“Quality will always defend itself and it is very high on the list of values we follow”
Chief Operations Officer at Mirraculus, Łukasz Wala, in an exclusive interview for iGaming Express, tells about the history of the creation of the slot game studio, but also reveals what products they will rely on. He also talks about his industry thoughts and states that quality will always defend itself. We invite you to read the whole interview.
Mirraculus is a new game studio. Where did the idea of its creation come from?
Indeed, we are a very young studio whose roots go back to createIT, our parent company. Over the last 6-7 years we have been involved in the development of both game and operator platforms, so we have gained quite a lot of diverse experience.
We finally came to the conclusion that there is still room on the market for a studio that would create high-quality and innovative products. Our industry often resorts to what is safe and tends to be quite repetitive.
We wanted to do something else – redefine the world of slot games. To achieve this, we continue to work with talented people who have been with us in this business since the beginning.
Who is directly behind the Mirraculus project?
Besides me, there are two other people behind the studio: Bartek Borkowski and Alex Fredrych, the founders of createIT, who have been operating in the iGaming industry for many years. The guys support the whole project on a multi-level basis from the business and investment side. I am responsible for the executive side, contacts and building the brand.
In addition, there is a wide range of people responsible for development, project management and marketing, who support work at the manufacturing level.
I think it is a considerable success that we managed to create a brand separate from createIT, which, although it operates in a similar segment, will not cannibalize each other.
How long were the discussions leading to the launch of the project?
It took several months. The project had its soft start in early 2023, although the discussions had been held long before.
Let’s go back to what you mentioned at the beginning. What do you think is the trend toward repeatability in the iGaming industry?
I think the main reason is cost. Creating a really high quality and innovative game takes a lot of time. If you already have ready-made components, you are able to release new slots like from a production line and constantly deliver content to operators or aggregators. The difference in the amount of work is enormous.
The size of the portfolio and the publishing cycle are of course particularly important things and, above all, those that generate revenue. But I think it kills creativity and freshness.
So, aren’t you concerned that it will be difficult with your products to compete?
In my opinion, quality will always defend itself and it is very high on the list of values that we follow, not only in Mirraculus, but also in createIT. We want to be able to look back on the titles we create with pride. We do not care about releasing titles in mass, only because a large part of the companies operating on the market operate in this way.
Do you want to operate internationally on different markets?
We are not limiting ourselves here in any way. As we are a studio that provides ready-made solutions, we are not subject to licensing requirements. All the games we create can be freely adapted to the needs of the company that wants to cooperate with us.
In the future, do you plan to become a full-fledged provider or rather limit yourself to cooperation with suppliers?
At the moment, we imagine our business primarily as a studio. Our goal is to become a reference point for other companies and show what a game studio should look like. Then we can serve as substantive or technological support for studies that want to mark their presence on the market.
Have you already conducted market research in terms of which jurisdictions your games might be best accepted in?
For now, we focus mainly on European markets, and the clients with whom we talk are companies from the Old Continent. This is due to our network of relationships. All previous slots that we released were mostly based on European licenses. However, we do not limit ourselves, and our second goal after Europe is the Latin American market.
I played the demo of your game “Sarcophagus.” In my opinion, it is a very pleasant slot with an ancient theme, simple mathematics and basic additional functions. Will you rely on such games?
Sarcophagus is a bit of proof of concept. We used the gameplay model and mathematics, which are well-known to the players.
We had a real boom in book games and the popularity of this kind of titles is still quite high. To begin with, we wanted to test ourselves in the area of relatively classic solutions. We knew that in this case the market could provide us with ready-made components, and we tried to add something from us when it comes to the audiovisual side.
I think we did it quite well, but that does not mean that this is the direction we want to take. We are going to reproduce several popular formats, such as the aforementioned “book games” or fruit games, but now in the queue there are completely new ideas with innovative functionalities.
These are completely original concepts, and we want the games we will create to be based mainly on players’ expectations. We do not support this only by numbers indicating the popularity of particular genres, but also by interviews with players who actually visit online casinos. The result of these conversations is “Sarcophagus” – interviews clearly indicated that this type of slots is preferred by the players we asked.
