I had the pleasure to moderate a panel about the future of Web3 Gaming at last month’s Gekocon 2022 by Coingecko.com. Our guests were Aleksander Larsen of Sky Mavis – makers of Axie Infinity, Robby Yung – CEO of Animoca and Robbie Ferguson of Immutable. The panel was fun and insightful so I was happy to get the permission to share this with everyone. We have provided a transcript below for you convenience too! Please take a watch and comment below.
– Eric Su
Gecko: Guys guys, guys, guys, last night, I had a crazy dream. You wanna know what it was? Oh, wait, geckos don’t even dream. Sorry guys. False alarm. See you in the next session, but at least I got your attention, right?
Any gamer in the house. Awesome. Hey, did I ever tell you guys that I got some money from a play to earn game? Though this was after three days of endless grinding, which is why I cannot wait for the Gamify industry leaders to inform us how they are dealing with some of these issues and what lies ahead for this industry.
We have panelists from big players in the space like Axie Infinity and Animoca Brands. And of course the moderator of the session, Eric Su, a Web3 Investor, trader and builder in the blockchain space. Take it away, Eric.
Eric Su: Okay, welcome to Geckocon 2022. This is the panel for What’s Next for Web3 gaming. I’m Eric Su CEO of Gamepad.co and Exnetwork Capital. So we have really distinguished guests today in the panel. We’ll talk about what’s coming up for the Web3 gaming space, which is very exciting.
So let’s start with introductions. So maybe we’ll have the order as you know Robbie first, then Aleksander, and then Yung from Animoca.
Robbie Ferguson: Awesome. Hi everyone. Good to be here. I’m Robbie Ferguson. Co-founder at Immutable. Immutable is the NFT platform powering the next generation of Web3 games.
We work with some of the biggest gaming content in the world and we power our scale using zero knowledge follow ups to make sure people can have more than 10,000 transactions per second, fully secured by Ethereum. So really excited to be here. And you may know us through some of the games that we’ve built in house, such as Gods Unchained and Guild of Guardians.
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah. All right. Hi everyone. I’m Aleksander. One of the co-founders of Sky Mavis and Axie Infinity. I handle pretty much everything on the business, finance, operations, legal side and in Sky Mavis, we’re also making well, we’re using everything that we built to go to market with Axie to also help other game developers who want to create blockchain type of games.
They can use our distribution platform, our and are also our marketplace for very easy kind of go to market with their own games. So, yeah.
Eric Su: Cool.
Robby Yung: Hi everyone. I’m Robby Yung from Animoca Brands and we make games. Some, you may have heard of like The Sandbox or Phantom Galaxies, Motor GP Ignition.
And we’re also a very active investor across Web3, having made small minority investments in lots of companies, present company included.
Eric Su: Nice. Yes. So, as to start like let’s In your own words, what’s Web3 gaming. Let’s define it. Go ahead, Robbie.
Robbie Ferguson: Sure. To me, Web3 gaming is pretty simple it’s games where players can truly own property rights in their virtual worlds.
And so this means it might be the skin inside Fortnite or the coins inside Candy Crush, or even the DAOs that run the way that these games work. But the fundamental idea is that we are sharing true player ownership and value with the game. So…
Eric Su: How about you Aleksander?
Aleksander Larsen: No, I think that’s a very clear definition to me.
I would also say would also say say the same, so don’t really have too much to add, I guess what I would probably say is that the benefits of this is that, you know, players can actuall y they’ll truly benefit from the time that they spend inside these games. You know, in the past, when they’ve just been, been like playing games, you’ve not been able to, to to bring anything with you from one game not necessarily to the next, but in your journey online rather.
So I think everything that we do in Web3, you know, it, it helps define your digital identity and that usually begins within games and the game items that you accrue over time. So when you find game items inside games they get put into your wallet and then as you progress in life you bring these items with you, or you can view them more as your trophy cabinet and then potentially other game studios maybe will make stuff for them in the future.
Or you can use them simply to prove that you actually did something in, in that was real. I think Web3 gaming is all about bringing more reality into games. I would say.
Eric Su: Cool your turn.
