Bekki D’Agata, head of business development for North America and Europe at Wazdan, talks to Focus Gaming News about the developer’s approach to user experience and customisation.
Exclusive interview.- The premium slots developer Wazdan has grown exponentially since it first decided to convert popular land-based games into html5 games in 2015. It now has 150 team members and its games are certified in 15 regulated markets.
Focus Gaming news caught up with Bekki D’Agata, head of business development for North America and Europe, to find out about Wazdan’s approach to slots development and its plans for the future.
“We can proudly say that we’ve got partners now across the globe and we’ve collaborated with the majority of top casinos as well,” D’Agata says. “We have paved the way to continue growing at a rapid pace with the announcement of more partnerships, which will come towards the end of the year.”
The importance of user experience
Unlike some slots providers, Wazdan doesn’t have one single game it’s known for, and it doesn’t do skins. Instead, it focuses on the quality of every release and refines the mechanics for each game. That takes time, of course, so it now releases 12 news games a year.
“Our primary focus is definitely on the user experience,” D’Agata says. “Our development team is constantly improving the development processes to create better gameplay experiences for the players. We prioritise entertainment and performance while trying to keep it all as simple as possible for the player.”
She notes that with the market highly saturated, it’s becoming more and more challenging to be innovative. But she says that by putting user experience at the forefront of everything it does, Wazdan has developed some unique, popular in-play features that set its games apart.
One form this takes is customisation in order to increase a game’s relevance to the player. Wazdan’s games have the usual features like ultra-fast mode and extreme mode, but they also have three quite unique features: volatility levels, energy-saving mode and ultra-light mode.
The first allows players to adjust the volatility win size and frequency to preferences without affecting the RTP of the game – VIPs love the high volatility.
The energy-saving mode can save mobile battery power by 40 per cent – crucial now the majority of players play mobile – and ultra-light mode loads the games up to five times quicker when the player has a poor internet connection by omitting sophisticated animations without affecting gameplay.
“I’d definitely say customisation is one of the key tactics to increase engagement,” D’Agata says. “We put the power in players’ hands and allow them to adjust the game settings.”
Wazdan has also developed a promotional tool called the Cash Drop, which players can opt into for a chance to win instantly from a pool of prizes that can be customised by operators in terms of the type of reward and the period of the promotion.
“The introduction of this gamification tool has enabled us to drive engagements for our operator partners and it is localised and therefore fully customisable,” D’Agata says.
What’s next for Wazdan?
Wazdan’s latest game Fortune Reels was released in July. An oriental-themed six-reel slots game, it offers a staggering 46,500 ways to win plus cascading reels, and an expansion of Wazdan’s Hold the Jackpot bonus round.
“The Hold the Jackpot feature has performed incredibly well,” D’Agata notes. “Our players do love it, so I hope to see the continuation of that in future games.”
And future games. Well, the next release will be part of Wazdan’s Greek mythology-themed Power of Gods series, this time focusing on Hades. It’s scheduled for September 1.
The developer will be announcing a new engagement tool soon, and it’s looking for more operators to partner with in the US. It’s already certified in New Jersey and will soon be certified in Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. At this rate, the company’s exponential growth looks set to continue.
Check out the full interview with Bekki D’Agata on the Focus Gaming News YouTube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe!