"Apart from the random number generator, we leave nothing to chance" - Interview with Filip Hlavacek, SYNOT Games
In this week's interview with Filip Hlavacek, Business Solutions Manager at SYNOT Games we touch upon the major advantages of the online environment and the power of data.
Filip Hlavacek, Business Solutions Manager at SYNOT Games
Welcome Filip! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your history in iGaming.
My name is Filip Hlaváček and I am the Business Solutions Manager at SYNOT Games. It’s already been 12 years since I first joined Gambling business as a QA tester. I still remember that day, my first work interview with zero experience, I managed to land a part time job by impressing my former boss and mentor Ladislav Zajíc with a keen eye for detail. From then on, I have tried many different roles, mostly focusing primarily on the backend systems needed to operate the games. 12 years later, many of my colleagues and friends that I had the pleasure to learn from in my early days, are now part of SYNOT Games team.
When and how did you join SYNOT?
End of 2015, Ivan Kodaj (CEO of SYNOT Games) reached out with an offer to start a new division for SYNOT. One that would complement SYNOT’s impressive portfolio and allow it to expand further to the online environment, delivering SYNOT’s experience to thousands of new players in existing and new markets. Few months of planning and preparation followed and half a year later, the SYNOT Games division was founded in Bratislava.
In 2017 you’ve entered the online iGaming industry. What are the main benefits of SYNOT’s experience in producing land-based slots?
One of the major advantages of the online, now predominantly mobile environment, is the “power in numbers”.
The larger the player base, the more fans the game will have, the bigger the chance for success.
And of course, you get to easily tap into streams of 0s and 1s with valuable information that helps you understand performance, gives indications where to improve, etc. However, even in 2020, the above is still very limited in landbased operations. So, in order to be as successful as SYNOT is in the landbased operations for the last decades, you really need to understand your players and you learn to work with very little room for error. So apart from the random number generator, we leave nothing to chance.
You’re really strong in the central and eastern european countries. What has it meant for you to have a strong brand recognition from the start while battling it out with other game providers who started their journey in the online environment?
Entering the online environment with an already resonating name definitely gave us a small lead on the start as players and operators already knew SYNOT and that they can expect a guaranteed level of quality of the content. On the other hand, it means even more pressure to maintain the reputation in online’s dynamic landscape with fierce competition and dozens of new games being launched every day.
Would you say that your games are specifically tailored to target the CEE markets?
It is true that in general the performance of our games on the CEE markets is undeniably very good. However, when producing the games, we are not tailoring them for any specific markets. On the contrary, with each game we aim for a specific player type and those players can be found in every market. It is their distribution across markets that varies. And it seems that our games aimed at our “play for win” players, who are one of our primary focus groups, have more fans on CEE markets.
Your cult-status game, Respin Joker, is very popular in several markets. Why do you think this title in specific has done so well?
For me, Respin Joker managed to nail what a “classic slot” should feel like online. Easily readable fruity symbols perfect for mobile, simple rules but with complex exciting outcomes, gameplay speed suitable for sessions of any duration and with a volatility set to a “comfortable” level of thrill. If you long for the classic slot feeling, or want to go back to the “roots” of slot machines, you should definitely give Respin Joker a go.
Are there areas where you feel that you have to improve in the upcoming future?
Not being that long in the online environment, our focus was on building an engaging game portfolio. Starting this year, we are working on offering players additional rewards in the form of various bonuses. Soon we will be launching our Progressive Bonus across all games and more exciting reward mechanics are planned for next year.
What games do you have lined up in your roadmap that we can look forward to?
We have a couple of sequels planned for our top performing games, such as Joker 50 Deluxe, Book of Secrets 6, and there is even talk of a Respin Joker sequel But I am especially excited about a title called Tiki Princess as it will have a new Hold And Win game feature, which we do not have yet in any other game.
Let’s play around with the thought that you could only play four different slots for a month, 2 of your games and 2 games from your competitors. Which games would you choose and why?
From our games I would play Mirror Shield and Wild Warp. Both feature similar mechanics, where Wild Warp being a line bet game has a nostalgic feeling for me, as you don’t see many of those anymore. From competitors it is very hard to choose from. Amazing new titles are being released each day and I am always excited to try them out, especially if they feature some new mechanics. But if it were 2 games for a whole month, I would go for NetEnt’s Invisible Man and Yggdrasil’s Nirvana. These games are just ones I like to come back to every time.
In your opinion, what major trends and changes do you think will impact our industry the most in the upcoming year?
It seems the fast-growing trend of markets becoming regulated will continue.
Also, regulations keep introducing stricter rules and limits in order to protect the players. Sometimes to a point where I feel that gambling as we know it will just not be the same. So, it will be interesting to see in which direction these trends will steer the online content in the upcoming years to keep our players entertained.
This interview is coming to an end, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers before we say goodbye?
Thank you, it has been my pleasure. I wish our players only the best in these tough troubling times, stay safe, be responsible and never stop having fun playing!