Robby Yung: Yeah. And, and I, I would add to that, actually. I think you touched on Aleks this idea of interoperability the idea that you, you know, once you own this stuff, it’s yours. So you should have the ability to be able to bring it from place to place wherever you go. And not just have it sort of locked inside a walled garden. So I think the idea of interoperability and the platforms being open and, and sharing those in-game items, you know, the usability of those in-game items amongst each other is a very important principle.
Eric Su: Cool. So Web3 gaming really sounds exciting, right? So what’s what’s holding it back. What, what do you think is the biggest problem with Web3 gaming right now?
Robby Yung: So I’ll, I’ll, I’ll jump into this one. I think the most common criticism level that Web3 gaming is I don’t wanna say usability, but I’d say user onboarding. And I think that that’s because Web2 has been brilliant around particularly centralized mobile platforms at giving consumers an incredibly simple onboarding process because most consumers forget that the hard part of the onboarding they probably did 10 years ago when they first set up their payment method and their ID and everything on Google, you know, on the Google play store or on the iTunes store. And so now when you buy something, it appears to be very simple because you forget that actually you put in 20 steps 10 years ago, and it was a pain in the ass, but you’ve forgotten about it. So now three clicks and you’re in and you bought something.
So I think consumer expectations have been a slightly misled to think that that’s how things should be. Because at this point in time, the service delivery is excellent. But it took a long time to get to that point. And I think in Web3, it’s still early days.
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah. To, to, to echo that for sure.
It’s, it’s, it’s a big pain point to, to onboard people. I, I guess I would say also like accessibility of these games is quite hard to, to discover games. And of course, you know, the quality of games that, that have been shipped so far, I would say are still in the experimentation, in the experimentational phase.
You know, what we’ve seen with Axie is that, you know, one of the first games that, that we did ship, which, you know, arguably is lacking a lot in terms of, you know, Web2 functionality, when you’re looking at like live operations, for example, it just simply wasn’t there. And yet, you know, we, we reached, you know, 2.7 million or so daily active players at the, at the peak of that, that games lifecycle.
So. You know, what I would say is that as we are, you know, shipping more games that are better, more fun, more accessible, and, you know, have like, as we’re learning more about these like underlying in-game economies it will be easier for people to also do onboard and then to kind of have different expectations of these games, rather that I’m coming in only to earn, for example, which is a very interesting way to, to, to capture attention.
You will need to have very sustainable type of games. You know, that that are like entertainment platforms where people play for fun. Then eventually, you know, they become owners and then spenders. And from there on, you know, you basically have a solid foundation of games, basically a solid business, except, you know, people actually have true ownership of their game items.
So yeah, I’m excited about that in, in the coming years.
Robbie Ferguson: I think Web3 gaming is supply side constrained by now there’s an insufficient supply of quality gaming content. And there’s it’s too difficult for developers to build a high quality game with a good business model. And so to me, the solutions are A.) Make it very, very simple for anyone to start building blockchain games, which is why Immutable has gone with an API first approach.
Cause really if you’re asking developers to start smart contracts, you’ve just lost 99% of your potential builders. And the second thing is how can you actually, if you look at the mobile gaming era or the social gaming era, when Zynga first popularized using the Facebook social graph and performance marketing to create amazing sort of social games, they turn that into a playbook, which many, many fast follows suddenly could understand how to build a successful game using these, these sort of principles.
Same thing happened with mobile game. Same thing happened with free to play gaming or gatcha gaming in Asia. And we need that moment where we have content hits, which drive sustainable playbooks for other people to very simply build content. So building the successful Web3 economy has to be as easy as sort of well, cool.
That there’s a playbook for me and I can plug in my MMORPG or my mobile or my FPS. So to me, it’s, it’s mainly on the supply side. The value pop is there. If we get this right, and they’re on amazing and fun games to play that the demand will come.
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah, I think kind of saying or echoing that a little bit.
It’s definitely. I think easier said than done, right? First of all, like shipping a good ship, like I think what we’re seeing at Web2, right. Shipping a game there is, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s becoming easier, right? Because there is a playbook. And as you said, right now, there is no playbook in Web3, but that’s also really where the opportunity is because there’s just a blank canvas to actually experiment with.
And suddenly you find pockets of opportunities like we did with Axie and kind of the, the plagiar model with breeding and stuff. And now I guess we’ll see, like, is, are there more innovation moments. Where you can find these like really clever business models, ideally you would have that as more sustainable.
