May 27, 2022
AskGamblers Exclusive Interview with Andrzej Hyla, CCO at Wazdan
Ask any player why they repeatedly return to Wazdan products, and they’ll probably tell you they do it for access to a robust collection of games, including unique and customisable features (Volatility Levels™, we’re looking at you!), diversity and inclusion of languages and currencies, and so much more.
We talked to Andrzej Hyla, CCO at Wazdan about things we were most interested to know, and this is what he said:
In 2021, suffice to say that Wazdan thrived. As well as enviable output of eclectic titles, Wazdan secured new licences, entered new partnerships, and conquered plenty of markets. What would you say was the proudest, most exciting moment for Wazdan in 2021?
Last year was a prolific one for us, both in terms of the growth we experienced and the successful implementation of a healthy working environment since we returned to our office spaces, so it is no easy job to pick just one moment out of last year’s highlights.
One milestone that comes to mind is our breakthrough in the US market with New Jersey, followed by West Virginia. To add to that, with the recent accreditation of our Michigan licence in March, Wazdan now has a presence in three US states, with intentions to enter more throughout the year.
Last year also marked the inception of our Hold the Jackpot series, which became a player-favourite in no time and has continued to attract more and more fans around the world with each new game release. Top-performing hits like Sun of Fortune, Fortune Reels, and Power of Gods™: Hades, are just a few of the 11 Hold the Jackpot products we produced in 2021.
Despite the commercial success that we have experienced over the past 12 months, our company is widely recognised for the positive culture it provides our employees within strategic hubs spread across the globe. Strengthening our passionate team with 47 new members of staff in 2021 is a testament to the rate of growth that we experienced throughout the year, and we expect to see this momentum carry into the months ahead. We are excited to announce that we’ve been recently shortlisted for the Employer of the Year award at the prestigious EGR B2B Awards.
What’s your experience with navigating the pandemic and keeping Wazdan’s innovative mindset alive?
The pandemic was a massive challenge and demonstrated that for iGaming companies to keep players engaged and retained, they need to keep up with – and get ahead of – key market trends and modern players’ specific requirements.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect, from a commercial perspective, was the cancellation of all in-person events. Tradeshows and live networking events are a major driver of business in our industry, as well as an opportunity to catch up on market trends and emerging products. While we are grateful that various event organisers were able to pivot so swiftly, adapting their events to the digital space, we must admit that there’s only so much you can do to connect and interact with people from behind a screen.
In accordance with this, our goal for 2022 is to take part in as many industry events and trade shows as possible, such as the CasinoBeats Summit taking place in May, where Wazdan is proudly sponsoring the CasinoBeats Game Developer Awards Dinner. Later in the year, we have SBC Summit North America in July to look forward to, as well as the SBC Summit in Barcelona in late September, where we will be a premium sponsor.
We live and breathe innovation at Wazdan, and despite the external challenges we have faced over the past couple of years, we have consistently found a way to deliver our enticing experiences that go above and beyond in order to satisfy our players.
As a CCO of Wazdan, what would you single out as the most challenging part of 2021?
One challenge we tackled head-on in 2021 was measuring up to the high standards and ambitions that we have set for ourselves. Not only have we striven to develop and launch innovative titles at a consistent rate of at least one game per month (which our players have gotten used to over the years), but we have also remained competitive by prioritising the quality of our products, over quantity.
Wazdan’s Hold the Jackpot portfolio is players’ favourite and nothing short of impressive. Are you proud of how it’s been received? Can we expect a new portfolio release?
We’re delighted with how our Hold the Jackpot games have been received by players and operators alike. Not only have various titles become staples of our collection, but some have also been recognised by the wider industry, with Fortune Reels being nominated for the EGR Operator Awards, Sizzling Bells™ shortlisted for CasinoBeats Developer Awards, and Power of Gods™: Hades nominated for both the EGR North America Awards and CasinoBeats Developer Awards.
Our upcoming title, Magic Spins™, launches on May 12th and will be the 14th title in our Hold the Jackpot series, and just like every other title in the collection, it will provide players with a unique combination of mechanics to provide a truly exceptional experience.
The magical creation – a blend of cutting-edge mechanics and innovative features – provides an entirely new reel aesthetic and showcases all the mathematical prowess that our titles are renowned for. Players can look forward to various new Bonus symbols and the brand-new Collect to Infinity™ feature, designed to enhance players’ winning potential.
With seemingly endless bonus features, the title is destined to engage players, where landing 6 or more Bonus symbols of any type takes players to the mysterious Hold the Jackpot Bonus Game. During this bonus round, Cash symbols award prizes worth up to 5x player’s bet, with additional fun arriving in the form of Collector, Jackpot, Mystery, and Increasing Value Cash symbols.
Magic Spins™ has been designed to provide players with the chance to win the Grand Jackpot of 2500x their bet, and with an extraordinary design, melodic soundtrack, and advanced mechanics, the title is bound to connect with players across the globe.
Which of the currently popular providers on the market is Wazdan’s biggest competitor, in your opinion? Or, let’s rephrase that: Is there someone you particularly admire out of your competitors?
If I were to single out one competitor, it would be Yggdrasil, for their Norse-inspired slot Vikings Go To Hell. Ever since its release in 2018, I have had a soft spot for its hellish theme and the amazing graphics it employs. In fact, the same statement can be applied to the entire collection the slot came out as a part of.
Yggdrasil did a great job with this one, creating a stunning game with an adventurous theme and great features. The entire Vikings series is a real flagship one for them, combining mythology with fantastic gameplay, and one that is rightly recognised as a real standard-bearer amongst the iGaming community.[dm1]
We know that Wazdan’s portfolio grows at an average of twelve new games per year. What can the iGaming community expect from you in 2022 in terms of new releases, partnerships, and other plans?
Having been awarded certifications by the US states New Jersey, West Virginia, and now Michigan, we have our eyes firmly set on Pennsylvania. We are also looking to establish our foothold in other US states as well as Canada, which would allow us to bring out cutting-edge titles to an even wider American audience.
Our roadmap for 2022 is packed with thrilling game themes, innovative features, and promotional tools. This year we’ll be releasing more games than ever with two new games hitting the casino grids every month. We’ve already launched Sizzling Moon™, Dwarfs Fortune™, Magic Eggs, alongside our recently launched, hot retro release, Hot Slot™: 777 Crown.
On May 12th, we are all set to release our innovative Magic Spins™slot, followed by 9 Burning Dragons on May 25th and Sizzling Eggs™ on June 8th. Other games in the pipeline for Q3 include 9 Coins to be released in July and Sizzling Kingdom™: Bison scheduled for August. We wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise with additional details, so stay tuned to find out what these titles will have in store.
What would you say is your competitive advantage in the iGaming market?
There are so many things that come to mind that could be considered differentiators for Wazdan in the current market. We like to believe that our games make a real difference when it comes to the player’s experience.
Innovative mechanics such as the Buy Feature, which allows players to enter the bonus round at any time, and Cash Drop, which rewards players with random cash prizes, serve as real differentiators. However, the jewel in our gamification crown, Volatility Levels™, allows players to modify their win size and frequency on the fly, with high volatility bringing more big wins that happen less often, and low volatility, providing the opposite.
No other provider allows players this level of customisation, standing in accordance with our mission to give players the freedom of choice in their experiences and allows them to control their gameplay.
Interview originally published on AskGamblers