Our PowerPlay Studio recently celebrated a respectable 14 years and we decided to take this opportunity not only to remember the past, but also to look at where we are now and where we are headed. And so, we bring you an interview with our CEO Ivan Krechňák, who will answer the following questions.
Hi Ivan, let's remember together how it all started. What were the beginnings of PowerPlay Studio and what was the initial vision of the company?
"My beginnings in gaming go back to the days when I worked as a doctor in a hospital. And then the rule was that you can't sleep in night duty even when you have nothing to do. A colleague once told me that he would play games at night so that he would not fall asleep. We are talking about the year 2000 - 2001, which was, in terms of the Internet, a completely different era. At the time, I didn't even know that there was something like playing online. However, I quickly got into it and also started playing a football management game. Since I had a lot of night duties, I played a lot and was one of the top players too. I spontaneously started writing to the authors of this game, where they have problematic parts, and I ended up helping them with some things. Since it was the golden age of the internet, where everyone helped each other, it became publicly known and other people who created the games began to consult with me. So I helped others, until the moment when I said to myself that I would probably prefer to make games myself. After that, I would not have to succumb to the ideas of others, which bothered me a lot at that time. So my friends and I founded PowerPlay Studio in a trio and said to ourselves that we would release the best hockey management game in the world, with the idea that we want to have more sports under one roof eventually. We finally managed to do that in a few years. We have been in this industry for 14 years and I have to say that in gaming it is an eternity."
Of course, a lot has changed since then. How do you perceive the position of our company on the market today?
"Today I dare say that in the category of sports games we belong to the wider world top. Our latest titles like Biathlon Mania, Ski Jump Mania 3 or Athletics Mania have been played by millions of people around the world and are probably the most popular games in those sports today."
What is your vision? What goals do you set for the PPS in the future?
"Currently, the whole world is affected by Covid19 and its economic impact. It has a devastating impact on sports and the arts. We will try to bridge this period and continue to produce TOP sports games while doing sports advertising around the world."
At the moment, esports are being developed on a large scale, and all indicates that this trend will continue to grow for a long time. So how would you characterize our role in it?
"Paradoxically, sports games are not really played the most at the moment. Mainly action and strategy games are played, which are very popular. Our ambition is to make sports games more popular here. We are working on mechanics that will make this possible."
As mentioned before, at PPS we focus primarily on the creation of sports games. So what are the specific challenges in creating this category of games?
"Overall, it is very complicated with sports games. The position of sports in society has been declining in recent decades. Sport is also having a negative effect on the decline in television viewing among the younger generations. This is reflected, for example, in the fact that sports games are today in the category of niche games. e.g. something out of the mainstream. Of course, this complicates the situation for us, and the result is that when you look at the app stores on your smartphones, there is a minimum of really good sports games. And then, of course, it's much harder to create these games. Because you have a relatively small target group and production is very expensive. We decided to fight this and our effort is to return the sport to where it belongs and we have chosen the form of online games."
Maybe not all of our readers know, but in PPS we cooperate with many athletes alongside creating games. Can you tell us more about it? What does such cooperation look like?
"In games, we usually have the main character an athlete who accompanies the player through the game. In Athletics Mania, he is the indoor European champion in sprint Ján Volko and in Biathlon Mania, the Slovak two-time Olympian Dušan Šimočko. In addition, we have a section of legends in the game that the player can challenge and compete against. There are about 50 athletes in Biathlon Mania, 20 in Athletics Mania, but we are working on more."
What are the most famous athletes we work with or have worked with? (current and past)
"So far, this collaboration is especially important in Biathlon Mania, where legends such as Dorothea Wierer, Simon Fourcade and Simon Eder are at play. In Athletics Mania, the section of legends is still being prepared, but we have agreed Olympic winners would be there, such as Stefan Holm, Matej Tóth, Roman Šebrle or Anita Wlodarczyk."
Thank you very much for the interview Ivan and we are looking forward to the next 14 years of PPS.