And then I think it’s only a matter of time until, you know, we need more of these things that, that kind of to bridge the gap or, you know, it could also be sold by just having more generally like fun games, which have, you know, Web2. I would say feature parody, but you know, with Web3 magic sprinkled on top, that’s another, you know, path rather than just like genius level or some random innovation that, that suddenly happens so that people suddenly discover it.
But let’s not, let’s not discount that because it happened and it’s probably gonna happen again.
Robby Yung: Yeah. And I think, I think a lot of sustainability also just has to do with the sheer sort of scale of, of user interaction, because you need a certain number of people to play against. You need a certain number of people to have an economy for the economy to actually matter in a game.
So I think once games start to have a little bit more critical mass and, and Aleks, obviously you achieve that with Axie spectacularly. I think we’ll see a lot more examples of this, but the reality is that the Web3 gaming player base is very small still. So it’s challenging for all, but you know, a few of the top titles to have enough critical mass to really be able to demonstrate sustainability.
Eric Su: Yeah, on that note like the traditional games industry is like 2.6 billion gamers. Right. And I think the, the best data we have for Web3 gaming is Axie right. With 2 million. Like, so there’s like a big gap there. And the traditional gamer gaming community is very hostile to Web3 gaming. Like the, they kind of like really hate it.
So, and then you, they have a litany of like, reason that they cite and like how, how do we bridge the those contentions so that, you know, we could bring more of them to our like fledging industry.
Robby Yung: So who wants to address the haters? I, I can, I can jump in. I, I think, you know, What I’ve observed at least. And I’ve only been in the game business for about 10 years. But I started out in the transition to mobile. And so what I observed at the beginning of the mobile era of, of gaming was a lot of hostility from a small segment of the gaming community towards mobile because this was a very new medium.
And I, I can’t tell you how many people said you can, nobody will ever play games on this tiny little screen. You’ve gotta be kidding. That’s insane. But you know, mobile is arguably the best thing that ever happened to gaming. It, it more than doubled the number of gamers in the world and made gaming into the biggest entertainment medium.
So I think sometimes it’s just difficult for people to embrace a new medium. That seems quite, you know, seismically different from the one that they’ve been doing before, because you have to rethink how you, how you create your experiences and the experiences are different. You know, the experience Angry Birds was successful because they pioneered using swiping in a game, which was well suited to a mobile screen rather than trying to replicate a, you know, you remember the first games on mobile, tried to replicate
joy pads and joysticks and it just didn’t work. So they embraced the medium and I think that’s what we’ve seen. For example, with Axie is an embracing of the medium because they flexed their DeFi muscles and other things that you can do with Web3 that you can’t do in other kinds of games. And that’s what makes it novel.
So I think that, you know, the adoption will happen over time, but the one big piece that we’re still missing at the moment in large part is mobile. Because if you just look at sheer numbers, mobile onboarded, most of the users in the world to gaming. And so at the moment, because of uncertainty of how the platforms want to embrace Web3 the mobile platform specifically, I think most of the focus of game development has been on, on browser and PC based games.
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll fill in a little bit there to Robby, because I think what you’re we’re mentioning is definitely a big part of the thesis for, for Axie, right? So when a lot of people are looking at Axie, they see a simple mobile game and they’re like, oh, you know, how can this be? It’s not, it doesn’t fit in my triple A crypto elite mindset.right? Basically what we’re saying here is, you know, we don’t care about like graphics fidelity. Everything we care about is accessibility because we believe that, you know, the two onboard millions and if not billions of players into the, you know, into the blockchain ecosystem, we need to have it very easily so that people can, you know, just play these games without really thinking too much about it.
Now to, to, to kind of bypass some of these App Source, we, you know, had to make our own distribution platform basically. And you know, the old Axie game, it wasn’t even available on any app store, like Google Play or iOS or anything like that, I think. But the new Axie game, what we’re trying to do is actually ship it a crypto, like like I said, free to play friendly version on the traditional app stores so that people can just like experience these games and see like, Hey, they’re actually fun to play. It makes sense. And then onboard into, into Web3 from there. And I think that’s also a little bit of why people are kind of scared about this, about like when it comes to NFTs in general or, or blockchain games is that, you know.