“Sarcophagus” at first reminded me of “Book of Ra” of NOVOMATIC.
I think this is a very good association.
So, from what you say, you are going to create games with completely unique functionalities that I will not find in the titles of other producers?
I’m sure that there will be a lot of unique functionalities. We want them to be publicly available and be the core of the game, not to be based on additional paid models. For now, however, I do not want to reveal what new functionalities are, but I can promise that soon players will find out what I said about.
From my previous interviews with people from the industry, it appears that on the American market players expect to expand bonus games, while Europeans do not show this type of demand very much. Would you like to create something completely fresh in this area as well?
When it comes to functionalities such as marketing spins or jackpots, we definitely have it in our plans, but I think it will require having a fairly stable position on the market.
I do not want the first game we are going to release to be full of all the possible functionalities. This would take away the opportunity to check whether a game in such a raw version will be well received on the market.
Let’s go back to the fruit games that seem to be immortal. What do you think of them, and how strongly will you rely on slots from this segment?
Even a small trailer appeared on our website. Our next game will fit into this genre, but we plan to do a small redefinition of what the fruits will be in this slot.
As for the gameplay, we will leave this game in a very classic form. We want to move toward audiovisual quality. We can say that these fruit games are immortal, but we must admit that regardless of the title or studio, they look mostly identical to each other.
If they already differ in something, then most often we are dealing with a re-skin, which very often does not even mean some great modifications. In fact, there are the same symbols, there is the same background, no animations.
Typical Sizzling Hot (laughs). So, in summary, your fruit games will differ from all the players have dealt with so far.
Yes, exactly. At this time, we have a remarkably interesting concept that is very up to date in terms of involving the player in the gameplay. Although the functionality of the game will be very basic, we want to allow players to interfere with what they see on their screen.
You intrigued me, what kind of interference are you talking about?
I cannot give you any more details yet. However, it is primarily about the possibility to adjust the game to your own preferences.
Do you plan to create a series of slots that will be your flagship product?
I do not eliminate such a possibility, but we still want to avoid repetitiveness at all costs. Even if we decide to create a series, we do not want the next versions to be the same old stuff.
If “Sarcophagus” turns out to be a hit, which of course I would have liked very much and we decide to release another part, it will not be its continuation, but rather a spin-off. So, for example, we will release a “Sarcophagus” set in the noir style.
If we are talking about series, there must be some common elements somewhere. Where will these references appear?
It will be rather a reference to the character. We plan to introduce characters who will function in the world of a given title. I think mathematically these games may be similar, but every time we would like to add something fresh.
In our industry, we do not have such pressure as in the computer games industry, where the continuation of the RPG game must be another RPG game. We have much more freedom, because after all, there is this core here, which is the slot character of the game. So, we can play with the way it will be presented.
On the other hand, we had many examples when a continuation of a title was released, and players were disappointed with it. So, there is no guarantee that such a scheme must necessarily be successful.
Of course, this cannot be predicted in any way, but I think that, in this industry, it is generally difficult to predict how the game will be perceived and whether it will be successful.
Many providers mentioned that their biggest hits were games, which did not consume too much budget and work.
It is a little bit a matter of chance indeed, but fate can be helped a bit, for example, financially or with marketing, to position yourself higher with operators and aggregators.
It also often happens that one of the iGaming influencers will come across your game and play it on their stream, which is watched by several thousand people. Then this game automatically begins to generate greater activity.
You can also support such influencers to appeal them to your game.
Of course, but such actions are quite expensive. But I’m talking about randomness and the fact that there may be some unforeseen events that will make the game a success.
Do you have any plans for characters from your games? They will appear only in slots, or maybe you are going to use them even for marketing communication?
We are already doing that this way. Both online and offline, these characters will be part of our brand. Some time ago, I even posted on LinkedIn asking for the name for the protagonist of “Sarcophagus” so that we can engage the community in what we create.
What do you think about branded games, do you allow the possibility that you will also create such games?
In this area, I always separate it into branded games and trend games. Trend games refer to the increase in popularity enjoyed by a specific influencer. I agree with the fact that these are very profitable productions, but in my opinion, it is difficult to achieve high quality in this case, because such titles must be released immediately before the wave of popularity weakens.
