“At Swintt, our ultimate goal is to keep players entertained” — Interview with Gamification Product Owner at Swintt Kat Pysz
We continue our series of interviews with prominent figures in the world of gambling, and our guest today is Kat Pysz, the Gamification Product Owner.
We’ll learn about gamification — what it is and why it’s needed in slot machines, about successful examples of gamification and whether it can provoke gambling addiction. We will also learn about the best slots from Swintt that every player should try. We’ll even explore why bonuses and free spins are so rare in slot machines and why they don’t fall every third spin. Our readers will learn about this and many other interesting topics in today’s interview.
— Tell us how you got into iGaming, and how your career developed. What do you like about working in the industry?
— I’ve been working in iGaming for 19 years now and I’m never bored!
I graduated with a Master of Science in Marketing and Management back in Cracow, Poland and after working in an advertising agency, I joined a land based casino as a dealer. When Poland joined the EU, I decided to travel around the world and came to Malta to work in Portomaso casino and then Casinò Di Venezia as a Floor Manager. It was the first casino that streamed online games from the casino floor. At that time the same tables that were played by clients on the floor were streamed online. It was my very first experience with online betting. Next step in my career was NetEnt Live studio where I took part in building studio procedures and training dealers. It was amazing to watch the studio grow from 1 table to 2 floors full of tables. Then the time came to use my University knowledge and move back to marketing and organizing promotions for NetEnt slots and live tables. I must admit that my heart was always with live tables and it was not easy to direct my passion to slots. But nowadays I can honestly say that I love them all! From NetEnt I moved to Wazdan where my adventure with developers started and I built my first gamification tool — Cash Drop. From then onwards I knew that my passion was to work alongside developers to build new tools and use them in promotions, and this is what I do at Swintt. 2 years ago we were only 4 people at Swintt, including iGaming legend David Flynn, and today we are over 30.
My favorite part about working in iGaming is that we get to cooperate with so many amazing people who challenge and motivate each other to develop constantly. We are not scared to work hard but at the same time we can be flexible to balance work and private life, and that’s fantastic!
— You’re a Gamification Product Owner. Tell us about your duties. What challenges do you face on a regular basis and how do you solve them?
— My job is to build competitive gamification tools, so obviously I need to monitor the igaming market to be aware of our competitors’ offerings. I am lucky to have an 11-year old son who plays many PC and PS games and gives me ideas on how to innovate tools, so they are attractive to the younger generation. After market benchmarking is time for brainstorming, conceptualisation, writing requirements, testing and go live! I am always very excited when a new tool is released and I can present it to the team and clients. I believe the biggest challenge for me is to develop at a “fast and furious” pace as the igaming market surprises us every day. To be innovative and deliver unique tools, an agile and dedicated team is a must.
— Tell our readers a little about gamification. Why it’s necessary in games and other things.
— Meaning of Gamification grows rapidly. Any action that rewards a user is a gamified type of gamification. We find gamification in everyday life: reward for friends’ referral, points for purchasing at grocery stores, free water after spending X.Gamification helps companies and products to be noticed in the overcrowded marketplace.
— Give an example of gamification elements that your players liked the most.
— Most popular tool at the moment is a tournament with a “5 x highest win multiplier” rule. It means that the highest 5 wins contribute to the player’s final score. When we take under consideration the win multiplier, the outcome is fair for casual and VIP players equally. It is calculated as follows: win multiplier equals win divided by bet, so if VIP bets 100 EUR and wins 1000 EUR, it’s the same outcome when a casual player bets 1 EUR and wins 10 EUR — win multiplier is 10.
When we sum up top 5 scores, it gives a player a bigger chance to win and more control over the outcome, that attracts more players.
— Why are bonuses and free spins so rare in slot machines? Why don’t you want to make them fall every third spin? Our readers would love it.
— At Swintt, our ultimate goal is to keep players entertained. We need to find the right balance in how often the bonuses and free spins are rewarded to make sure that the game is interesting for the players to play. Bonuses and Free Spins are calculated into game RTP (Return To Player) and we all know that this is not only how casinos earn money but also how jackpots are paid. It is not always up to bonuses and free spins to decide if a game is sticky, hit frequency is a very important factor as well. How often a player is engaged in any action during 20 min of gameplay, decides if he/ she plays longer or comes back to the game.
— Gamification can only be used in slots or can it be used in games with live dealers? If yes, then tell us how it is implemented.
— Gamification can be used in any game. The most common points collection rules are related to bets, win or loss and game symbols. Let’s not forget about achievements and missions that are extremely popular not only in slots but in PS and PC games.
— What does the success of gamification depend on? How do you understand what it is that is guaranteed to please players?
— Gamification is attractive to players when it’s adding additional entertainment and excitement to the gameplay. One should avoid rules of promotion that are frustrating to players e.g. minimum qualifying bet is too high or targets that are impossible to reach. Another element to consider is notifications to players about earning rewards, climbing the ladder. Those shouldn’t be overwhelming to players or disturbing exciting gameplay. We need to remember that gamification should not overwrite the game! Players come to enjoy a chosen game, gamification and add on to this experience, not the other way around.
— Tell me about a game from Swintt that every player should try.
— I have two favorites:
Our tropical themed game Aloha Spirits XtraLock which takes you to an amazing beach bar with cocktails flowing is perfect for cold winter evenings.
If you long for British pub’s ambiance, you should try The Crown starring Vinnie Jones! The Crown is basically 4 games under one title, each of 4 games is a pub and has its own features. Cherry on the cake is the voice over of Vinnie giving a movie feel to it.
— Do you think gamification can encourage gambling addiction among players? Or do the principles of responsible gambling help you bet responsibly?
— Gamification adds a competition element to a slot game. Group of players who take part in the tournament challenge each other to climb their way to the top position on the leaderboard. In this case the tournament adds a community feel that is sought after so much nowadays. Players like to compare their results and compete. It is the same like playing PC games in multiplayer mode, where players fight against each other or cooperate for greater outcomes. Principles of responsible gambling protect users by reminding them about time and budget spent, helping to control the gaming experience.
— Tell us a funny story from your work.
— We organize tournaments to present new games to employees and in two consecutive tournaments, I won the 2nd prize. Everyone was teasing me that I fixed the outcome because I built the tournament tool and set up promotion. To my defense I donated my 2nd prize to the runner up so we could all enjoy the rewards.
— You probably play a lot so you can keep up with current trends? Is it just because of your job or is it a hobby?
— Market research is one of my favorite tasks at work. Lucky me, I need to be aware of new features and gamification tools that competitors release. I enjoy testing new games and brainstorming what features entertain players most and we should include them in upcoming releases.
Whenever I come across collection features, I get hooked. I won’t leave a game until I find out what the reward or next level is!
— Share your company’s plans for the future.
Swintt has exciting plans for 2023! Firstly, expansion into new territories like the UK, Romania, Canada and the United States.
Secondly, we will build more games involving Vinnie Jones, which will be especially popular in the UK market.
Our new project SwintStudios, which is Swintt’s collaboration with boutique studios, will deliver exciting new games released exclusively on Swintt Platform. Cooperation with those passionate and driven teams is an amazing experience for me.
Last but not least — my roadmap of new gamification tools is constantly growing and 2023 will be busy for me for sure! Stay tuned!