They might hear about Axie and think, oh, I need to like pay $200 or something to, to, to play the game. And then everything is about kind of getting ROI. It shouldn’t necessarily be about that. Like, that’s a part of the narrative that, you know, some people have made, which I think is, you know, it’s fine for a certain extent, but you know, in the end we always knew that has to be about accessibility.
People need to be able to play the games for free. To try it, to experience the funness of it. And then actually, if they want to, you know, they can take the next step and onboard into, into, into Web3 from there. And I think that’s, what’s what’s going to have to happen as we’re educating. Like, I would say normal people into these benefits.
They, they can’t, they initially, it doesn’t, it can’t can’t be any different than, than Web2 games at all. Like we have to get to feature parody there. That’s the first step.
Robbie Ferguson: Yeah. In, in my personal. We have to make games that gamers want to play. And the question is not, how do we make gamers like NFTs, it’s how do we make a game that has a hundred million or 500 million players that uses the technology of NFTs to create a 10 X experience?
And this is a standard we apply for ourselves in innovating any industry, unless you’re providing 10 X value. People will not shift. People do not care. There is too much friction, unless you can innovate in that level of value. And you know, like you said earlier, Robby people will not put in the bridge of entering or setting up a, a, a Metamask because their credit card is, need to be stored inside the App Store.
And so until we say, well, Hey, This is what it feels like to be able to spend money on items that isn’t just captured, or even thrown away by the developer for Call of Duty War Zone 2 or whatever next iteration you are playing is, is really important. And then the second thing I’ll say is embrace Asia.
Like, I think the crypto market is overly focused on Western markets and gaming right now. And we’ve barely seen any cultural backlash for NFTs across Asian markets. Particularly like South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines. In fact, there’s been much more embracing of in general more economify games. I’ve just made up the word.
But but, but people are much happier to sort of have those usages of, of economies and, and real money gaming. And so I think that’s a massive market where it’s gonna be an easier native fit. And you’re gonna require a more subtle use of the technology with sort of triple A titles in Western markets.
Eric Su: Cool.
So what are upcoming Web3 gaming projects are you are excited about tell us and why.
How about you start, Robby?
Robby Yung: Oh, okay. So this is my, my chance to plug our new title then. So Phantom Galaxies, everybody. If you love transforming Gundam style, robots and space, Phantom Galaxies is, is your title. And this is, this is one where we decided, you know to go the full sort of triple A quality route because.
I, I guess because we can, so we wanted to, we wanted to try to demonstrate some type of of quite a, you know, high bar of fidelity in terms of a Web3 game where people can have ownership of, of their robots and their space ships and their planets. But at the same time, obviously we have, you know, a variety of casual, mobile stuff going on, like, like arcades, for example.
So I think we’re, we’re trying to be an equal opportunity developer, if you will, you know. Building for all platforms and all player types. Because I think as Aleks said before, you know, we want to, we want to be able to be inclusive and, and bring everybody on board.
Eric Su: Okay. How about you Aleks?
I mean, I’m very excited about, of course, going to the market with Axie Origin this year.
I think that’s going to be important. I actually, the entire industry should be following that to see as it gets listed potentially on App Stores or, or what happens if it doesn’t. You know potentially. Other than that, you know, from a Sky Mavis’ perspective, we’ve talked to hundreds of game developers so far, you know, we’re seeing across the board that are many exciting games potentially coming into the space we have yet to see we have yet to, to actually announce anything, but, you know, there might be something coming soon, which we’re excited about.
You have, you have a lot of really cool games at the creator program, right?
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah. I mean, so, so there, there are many things, right? So from an Axie perspective, right? So we see Axie or actually all NFTs as platforms that people can build upon. It’s all like about getting that core community started first and then people can build on top of these Axie game characters.
So we have some things here. The main Axie universe, right? We, we are building first party games and we’re opening it up for third parties, basically the community to let them build, you know, I think we had about 1200 applications of people who wanted to, to make like from an amateur level. And now we’re also seeing professional developers coming in, wanting to build on Axie.
