Founded in Malta by two friends, Phillip Douglas and Christian Hellman, in 2020, Arcadem was set out to develop a new ‘futuristic’ perspective that marries the best qualities of friendship and business. Arcadem is constantly coming up with new game ideas just waiting to be transformed into incredible concepts. Mathematics is at the base of all the cool games they develop, and their algorithms fuse design and functionality to deliver the ultimate player experience.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Arcadem co-Founder Phillip Douglas to talk about his iGaming journey from managing a Coral betting shop to taking a leap and founding his own company. Read the full interview to find out what Arcadem’s exciting releases are coming to you very soon!
For our readers who don’t know, how did you end up in the iGaming industry, and what has your journey been like until today?
I’ve had a lot of fun and hectic experiences in the gambling industry. I started as a customer support representative at Sky Betting and Gaming in 2015, before becoming a casino coordinator for several companies when I moved to Malta in 2018.
I then became a casino games manager, where I played many games before co-founding Arcadem in 2020.
You are the Director of Gaming and Co-Founder of Arcadem after working in many different roles at various companies. It’s been two years since you co-founded the company, so can you please tell us about the difference between working for someone and having your own company?
In my opinion, the core difference is passion. When you work for someone else, you can never truly be as passionate as when you’re working for what is your own baby.
Additionally, when you work for someone else, you have a different perspective on the talent around you. It gives you more opportunities to learn and grow.
Does business affect the friendship between you and Christian Hellman? How?
Indeed, working together has presented its challenges. A business partnership and personal friendship can cause disagreements along the way, just as with any other aspect of life. When you have to swallow your pride and look at the big picture, you will be able to move forward.
Christian and I did not always have this attitude, but it quickly changed so that it would not affect our business or friendship.
What is the best thing about being a part of this industry?
The industry is constantly changing, so when you come to work the next day, something would’ve changed. Also, having to stay on top of your game is exciting since it’s not something most professions require on a daily basis.
What advice would you give to people just starting their careers in iGaming? Or those that are still unsure if that’s the right career choice for them?
I think passion is the best way to succeed in any industry, whether it is sports betting or casino games. If you’re interested in joining our industry, I encourage you to learn as you might discover areas of expertise.
There is nothing like this industry if you enjoy meeting new people and experiencing new things.
Have you encountered any significant challenges during your journey, and how have these affected you?
With any new venture, there are going to be highs and lows. This was no different when we started Arcadem. Going from steady employment to doing it on your own is a big change that can be both scary and fun, depending on how you tackle the situation.
What makes you feel ‘out of your comfort zone’? And how do you handle these types of situations?
You are often faced with situations outside your comfort zone when you work in this industry. Training is necessary for this, and from my experience, the best way to deal with it is to try to get you out of your comfort zone when you can.
How would you sum up working in this industry?
There’s never a dull day in gambling, and there’s always something new or exciting going on. You will go far in this industry if you have a strong work ethic and mentality.
Can you tell us more about Arcadem and what distinguishes you from other gaming services?
Our goal at Arcadem is to provide top-quality story-driven content, as we consider the online casino experience to be the same as playing video games. Using top game mechanics as the foundation of our games, we build stories, characters, and themes on top of them to give players a gamified experience.
We have many sequels slated for the future, and so far, we find players have engaged more with this content.
What kind of campaigns do you carry out to attract customers?
Arcadem offers its partners exclusive games and pre-release launches with a complete campaign packet.
And what are the most interesting markets for you right now?
Eastern Europe is a market that has and is getting much stronger as more and more players are switching from land-based to online gambling.
Asia is also an ever-evolving market, with Japan getting stronger and stronger. And, of course, the crypto space is rapidly evolving every day.
What about the challenges? What are the challenges you’re facing when it comes to these markets?
Firstly, it doesn’t matter which market it is; every market has its challenges. From regulatory requirements, game themes, tax laws etc., you always have to keep those in mind when developing a game. Not all games work for every market, so there’s no reason to get hung up on this factor. You just have to be aware of the requirements needed for the markets you target, and you won’t have any unexpected issues.
How do you keep players engaged and entertained? Is it easier to do this now or much more demanding?
As previously mentioned, we aim to deliver top-quality games to players built upon great mechanics. We use our story-driven content to engage with players in a gamified way, making it easier to engage with them more via social media channels, for example.
What unique aspects do you place emphasis on to make your games successful?
That would be an Arcadem trade secret! If we told you our resident spy ‘Ace Danger’ from the Flashback Heroes sage would come and get you.
Ha! Talking of the games, what should players know about Arcadem Jam: Multi Themes?
Arcadem Jam is coming to players this August, with 16,807 ways this basketball-themed game incorporates ‘Arcadem’s Multi Theme mechanic’ that allows the slot to change appearance during gameplay, with players’ symbols being subbed out for new ones in each quarter and the overtime bonuses. This, in combination with a first-row audience made up of the top streamers in the industry and an exciting soundtrack – we are sure this game will be nothing but net.
Could you shed some light on the upcoming releases and innovations? What can we expect in the near future, and what are you looking forward to the most?
We at Arcadem made a strategic decision at the end of last year to stop releasing games for a period of time and turn the focus on further developing our products. This was an excellent exercise for the company, and we are now ready for a comeback after the summer months with seven new game titles, which we’re calling ‘Arcadem 2.0’.
We are very excited to present these new titles to the world and look forward to hearing players’ feedback.
Now that sounds indeed exciting! Lastly, what’s your favourite game and why?
If you were to ask me about Arcadem’s games, that would be rather tricky as I’m too invested in the characters and themes. Outside of Arcadem, I would say an old game such as ‘Koi Princess’ from Netent is a great example of a feature-packed game that you can just play for hours. And in regards to newer content, No Limit’s ‘Punk Toilet’ gave me some laughs while I played and has a nice bonus buy feature. However, it’s a game I’d play if I’ve had a lucky hit with the balance on other games.