In today’s exclusive fireside chat, Paul Puolakka, CMO of Mr. Gamble, has the pleasure of sitting down with Filip Wargeus, CCO at Print Studios and a seasoned veteran of online gambling.
With his rich background in the industry, Wargeus will share his unique perspective on the journey of Print Studios, the creative process behind their most popular games, and offer readers a peek into the world of game studios.
Q: Hi Filip, first of all thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Could you perhaps tell us what Print Studios is and where you are located?
We’re a games studio founded in 2020 with headquarters in Malta. Our focus is quality over quantity with impactful game design. We might not release games as often as our competitors but our games are always worth playing since you never know what to expect. We believe every slot to be a worthy contender for Game of the Year!
Q: Can you walk us through the process of developing a successful game title, from the initial idea to the final product?
Yes, of course. We spend a lot of time in the idea stage where the whole team is involved. The game producers typically pitch ideas and then together we decide on the best ones to take forward. Next we start with a prototype to balance the maths and in tandem the artists and animators start their process. It is a lot that goes into creating a high quality slot; art, story, texts, animations, development, maths and sound. It really is a team effort – a game is only as good as its weakest link so we take our time to perfect all aspects of the game creation process.
Q. What is your approach to designing games that appeal to a wide range of demographics?
We are not really aiming at the wider demographics of slots, per se. For us, we approach it by thinking of the enthusiasts. By enthusiasts I mean, people who watch slots, talk about slots and play slots. Ideally, by doing so we generate buzz and the games organically spread to the wider demographic. Royal Potato is a good example of a slot we really had no idea how it would be perceived given the unusual theme. But, here we are almost two years later and it’s still one of the more popular titles.
Q. Standing out too much can be a risk for games that want a mass appeal. How do you balance innovation with the need to meet industry standards?
Yes, you’re right. That can be a risk. However, we like to stay in our lane and do what we do best. We like to challenge the norm of what a traditional slot might be so we try to focus on further elevating the gambling experience whilst adhering to regulations.
Q. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements and industry trends in the casino game development space?
We approach the game creation process from a place of passion by playing a lot of games, not only casinos but mobile, computer and console. I think the casino industry takes a lot of inspiration from other digital industries and it’s fair to say there’s some cross-over. For example, Cash Defense, a popular title made by us taking inspiration from the famous strategy game genre, Tower Defense. Also, we stay up to date with the latest releases by following review sites. That’s a great way to see what currently works in terms of mechanics and themes.
Q. How can game studios ensure that player feedback is meaningful and actionable?
It is more tricky getting direct feedback from players being a B2B company. However, it’s no secret that people on the internet like to be vocal and we’ve found various online forums good for feedback. One more recent avenue would be streaming. We’ve attended some streams in person showcasing our games and that’s a great way for us as a studio to interact directly with the fans.
Q. What is your approach to designing game mechanics that encourage responsible gambling?
At Print we take a no-bullshit approach to game design. We are always showing the RTP on startup and we ensure the graphics accurately represent the probabilities of the math model. As an example, if there happens to be a 50/50 chance on a gamble in the game, we clearly show that 50/50 chance graphically. We hope to do what we can so that players can reliably get to know and understand everything, all the way down to the numbers that run the game.
Q. A common takeaway from our interviews with studios is that game development is full of learning opportunities. What is the one game that you learned the most from?
As you say, every game is a learning experience. Especially for us since we are creating unique games with no same assets. We start from scratch with every release and I think it’s very difficult to pinpoint one specific game for that reason. We are constantly evolving and learning to this day which is part of the fun.
Thank you for having me on, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you.
Jan 25, 2024