Over the course of a year, there are many such trends, but they have a very short lifespan. If you manage to hit the slot in this life cycle of a trend, then you will probably make a good profit from it.
On the other hand, we have branded games, which are based on an actual product that already exists on the market and is rooted in people’s awareness. For example, we can build a slot based on a fairy tale or fable that has been in the general consciousness for a long time.
In the case of such games, you can also reach the fans of a given work. I am surprised that there is no game based on the Harry Potter story. Is this a question of copyright?
Yes, obtaining rights to use books or films about Harry Potter would be quite difficult on the one hand, and on the other very expensive. With works that appeared relatively recently, this is the main problem.
If, for example, we want to use a more classic theme in the slot, then there is even a chance that it is currently in the public domain. So, there is a really big area to manage.
I immediately think of Frankenstein of Netent. Game with simple math, but a great intro from the cemetery, perfect symbols. It is memorable.
Exactly, Frankenstein is a really great game from this area. It is probably one of the most iconic games of Netent, but that’s what it’s about – to tell the story of a character, a fairy tale that players know from the screen or a book.
Are you also going to make your contribution to the development of this area?
Yes, we will definitely create branded games.
The future of course is moving toward the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Players, especially from the younger generation, will desire new experiences. Are you ready to create games like this in the future?
We are prepared for this, but we do not have it in our short-term plans at this time. Technologically, we would be able to create such a title, but at the moment we prefer to create several quality slots in the traditional form at the cost of one VR product.
What role will VR and AR play in the casino industry?
I think it will be an interesting niche. I even had the opportunity to meet a few people who are engaged in creating virtual reality casinos. However, we need to take into account the aspect of access to technology.
On the one hand, the production of such technologically advanced things is expensive, on the other hand, the potential audience is quite limited at the moment.
We should remind that today a huge part of the activity comes from players using mobile devices. The desktop itself has a relatively small contribution here, and one still has to consider what percentage of these desktop gamers use or will use VR devices.
So, when do you think VR will become popular on a massive scale?
I do not feel myself to be competent to share my predictions in this regard. I am a console player myself and I will remind you that VR on PlayStation has been functioning for good few years. Despite this, there are not many products created that are adapted to this technology.
In iGaming, we should now focus on other areas. Mainly to draw on what determines the strength of traditional console or computer games, such as aspects related to building a community. It is the community that drives the activity, and the activity that drives profits. If these solutions are transferred wisely, it will be possible to keep the audience that follows your brand for a long time.
I think that in the iGaming industry there is not as much expectation for a given title as in the traditional games industry, but there is some attachment to the brand, however.
At this point, it actually works so that the players attach themselves to one brand and usually to one game. However, they do not necessarily check the release date of a new slot of a particular studio or are eagerly awaiting the next title of this producer.
How should one contact you if someone decides that he or she wants to cooperate with you?
I think the easiest way to contact us is via the website, although you can also contact me directly, because at this point, I am mainly responsible for the visibility of the brand. We are also available at most trade fairs and events, so there are plenty of contact possibilities.
Are you open to conversations with a client who will have their own specific slot idea?
Mirraculus will be primarily a product company. We are open to cooperation with other studios, also to establish cooperation and create products together, releasing them later on the market or offering to suppliers.
When it comes to creating games from scratch for our client, it is also possible, although these are the issues dealt with by our parent company – createIT. Regardless of the contact way a potential client takes, we are able to bring the cooperation into existence and make it successful.
What does your accounting model look like? Can one just buy a game from you, or does it work more on the GGR principle?
We are completely open to discussions in this area and do not limit ourselves to one model. For now, we have GGR-based distribution, but if someone wants to have one of our titles as an exclusive, then we can discuss it.
Where do you want to be at the end of 2024?
By the end of next year, a few of our titles will be completely production games. By then, I think we will have already set ourselves in the consciousness of the iGaming industry as a good partner to work with and a studio that values quality, which is where you go to if you are looking to expand your portfolio with something fresh and innovative.
But I think that the 2024 will be the beginning of our journey. So far, you can see only a small part of the things we do. Over time, we plan to reveal more and more, and in the near future information about the titles we are working on will appear on our website.