to have that sense of urgency, and should apply a kind of understanding that certain things will take time to happen. You’ll need to mature over time and then can follow more of a methodological process.
“There will be things that need to be addressed there and then – this is something that every manager needs to understand. What are the thighs that you can apply a sense of urgency to? And what things can you work on over time?
“What I still enjoy about the company is that it has evolved over the years and become much more of a sustainable, diverse company than it was before. It has a different momentum and a completely different trajectory. I love to see that Yggdrasil is still evolving.”
Looking forward to the remainder of 2021, Elmqvist outlined Yggdrasil’s plans to create a ‘more sustainable and diversified business’ by focusing on its corporate governance trajectory, its platform studio and the decision to licence its mechanical frameworks.
He said: “I think that with what we’re doing at the minute, we need to add another layer. Bringing in reference to those at Bridgepoint who I have tremendous respect for being able to take a company like Yggdrasil from where we were in terms of sustainability and bringing it to the level where we are now. We are now seeing the company take a big leap forward and it’s so interesting to be at the centre because this is something we didn’t necessarily do before.
“Outside of the corporate governance trajectory, we have also moved from a number of fragmented studios located here and there to one core platform studio based in Poland. So we’ll be focusing on that, on our own roadmap.
“We’ll also be focusing on becoming a publisher where we can apply franchise models, enable studios to develop things on our platform. We licence or mechanical frameworks – which is something we’ll touch upon later in the series with some other of our team members – but this is just another trajectory in the development of our company which will ultimately create a more sustainable and diversified business.”
The new series, titled ‘What’s up YGG’, will consist of 10 episodes covering various topical issues including game development, partner collaborations, player experience, game engagement mechanics, jackpots, the streamer community’s impact on the industry and much more.