Talking Donuts, Volatility & Bonanza 3 With Big Time Gaming CEO Nik Robinson

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Big Time Gaming is without a doubt the most prominent game provider right now and has been ever since its major breakthrough with the release of Bonanza – a slot that marked a new era in the world of iGaming.

In a time when most other established providers seemed to turn down the volatility of their games, Big Time Gaming went the opposite direction, cranking it up to an all-time high and setting new records for non-jackpot slots.

Big Time Gaming is extremely popular and holds a unique position in an industry that is often viewed upon with suspicion by many players, and even has somewhat of a cult following, likely much thanks to the hand-built feel of their games, excellent playability and extreme potential.

After roughly 2 weeks of PokerStars exclusivity, Donuts is now available on all Big Time Gaming casinos. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Big Time Gaming CEO, Nik Robinson, who was kind enough to set some time aside from his busy schedule to talk to us!

What was your inspiration for Donuts? Visually it kind of gives us The Simpsons or The Jetsons vibes.

Donuts…We all love Donuts! The original inspiration came from actually opening a box and thinking, if this box was a symbol it could elegantly add more ways to pay! It also lets us introduce Megaways™ style play, to a much wider audience, without overwhelming players with too many symbols! In terms of look and feel, yes, Donuts and Homer are joined at the hip, so I get what you’re saying with The Simpsons but we’d like to think it’s a little more Rick and Morty inspired.

Donuts slot

The golden question – what kind of potential are we talking about here?

We’re talking the highest potential of any slot Big Time have done to date. A potential that would make the Queen of Riches blush! Certainly the highest potential of any (non-jackpot) machine conceived to date and it’s already paid out some humdingers during its exclusive launch on PokerStars.

I’m super exited to see more and more players winning big from Donuts network-wide launch on the 4th of July. The pay table spells out the potential, with a base game hit that can deliver 7 boxes, four of which will open up the same Donuts. The other 3 could hold up to x4 Wilds, you can do the math and that’s just the base game! The feature is another thing altogether but be warned – the game is as highly volatile as games can get (to date)!

Speaking of which – what is the bonus frequency on Donuts, and how does it compare to Bonanza for example?

It’s a bit more frequent to Bonus than Bonanza, roughly twice as frequent. It really comes down to hitting the big multiplier in the Bonus round to max out the free spins potential, this can go way up into the X hundreds which is very much aligned with Donut shop taking off into space… it can go bonkers!

Are casinos ever worried about taking in your games considering the insane potential?

Yes and no, larger casinos such as LeoVegas and Unibet are glad to take our games because they love to see players winning big and the volume of play our games get through the larger operators is phenomenal. Making big (in some respects life changing) wins happen on an hourly basis. In terms of smaller casinos, we advise all our Casino partners of the risks. Some casinos will cap max wins and as a player, you should always read the terms and conditions.

I will say that we haven’t heard of a win being withheld by any of our partners, as we don’t partner with a casino unless they are fully regulated. Anecdotally, Videoslots.com paid a customer out $404,000.00 from a single spin of StarQuest, in their terms they had a pay limit of $60,000.00 per month, needless to say, they paid the full amount out over the following sixth months. As a player, always read the terms and conditions because you don’t want to be hamstrung if you’re lucky enough to get that life-changing win.


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How much were you involved in the actual process and development of Donuts? We know that you did the Banjo music for Bonanza, which everyone loves to hate.

With all our games I’m involved with every aspect, I spend a lot of time on mock ups and new concepts and from idea to release I’m engaged with the entire process. Big Time Gaming is an amazing team of individuals and everyone has a great deal of opinions, they’re certainly the toughest crowd I’ve ever had to pitch to, as they’ll rip a bad idea to shreds in seconds!

Banjo music…? Hmmm…I’ll make no apology for the music in Bonanza, in creating it, I had to listen to it on playback just as much as even the most ardent Bonanza fan, after a while it washes over you, there’s only a teeny percentage of players that mute it which means it’s getting more plays per spin than some top-ranking artists on Spotify, so… perhaps an apology is in order… yes, I’m sorry!