So that’s happening. And then from a third party perspective, right? Who wants to use every tool that we’ve made from Axie who wants to use the APIs, the smart contracts, the go to market. You know, the like tap into all the expertise that we have. You know, there are many of those too, but we have yet to, to actually announce any of them, but we will in the next coming three to four months and, you know, we have a lot of faith that some of these games will be very successful. But we don’t really want to announce too many because it’s, it takes a long time to give these guys the level of support that they deserve because the industry is so, you know, new, right.
So we have to make sure that as they’re going to market, they know what they’re doing. because if not, you end up with a game that’s shipping like a presale, which maybe probably is not the right way to go to market at this point in time. It might have been back in the day, but you know, what I believe in right now is, you know, you need to ship first and then sell something so that people can use it immediately.
And then again, that, that, that generally, you know, the lessen the expectations from the community. So you don’t end up in a situation where the community is basically, you know, coming in all the time and saying when, when, when, when, when you know it should be rather the opposite ship, a game, here’s the asset you can buy.
Alright fine. Now we can actually play with it. You know, you’re waiting to see what happens next.
Eric Su: How about you, Robbie?
Robbie Ferguson: Look, we, we just announced our 500 million dollar gaming fund. So we’re really excited about that to, to really try and catalyze, I think this next generation of high quality games being, building real economies on, on Web3. And I think, to me, the exciting project’s the one where the volume is driven by utilities.
And in fact, if you look at Gods Unchained’s volume right now, even throughout this market, It’s actually increased in the number of NFT trades that are occurring and that’s because people trade these assets cause they want use in DEX, not cause they’re speculating on the value. But obviously I, I would be remissed to not mention I luvium who has been doing crazy things in the Web3 gaming space.
Who’s obviously one of our, the, the partners building on the Immutable platform. They just did a 72 million dollar sale. I think one of the largest, Web3 sales of all time. That was just a fifth of their land. They’re building three games, which all interoperate with each other, which I think is one of the first really powerful examples of how you can use interoperable assets to actually build this kind of like metaverse or, or, or universe of IP.
So there’s an overworld, which is sort of like an MMORPG mixed with Pokemon where you can collect these, you know, Illuvials and then you can use them in Illuvium zero, which is their auto battler auto chess genre, which is actually one of my favorite genres. So I’ve been, addictively playing this over the past couple of months, but yeah, exceptionally excited about this game.
They’ve got over 200 people working full time, and I think that’s gonna be one of the first, truly triple A games out the door. And then some other ones are, you know, Ember Sword, Planet Quest Congregate. think there’s some really exciting players moving into the Web3 space. And the cool thing that I think is that every single person on, on this call is actually doing the work that helps these Web2 games to succeed in Web3. And that’s exactly what’s required of the incumbents right now is there’s a huge heap of amazing game development talent. What our job is, is how do we actually help them get these games right. Get the go, go to market, right. As Aleks said, get the economies right.
So they can thrive on the things that are really difficult to do right now. If you haven’t been in the industry and, and experimented for a while.
Eric Su: Cool. So like the context right? The context right now for like the whole crypto market is we’re going into a global recession, right. So we are in the midst of a bear market.
So how do you guys see Web3 gaming faring in this environment?
Robby Yung: I guess if history any…
Robbie Ferguson: Sorry, go for it. Robby.
I, I was
Robby Yung: gonna say if his, if history is any guide, then most of the best games were made in the last bear market. So I guess we’ll see.
Robbie Ferguson: Yeah, look, I was gonna say, we’re doing our job, Web3 gaming is gaming. How much do players wanna spend in terms of time and money on, on regular games and from past recessions we’ve seen generally time spent on games, goes up during recessionary periods by, you know, 20, 30%, not a crazy amount.
Monetization goes down by about 20, 30%, particularly at like the well end overall revenues are generally pretty flat. And, and you see gaming the reasonably counter cyclical or, or decorrelated from border markets. If we’re doing our job, this should be the exact reason why Web3 gaming is, is the category that people should be most excited about in crypto right now.
And I think there’s a massive rotation from sort. More speculative narratives or use cases than crypto right now into these very, very credible businesses, which are gonna have sustainable revenues and sustainable, most importantly, user bases. You know, when we think about the total amount of crypto users right now, it’s about like 30 million, like pretty much ever registered wallets.
The first hit game that is even in the top ten games by players globally will triple the total user base of crypto. So we’re talking about an incredibly powerful on ramp. It’s one of the most powerful technologies that has been invented this century.
