Michael Maokhamphiou, Operations Manager at Lightning Box, sits down with Bigwinboard to talk about past accomplishments, future plans, and the new Waysfecta mechanic. Let’s hear what Michael had to say…
Bigwinboard: 2021 was a successful year for Lightning Box and saw the release of many hit games like 100x Ra, Outlaw Waysfecta and Enchanted Waysfecta. How has the start of 2022 been for you?
Michael Maokhamphiou (MM): We started 2022 with a bang and aim to continue this momentum throughout the rest of the coming year. Our first game launch of 2022 was Murphy’s Pots which built upon the fan favourite theme of leprechauns. The game is packed with two distinct bonus rounds and a focus on player engagement. Specifically, the Rainbow Feature gives you a choice of different hidden prizes awarding either a multiplier or cash awards. Players are escorted to the Rainbow bridge thereafter where this prize can increase further at the risk of also losing the accumulated prize gained so far. This risk and reward factor along with players having a choice over what hidden prizes to pick from creates a fun and immersive game.
March saw the release of Lightning Gorilla which is set in a luscious forest and is built around jackpot prizes with one spin being able to net the player 1,250x. Here you can receive three respins in the bonus round that reset every time a Lightning Bolt, featuring instant cash prizes, lands on an activated reel. These are joined by Colossal Lightning Bolts which are bigger variants of these and split upon being landed to reveal individual prizes.
Our upcoming release is Raven’s Reveal which has a full network launch on the 20th of April. This will bring some horror movie inspired elements, with Raven’s Reveal being set in a moonlit graveyard. Players are met with reels filled with exciting moon wilds that can reveal instant cash prizes, whilst also helping to create more traditional winning lines. Each of our releases are distinct and built with a player-first mentality demonstrated best by our engaging features and popular themes.
Bigwinboard: Last year we saw you build upon the Waysfecta mechanic with many releases using this feature will you be returning to this in the future?
MM: Our Waysfecta system allows for the triggering of truly unique spins each round. Titles like the hugely popular Enchanted Waysfecta and Outlaw Waysfecta have changeable reels and ways, which can grow to have over 15,000 winning ways present in one spin. Experimenting with reels is something we look forward to doing more often. Our other hit game Wild Hot Wasabi also changed what players expect from a slot title’s reels. The game has a Reelfecta system that expanded reel three across what would be considered four traditional reels granting extra chances for wins and the opportunity for larger hits to be made. We continually challenge ourselves to deliver our audiences new and unique features and we aim to continually expand on these distinctive mechanics in the future.
Bigwinboard: What do you feel makes Lightning Box unique from the often-crowded slot market with so many options available to players currently?
MM: We are certain players will instantly recognise our portfolio of animal-themed titles and our Lightning logo appearing as part of symbol animations. Creating our games with this overarching theme in mind means that we have carved out a recognisable catalogue of titles. Additionally, having over 20 years’ experience in the market has allowed us to gain a huge audience of players who regularly return to our games. Many stand-out titles, like our popular Chicken Fox game, have become an integral part of players’ game sessions. This demonstrates the replayability of our games to not only grab players’ attention initially but have enough unique features and fun packed into them to retain many of our fans for years after the release window. Many releases can be a ‘flash in the pan’ and have a brief but successful release that are then quickly forgotten, our titles always have longevity to them, and I suspect in here is where we differentiate ourselves.
Bigwinboard: Last year you were acquired by Light & Wonder, could you tell us more about the opportunities this acquisition has opened up for Lightning Box?
MM: Being acquired by Light & Wonder (formerly SG Digital) has been hugely beneficial for us as a studio. We’re incredibly proud to be part of the exciting journey that they are on, all whilst continuing to deliver games of the highest quality. Everyone involved has benefited from the deal, we’ve been able to draw value from their years of expertise and they’ve gained access to our strong portfolio of games. Ultimately, the acquisition has given us a golden opportunity to focus our efforts as a team, creating some of the best content we’ve ever made under the Light & Wonder brand. What’s more, it’s incredibly satisfying to see these games reach millions of players across the globe thanks to their vast network of operators worldwide.
Bigwinboard: Can you give us any teases to what else we should be expecting from Lightning Box in the coming year?
MM: Throughout the rest of 2022 we hope to develop on our goal of expanding globally as we continue to enter new markets. This was seen earlier this year when we extended our position in the US bringing our slots to Connecticut, which is the fifth state we now trade in. We also want to continue providing our existing player base with high-quality world-class releases. In May we will be releasing a prequel to one of our most popular games expanding upon existing features present in the original release whilst bringing some fresh ideas to the fan favourite title.