Stay abreast of market trends and be able to anticipate future trends - an interview with Pawel Piotrowski, Co-founder at Nailed It! Games
We spoke with Pawel Piotrowski, Сo-founder of Nailed It! Games, and we had the opportunity to discuss the history of their game studio, plans for the future, and upcoming titles from Nailed It! Games.
Welcome to the SlotCatalog interview series! We are glad to have you here. Please, introduce yourself to our readers.
I have been working in the iGaming industry for eight years, and I have been an online casino player for over 18 years. I was very curious about what the game development process looks like from behind the scenes, and that's why I started my professional adventure in the industry. My dream, which came true, was to create casino games professionally, and the dream that is now coming true was to build a team of industry specialists and establish a company that would influence the shape of the industry with its products.
You’ve got tons of experience in the slots industry, including working at Yggdrasil. Tell us more about your journey and how did you end up creating Nailed It! Games studios?
Joining Yggdrasil almost at the beginning of the company was a great decision. I gained a ton of experience working initially in the position of QA, then Product Owner, Lead Game Producer, Studio Manager, and finally, the manager responsible for the company's new games roadmap.
Working in three locations - Krakow, Malta and Stockholm - allowed me to meet many fantastic people from whom I learned a lot and who influenced my career.
With Grzegorz Przybyłowicz, with whom a year ago we founded Nailed It! Games, we had the pleasure of working together at two previous companies. We both felt that this was one of those "now or never" moments and that we had gained enough knowledge of the industry that it was time to build something from scratch on our own.
The combination of Greg's technical expertise and my product know-how makes for a really good mix.
What’s the studio’s vision and what do you think is your biggest differentiator?
The online slots market is very saturated, an there is no sign of this trend reversing. We focus first and foremost on the quality of the games, both in terms of the game mechanics we choose and the audio-visual setting. We follow a similar philosophy in building the team, which already includes 14 very experienced professionals. We believe that with a 20-person team of carefully selected industry experts working on the advanced frameworks we have developed over the past year, we can create ten highly polished games in a year. This is our goal for 2024.
Let’s talk about your upcoming slot Gold Mine Stacks. It looks pretty cool and has a massive potential of 50,000x the bet. Could you please dive into the developing process and tell us some of the details?
How did you come up with the idea, developed the features, etc?
Money-on-reels games have been very popular lately. We wondered how to improve the player's experience in this type of mechanics. If you have collected almost the entire screen of symbols in a bonus game, you know that you can't count on much anymore. In Gold Mine Stacks, we introduced a mechanic whereby for collecting a whole stack of bonus symbols, you advance to the next round. In the next round, the game screen is emptied, and the possible prizes are even better than in the previous round. The crowning achievement of the Bonus game is the total win multiplier, which is unlocked at the last level. Players looking for big wins are sure to be attracted by the vision of winning 50,000x the stake and the option to buy a Bonus. The beginning of the Bonus game is exciting, as one of the possible prizes in the Bonus is multiplied by up to x50
How excited are you about making a debut with Nailed It! Games?
It's hard to put into words. A great many feelings accompany the upcoming launch. However, the dominant one is excitement and gratitude to the team that made it possible. On the other hand, there is not much time to think about it, as we are working on the next titles.
We look forward to the reactions of the players and operators, which we will listen to carefully. We want each subsequent game to be better than the previous one, and we want to achieve this by working with the iGaming community.
What was the most thrilling part of the whole process?
This part - releasing the game, is still ahead of us. The most thrilling part so far has been testing the game at the early prototype stage, testing on a group of players, including friends in the industry and implementing their insights. It's also great to spend time playing the final product and waiting for the release and players' reactions!
What was the biggest challenge?
When working on the initial games, it was a challenge to accommodate the work on the games with running a company, as well as the first-time integration with the gaming platform. Now that we have an expanded team and completed integration, we can focus more on the game production itself.
In the production process itself, the biggest challenge is to say that the game is finished and switch to the next one. There will always be some element that can be improved, but in this way, you could work on one game for a year or more.
What would you say is the most important aspect behind developing slot games?