Eric Su: How about you Aleksander ?
Aleksander Larsen: I mean, I, I think bear markets are actually great because it gets rid of a lot of the tourists are in the space.
That you know, might just be here to, to or they might seize an opportunity to do a token sale and then try to, you know, turns out that it’s really hard to ship something, right? So I think we’ll see consolidation and then some nice games that are being shipped and then these games ideally will drive the new bull market. I think Axie is a big part of, you know, the catalyst for even the last bull market. So I think you know, it’s very natural for, for the, the, I think like basically the onboarding of the masses to, to crypto will happen through gaming, right? So what, why did you know mobile phones or, you know, the App Store get popular, right?
A lot of it is about games, right too. People want to play games and it’s a very easy way to, to, to make them understand the benefits of a, a new type of technology. And the cool thing here is as they are onboarded into crypto through these games, you know, that’s really, when, when things get exciting in terms of
the fact that they can actually use these the assets that they have in their wallets potentially for other things, too, right. So, you know, when we see something in Axie, right? So 50% of our users have never had crypto before 25% have never even had a bank account before. You know, these are opportunities.
That I think is just, it’s a massive, massive, massive market opportunity. So yeah, I just have to keep building and then and then I guess we’ll see who can survive and good luck to all builders out there. You know my advice here is just to kind of hunker down. Don’t spend too much money on stupid things.
And then try to survive until the, either you ship something or the market ship something, and then a rising tide ship. So like lifts us both and then raise money, make sure that you can that you can ship something as soon as possible.
Eric Su: Okay. Last question what’s your prediction for the Web3 gaming space?
Five years from now.
Robbie Ferguson: Okay. Gaming about the long term.
Robby Yung: Go, go for it. Robbie.
Robbie Ferguson: We keep doing that. No, no, no. You go,
Robby Yung: Oh, I’ll give, I’ll give the short bullish answer, which is, I think, I think all games will become Web3 games. So I think it’ll just be a matter of time before we stop using the word blockchain or Web3 and it’s just games.
Eric Su: Okay, Robbie F., your turn.
Robbie Ferguson: Yeah. I, I love that. I, I think that’s exactly right. What we’re trying to do is make it, so when people think about property rights on the internet, they no longer believe this lie that they’ve been sold for 40 years, which is just because something is digital. You shouldn’t have any rights to it.
It’s rubbish. It, it has no grounding in reality. And so that’s what I think we’re trying to shift the industry, not just for gaming, but for any form of value that people can own or trade that is digital. My other prediction for the space is that we are gonna see. The modularization of all of the tech stacks that exist in gaming today.
And also the, the sort of I guess the decentralization of it. So one of the things that really excites me is that the opening composable nature of an NFT means that you can build business models that didn’t exist before. So now we have guilds who find games that they think are undervalued and say, well, Hey, we’re gonna play it, but first we’re gonna buy tokens.
And so they effectively become these sort of market driven marketing forces, which find undervalued games and help bring them to light of the market, which is what the job of like publishers paying Google for ads essentially does today. And so we’re seeing all, all sorts of basically brand new business models emerge.
We’re absolutely gonna see financial markets emerge on top of this stuff. Anything with this level of primary value being traded gets derivatives, gets secure financial markets, gets literally trading desks. And so I, I think we’ll see, you know, Goldman Sachs have trading desks for Fortnite skins in, in 5 or 10 years and them trading billions and billions of dollars in futures or shorts or index funds.
Because ultimately what we’re talking about is, is one of the largest locked sources of value that we have today, which is a hundred billion dollars in game items, suddenly becoming this open and composable and tradeable asset class.
Eric Su: How about you Aleks?
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah, I mean, so in five years, yeah, I think Robby mentioned it, like, I think games will be games, right?
You know, some games will be using Web3 technology to enhance the user experience in the sense that, you know, people can have true ownership of their game items. And I think, you know, the expectations from the users over time will be that all games, at least offer some kind of true ownership and I think it has to, right.
So I think when I’m looking at, for example, regulation, right, there’s a lot of talk about how can we regulate the industry. It has to come. I think if the users don’t want, right. The regulators will actually try to shut it down. So what I see is that there has to be like a, a tide from the, the, the people themselves who have actually been you know, abused for so long from these traditional game studios that that tide will come in and then forced the regulators to, to be friendly to this new industry.
