Shalva Bakia is the Co-founder of SPRIBE, the studio behind Aviator, the world’s number one crash game. He tells Comparasino what it was like to be the very first person to take flight

The concept of the game is incredibly simple. It takes the increasing curve format and sees players strap in as a plane takes flight and climbs higher into the sky. As it does, a win multiplier climbs with it – the longer you can hold your nerve, the bigger the potential win. 

You get to choose when to cash out, but wait too long and the plane will fly away taking your winnings and original bet with it. It’s wonderfully simple, is perfect for mobile casino play and still delivers sky-high big-win potential even though you can play with small stakes. 

Aviator is a true phenomenon and has catapulted crash games into the top positions in the game lobbies of many online casinos. While it was not the idea of just one person, Shalva Bukia, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at SPRIBE, the studio behind the game, was a driving force behind its launch. 

So where did the idea for the original online casino crash game come from? Shalva explains. “We’d been observing the emerging crypto casino space since 2017 and noticed a new type of game that was popular with younger players that had its roots in the video game industry. We could see this being a new genre for online casino, so we rethought the concept, added features and tweaked the user interface to make it perfect for mobile play. 

“With the mechanics in place, we thought about the theme and Aviator and its aviation theme was ultimately inspired by the multiplayer experience, the social engagement and the unique gameplay that sees control given to the player at take-off and during flight.” 

Lots of game studios come up with great ideas for games, but very few go on to become a global success in the way that Aviator has. For SPRIBE, the success of Aviator can be attributed to what Shalva describes as a “horizontal” structure where everyone in the organisation contributes to the game being developed. 

“Aviator underwent refinement and additions as a collective effort before it launched in 2018. From the initial concept to launch, we focussed on combining features from different industries to create an experience that would appeal to and engage Millennial and Generation Z players. Iterative development has since allowed us to enhance the game without losing its essence,” he adds. 

Before any game hits the market it undergoes extensive testing and Shalva was one of the first to get behind the control of Aviator, an experience he describes as “exhilarating”. Studios like musicians often know when they land on a hit, but SPRIBE and Shalva have still been blown away by its popularity which he says “exceeded our expectations”. 

Despite the success that Aviator has gone on to achieve – today, it is available at more than 1,500 online casinos around the world, Shalva admits that building a casino game on the crash format was a “risk” at the time. 

“From a traditional casino perspective, these games have unattractive visuals and almost primitive gameplay,” he tells Comparasino. 

“However, our bet that this genre would grow has seriously paid off. Aviator was the first and unique in that it was able to gather a combination of elements that provoke the full and necessary range of emotions and sensations that players remember the game and keep coming back to it.” 

The launch of Aviator in 2018 has opened up the crash game genre and led to other, non-traditional casino content landing in casino game lobbies – think Mines, Plinko, Keno and so on. 

One of the big draws to these games is the multiplayer gameplay and social interaction not found with standard slots. Aviator, for example, has a real-time leaderboard where player scores are tracked. Some casinos even run tournaments where you can win prizes for having the highest scores. 

The chat function also allows players to interact throughout the playing session. In fact, Shalva says the interactive aspect of Aviator has been key to its popularity. 

“More and more people seek social interaction when engaging in an entertainment activity – it’s why social media is so popular. Aviator is one of the first casino games that allows players to interact with others while they play, including sharing GIFs and even free spins through the chat. 

“If you compare Aviator with other casino games such as slots, the social interaction we offer is simply unrivalled and that Aviator is played by millions of people each month is proof that interactivity is something that players are seeking.” 

Aviator has already taken the online casino space by storm, but SPRIBE has no plans to slow down. As well as Aviator, it has a growing portfolio of other crash games with several new titles set to hit the market this year. 

Replicating the success of Aviator will be tough, but Shalva says the studio is “always learning, always improving” and that each title is a step forward from the last. Aviator is always being improved, too, with regular updates that keep the game flying high. 

Before Shalva heads back to his busy life as SPRIBE’s Chief Product Officer, there’s time for one more question. If a player hasn’t tried Aviator before, why should they? Shalva’s response is simple. 

“Because it is the number one crash game in the world, of course!”

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