To come up with new ideas and innovative features must be a real challenge, but so far you’ve done a great job with a lot of diversity in your catalog. What are your thoughts around that?

I’ve been creating online slots for over 20 years and I spend a lot of time thinking up ideas, it’s almost like I’ve got a part of my brain continuously processing new concepts. When Danger High Voltage was in the charts back in 2003, I wanted to put it in a slot then; so when it finally went into production, it got a lot of love from me and the team, it looks old school for a reason! However, ideas are all very well, as the saying goes an idea is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and you have to be committed to the 99%.

Another fact about slot development that sometimes gets overlooked, is the real personality of a game. This only comes together during the last 10% of development, I’m not talking math, as it’s a given that math is our principle foundation, I’m talking about the, look, the feel, the playability. It took a long time to finalize Donuts personality. One of the hardest things to do in some respects, is to make complexity simple and with Donuts, it may look simple and delicious but beneath its four reels lies a super volatile beast of a game.

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Recently we’ve seen the MegaWays concept being implemented in Blueprint slots. Is it possible it could branch out to other software developers too? A NetEnt slot with MegaWays, why not?

Megaways™ is arguably the biggest evolution of slots since 3 reel steppers migrated to 5 reel video slots. The format is growing in popularity by the day and Blueprint have had enormous success with the format. We’re talking to a range of slot studios in regards to licensing Megaways™ and we’ll have more announcements at iGBlive.

The license to Blueprint has actually increased play through of our older Megaways™ products such as Queen of Riches and StarQuest as players are leaning more and more towards super high volatility than ever before. Equally, Bonanza is statistically tracking at record levels and is set to increase next month as we’ll see many more casinos including Trada, Paf and 32 Red switch on Bonanza for their players via our Quickfire and Microgaming integrations.

Your games are extremely popular, not only in the casino streaming community but with players in general. Big Time Gaming related scoops absolutely dominate the list of most read articles on Bigwinboard.com. What do you think makes your games so successful and in such high demand?

A great deal of hard work and dedication from my amazing team at Big Time Gaming. When you play slots, you want to be lucky but when you build slots, nothing can be left to chance! In terms of success, we’re certainly not resting on our laurels, we have some major announcements coming up at iGB (don’t rule out Bonanza 3). BTG is pushing the envelope harder than ever with what is currently in production.

Games take a lot longer to make than seems rational, as the bar is set high across the industry but we will never release a game unless we’re confident it has a unique persona. If we take Bonanza, in terms of thinking, it’s now over three years old, so what you have to ask is, what have BTG been cooking up in the virtual cauldron all this time? It’s certainly a heady mix and as a team, we’ve never been more excited!

You’ve been releasing slots a bit more frequently this year than usual, are there any specific reasons for this?

This was actually a knock on from Scientific Games purchasing one of our partners NYX, things got a little backed up for a while and I’m sad to say, you won’t be seeing anything brand new from us until the end of the year, however what you will see will be our most ambitious project to date.

What can we expect from the next slot in line, or is it a total secret?

Firstly and exclusively, in the fall we’ll be releasing upgraded versions of Dragon Born and Queen of Riches with much sharper 4K graphics. They look incredible at full screen or cast to a 4k TV making those Big Wins look better than ever. As for the next slot in line, it is something pretty big and involves a pretty big worldwide brand which I will be announcing to all our customers at iGB live this month. After that, we’ll be delivering a real game changer under a brand new patent and trademark and yes, this is a closely guarded secret indeed as it is an entirely new slot genre. We’ll have a few more hints coming up closer to the time. You can find all the latest updates on bigtimegaming.com.

MegaThanks to Nik Robinson for this interview!

Play Donuts on Vera & John, or any of the other casinos listed on our Best Online Casino Bonus page.

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