Earlier this year, Malta-based slots developer Swintt announced a new addition to its senior management team, in the form of Per Hedén, who will serve the company as chief product officer.
Mr Hedén is no stranger to the Swintt team, having first joined in October 2021 as a strategy consultant. Prior to that, he gained iGaming experience at Yggdrasil Gaming’s as CPO and at GAN as senior strategy consultant.
He sits down with iGamingCapital.mt to discuss his new role, and his new part-time residency in Malta.
You had the rare opportunity to actually work for the company for three months before joining on a full-time basis. How important was this period on the inside for making your decision to join on a long-term basis?
“Yes, this was a bit different, a ‘try before you buy’ setup from both parts. But I hade expressed being open to both a consultancy role as well as joining as an employee.
“So this was an excellent way to get to know the company and team from the inside, in parallel of working with my consultancy deliverables the first three months.
“I think this was a smart setup, and it worked well for both me and David Flynn (CEO of Swintt & Glitnor group). We had a chance to get to know each other in the same time as we discussed my consultancy tasks, while also having ongoing discussions of future steps and the potential CPO role.”
In your new position, you will be based jointly between Sweden and Malta. How will this work?
“This role is split between Stockholm and Malta. I will plan on spending one to two weeks each month in Malta, since most of the Swintt team is based in Sliema.”
On a personal basis, what have you thought of your time in Malta?
“In my previous role in iGaming, at Yggdrasil, I lived full time in Malta for a bit over one and a half years so I am fairly in the know about Malta’s pros and cons.
“Working in iGaming with all the events, fairs, exhibitions and conferences and as an expat, all the networking possibilities in those communities with whom you can enjoy a lot of activities is a great thing with Malta.
“Malta has a lot to offer, of course, with it’s year round nice weather, being surrounded by the sea with it’s attractions and the huge amount of historic sites and museums covering it’s amazing history so there is no question that Malta can give you a great quality of life.
“Although living in Malta, I missed more green areas in Sliema and outside . Being an outdoorish Swede I did miss greenery and woods. I’m quite fond of mountain biking, running, skiing etcetera in the forests back home but the thing I missed most was my family, of course.
“They were not able to join my move to Malta. This is also the main reason for the setup in my new role at Swintt and being based in Stockholm but regularly spend time in Malta. I look forward to being able to enjoy the best of the two worlds.”
Professionally, what do you think of prospects for the iGaming industry in Malta?
“Malta is still the iGaming capital in Europe, and will be for quite some time, based on all the benefits being the hub for network effects for companies based here.
“The ongoing discussions of Malta being less attractive, due to the challenges in finding the right competencies to employ staff, which also has lead to a rapid increase in industry salaries, and also the increased cost of living etcetera, are still valid.
“Add to that the potential effect of two years of COVID, when more or less everyone have seen the benefits of remote work can have an impact on how companies now look at the need for their employees to relocate to Malta. Also Malta’s greylisting and general banking problems combined is a potential threat for new iGaming companies to relocate here.
“However, the strong growth of iGaming, for many years to come, will most most likely just strengthen Malta’s role as iGaming capital even more and as mentions all the other advantages that Malta has for quality of life helps for sure as well.”
For the next year, can you tell us what’s on the agenda for Swintt with you as CPO?
“Having just joined the great crew I am super excited for this year. In my role I will focus on improving our product execution to drive our business growth.
“By increase the quantity of our quality games, including new framework mechanics. We have already started innovating our own trademarked slots mechanics, with a number of games already live and this week we launched our new game Aloha Spirit, which is our first game with our XtraLock mechanics.
“In Aloha Spirit TIKI Icons lock and collect in the reels to reveal credit prizes or huge bonus prices up to 200,000 times your bet – looking forward to see how this game will perform. In April we will launch our first branded game: ‘The Crown’.
“The Crown features the iconic footballer and actor Vinnie Jones, and this game will be followed by two more branded games during the year. We are also investing in a new game concept team.
“That team will prototype, playtest and continusly tweek our game ideas until we are sure that the game concepts are great and fun, before we move them forward to production in our studio teams I truly believe this will be a fantastic year for Team Swintt. And on top of that we just moved into our new Head office, in one of the most beautiful buildings in Sliema, Villino Zammit.”
More personally, what do you plan on getting up to in the next few months and years?
“Well, my new job plus taking part of the family activities remote or when in Stockholm – is of course, pretty much all my focus now. However, I try to exercise when I can get the time.
“I used to play padel, squash and Ultimate Frisbee when I lived here so I will try and find some old partners when I’m here in Sliema and, if not, a run on Sliema’s promenade is always a nice alternative.”
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