October 18, 2021
YOGONET Exclusive Interview with Michal Imiolek, CEO at Wazdan
The CEO of the European iGaming supplier says that its Cash Drop promotion tool doubled unique active players in Europe, and they expect ‘massive growth’ with this in the US. He describes their unique feature for the US market to customize volatility within the games without changing the RTP, and how Wazdan has reduced mobile energy consumption by 40% so players can play longer without seeing differences. Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, among the company’s expansion plans.
As Yogonet has reported over the past few months, Wazdan, a Malta-based international developer of online casino games and features for the igaming industry, has been investing to grow in the competitive US iGaming market, currently focused on New Jersey.
The company operates in 16 regulated markets, with gaming licenses from MGA, UK Gambling Commission, Swedish Gambling Authority, Hellenic Gaming Commission, among others. Wazdan is releasing around 12 top-shelf titles annually. Its team is made up of more than 150 employees at the moment.
“What is very important actually is the fact that we are not skinning games, so we are not really getting rid of the graphic and putting the new graphic on top of the game,” Michal Imiolek, CEO of Wazdan, explains in a video interview with Yogonet. “We’re always trying for the games to be totally unique, to have some different features, tweaked features based, of course, on our experience from the past.”
From the strategic point of view, he says, Wazdan is focusing on geographic expansion, which is it has also decided to enter the US market. “New Jersey was the first state that opened and actually, we decided to try it. It was like a natural step for us to see what will happen. It is, of course, challenging and completely new. Nevertheless, it’s a milestone for us, in terms of North American expansion. So we are extremely thrilled to see how the market will evolve and will change because probably most of us know that it will be tweaked in some time, and we simply want to see what will happen and what the next month will bring,” Imiolek says.
When asked about the initial performance and feedback in New Jersey so far, he says it’s still “too early to establish the proper route,” but the numbers are “really nice” and even higher than they expected. to establish the proper route. He says the fact that Wazdan is a game development studio from Europe, “on one hand, it’s helping us because it’s giving some sort of freshness to the market. On the other hand, we need to work very hard on the brand awareness, and the players need to be aware that the companies like Wazdan exist and the games that we are putting on the market are something that they should be aware of and definitely should try and see if it simply suits them.”
The first batch with six of Wazdan’s slots are already certified and live in New Jersey: Lucky Reels™, Space Spins™, Sizzling 777 Deluxe, Power of Gods™: The Pantheon, Magic Stars 3 and Magic Fruits Deluxe. All of them enable the Cash Drop tool: “It’s a gamification tool, which helps operators create specific promotions, which delivers actually additional prizes to the players playing our slots. In most cases, we are doing it in cooperation with the operators, so we are setting up what they are interested to give to the players and can be almost everything starting from cash prices to normal rewards. We can give everything from the system point of view, but of course, it depends on how the operator feels about their own customers, how he would like to launch it because of the number of options that he has, it’s simply tremendous. And indeed, we are expecting to have massive growth due to this promotion tool in the US.”
Wazdan CEO goes on to say that among European operators, this promotional tool “is super popular, mainly because it simply delivers. And it is quite interesting that basically, the amount of unique active players during the promotion period doubled. So there are two times more players which are actually playing almost three times more game rounds at the same specific time. And the bet sum increased by almost four hundred percent.”
Furthermore, Wazdan has recently launched its Volatility Levels™ feature in New Jersey, which marked the first time US players can customize their own volatility. “It’s quite unique on the market because I don’t really reckon anyone at the moment can do something like that. I mean, on the one hand, from the player’s point of view, it’s quite a simple feature because by clicking one button and within the game, you can switch between the volatility of the game. But the cool thing is that such a switch can give the player the ability and a possibility to tweak the game in order to simply meet their preferences. So if you are a player who would like to just play around and spend quite a long time with the game, you are picking your own volatility. If you are more willing to play aggressively, you are changing the volatility to a different level.”
“The coolest thing here is that it’s not actually changing the RTP of the game, so it’s very important for operators,” Imiolek explains. “There’s no need to be afraid of a situation that the game and numbers start to behave in a very weird way. And actually the player is getting like three games in one because there’s no need to change anything to go to a different game. And that’s super unique also for a US market because that’s the first time that they can customize their own volatility, and within the game, that they can in the live environment, change the volatility of the game, and simply depending on the game.”
Regarding the leading role mobile technology is playing in the iGaming industry, Wazdan has decided to take the mobile-first approach a couple of years ago, the CEO says. “So we are designing the games for mobile-first and then we are adding all the cherry on top, to have it on desktop. What is very important is that basically our mobile products, mobile games, they do have their own control panel. Of course, tailored VR graphics and animations are specifically developed by 4G mobile phones.”
“What is also very important is that we do have, we are calling it Wazdan Special Feature, which is an Energy Saving Mode feature. And that’s something that actually we developed when we were getting the feedback from the market. The market was saying that basically all the slot games, not only our games, are extremely energy-consuming. So we decided to find the balance between the superb graphics and the need for energy consumption. And actually, right now we’re also evaluating it, and it seems that we were able to reduce the energy consumption by 40 percent so players can play way longer, and the feeling that they’re getting from the game, it’s not really changing, because it’s very difficult since the mobile phones and basic mobile devices are still quite small, so you will not see the differences, you will not see the lack of graphics, etc. The feeling will be totally the same, but they will be able to play way longer than before,” Imiolek explains.
As for potential US markets for Wazdan, the CEO notes Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. “Pennsylvania is the second-largest online casino market right now. Every single time when we do have the possibility to enter a new market, we will do it. So we are extremely willing to get additional attraction from the market, to be more visible on the market. So that is why we have to follow the legislations. We have to follow the additional states and simply try to be as competitive over there as it’s only possible. That’s the aim right now.” Cash Drop | Regulated Markets
Interview originally published on YOGONET