I can't mention just a single aspect. It is very important to stay abreast of market trends and to be able to anticipate future trends. Many factors contribute to the success of a game, starting with the name itself and the theme of the game, based on which players often decide to play this game and not another. The first impression after turning on a game is very important, so the visuals must be pleasing to the eye. For long-term retention, the key is engaging mechanics and easy-to-understand potential for high winnings.
Given your background in the slots industry, how does it feel now to produce your own slots?
Creating your games is great fun but also a great responsibility. Running a company is not easy, but the joy of working on your games more than makes up for it. Total liberty in creating a roadmap gives you great freedom, but you must be careful not to overdo it with too much experimentation. The key is to create a balanced roadmap of games such that every type of player will find something in it for themselves. In our work in the industry, we have gained much knowledge about players' tastes in European markets. Our current distribution network extends well beyond these markets, and we will still need to learn more about their specifics.
Does your approach to creating a game differ from other slot studios?
I'm not sure what the processes are like at most slot studios. For the time being, we have a reasonably loose work organization typical of startups, and we want to keep it that way for as long as possible.
We spend a lot of time prototyping ideas for new games, pre-production and listening to player feedback on games that are still in production. We're working to shorten production times to react as quickly as possible to what's happening in the rapidly changing online casino games market.
Looking forward, what should we expect from Nailed It! Games in the near future?
We already have a roadmap secured for 2023, in which we will release 7 or 8 games. For the first three games, we have set a very high variance and win potential of up to 50000x the stake. Subsequent games will have a lower variance. The mechanics and themes of the games will vary greatly. Some games have well-known mechanics players love, while others rely on innovation and exploration of mechanics previously unheard of in our industry. In the second quarter of next year, we will release the first in a series of games having a mechanic that opens up an entirely new category of slot games. After a year or so, we'll know what works best in our distribution network, and we'll create more of these types of games.
What major trends do you see interesting in our industry today?
Games with a bonus purchase option are very popular. It will come as no surprise that we are heavily relying on that functionality. Games with high win potential are popular, especially among the streamer community. Compared to previous years, many more grid games are popping up. Also noteworthy is the multitude of Money on Reels games. Most providers are trying to bring innovations to the market that will repeat the success of Megaways. We are no exception here. We are very excited about the mechanics we will be launching in a few months and can't wait for the players' reaction.
What is your prediction for the iGaming market for the next few years?
A very exciting time is coming for the iGaming market. A new generation of gamers is entering the online gaming world and they have different tastes when it comes to entertainment. Slot providers have to constantly adapt to the changing market, which is easier for smaller studios like ours. Gamers certainly can't complain about a lack of innovation, and I'm sure that studios that focus on innovation will succeed.
Younger players are looking for mechanics they know from casual games. For many of them, the social aspect of gameplay is also important.
In such a competitive market, why should players choose your games over others?
The common denominator that binds all our products is high quality.
Games differ significantly from each other in terms of mechanics, themes or mathematical models. We focus on a diverse roadmap. We hope that every player in a year will mention one of our games as one of his or her favourites and will return to it often. We have a ton of concepts that are in production or waiting to start development and we can't wait to share them with everyone.
But don't take my word for it and make sure to check out our games in the coming months!
Are there any slot studios that you’ve been impressed or inspired by lately?
Of course, we are very happy to see relatively new studios succeeding in the industry. They are an inspiration to us and we hope to follow in their footsteps!
There are many such providers, but I can certainly mention Snowborn Games, Hacksaw Gaming or Slotmill.
If you could pick only three slot games either from your studio or any other to play for the rest of your life, what would they be?
I hope I will never be limited to only three games! My taste in games also changes over time, and I keep a close eye on the new games coming out each month. Of the classic games I like to return to, I'll mention Immortal Romance and Bonanza (mainly because it popularized the Megaways mechanic) and Dead Man's Trail from the newer games I play frequently.
Thanks for the chat! Is there anything you would like to add before we say goodbye?
Thank you for the interview. On behalf of the whole team, I want to cordially invite players to join us on a journey with our games. I hope you will enjoy playing and the games will provide you with amazing wins! Our games will be available on the Games Global distribution network. In a few days, we are going to the Sigma conference in Malta, and we will be happy to present our portfolio there!