And I think that that will be one of the, one of the key things that, that will make it easier for. You know, make it more transparent, make it more safe for the users to actually enter this industry. So in five years, yeah. You know, ideally we have very clear regulation. We have people we have all these games that are built using this tech and then that more and more and more users will, you know, expect that this to be inside games and maybe 10, 15 years, you know, every game will be built using blockchain tech to an extent.
Eric Su: Okay, so we have some extra time. So I want you guys to drop like your, the first thought in your, that comes into your mind. Just one or two sentences for these keywords. Let’s do the order with like Robby Yung and then Aleksander and then Robby Ferguson, right? So the first thing is AR
Robby Yung: So, AR, I think definitely AR is gonna be a part of Web3 and Web3 games. Because it has very broad based distribution provided it’s done through your mobile device. So I think, you know, there are some exciting things going on and in fact, we have a couple of companies we’ve invested in who are doing great AR stuff.
You know, not necessarily location based, but when you can own things like pets, for example of course it would be great to be able to see them in your space in AR.
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah. The only thought I had when you said AR was cute, because I think, you know, it’s a cute use case, but I don’t see that actually being the main driver.
I think it’s just another thing that that will be built. That will be another benefit.
Robby Yung: Yeah. Agree.
Robbie Ferguson: AR to me is I think how will have the metaverse overlay social identities. So I think it’s really likely, like we have VTubers today where you interact with a favorite YouTuber and they’re wearing a mocap suit.
Maybe your friends in the future, you just skin them, however you like, not in a violent way as in, you can put a, a Fortnite skin on them and, and people kinda interact in different ways. And so like, this is really untethering, a lot of the digital innovation we’re seeing today into the real world, which is scary, But also kind of awesome.
Eric Su: Apple.
Robby Yung: As in the company?
Yeah. The, the platform.
Aleksander Larsen: Please, please explain. .
Robby Yung: So, so
I think, I think Apple will, will continue just like Google to have a to have a dominant role in the game industry. And I think it’s just a matter of you know, a lot of us in the game industry are waiting to see what Apple, in terms of senior leadership decides that they want the direction of, of their embrace of Web3 to be in the App Store. So it’s kind of the balls in their court.
Aleksander Larsen: I have two, I think, you know, first apples are great, incredibly tasty. Second one is that I, I think they’re the final boss when it comes to distribution channels. And you know, that as I said, the pressure will have to come from the users. You know, we can try to work within their limitations, but in the, in the end, right.
You know, this is a, a brand new thing that they have to embrace to an extent like if they’re looking out users from actually owning their game items, it’s going to be a problem for them in the future.
Robbie Ferguson: Close ecosystem.
Eric Su: How about you, Robbie? That’s it?
Robbie Ferguson: Yeah. I mean, to, to me, that is the definition of Apple. It’s what their business model is built on. Every great technology company takes actions built on what is most profitable for the political technology world they wanna live in. So this is why Google was such a forceable in terms of building open source alternatives to iOS and to Microsoft because they had to make the web more for search to become more valuable. Apple in kind invests in privacy products because that’s a differentiation that doesn’t curb their monetization. And in fact, it entrenches their most compared to competitors. And so the incentives fundamentally are what determine the policy decision to these companies.
For the first time ever, the incentives of Web3 mean that these companies, whether they’re small or like 2 trillion dollars, like we’re seeing today make decisions that only fundamental interests of users and the players themselves. And so that is, I think the difference between the companies that emerging in Web3 and sort of the old tech giants.
Eric Su: Okay.
Last one is Solana phone.
Robby Yung: Okay, so I’ll start Solana phone. I’m knowing absolutely nothing about it, except that it’s been announced. Then I will say it’s a great thing because it will be a distribution vector for Web3. So anything that onboards more players into the ecosystem from a, from a game developer’s perspective?
Absolutely a great thing.
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah. I’m also bullish on innovation in general. I think it’s nice that they’re trying, you know, I, I I don’t, I’ve seen it happen before with the, there was another crypto phone, I think. Yeah, that’s fine. And even, even HTC had tried a little bit. But yeah, so not, not perhaps overall though, you know, keep shipping, keep trying, you know, we’ll see what happens.
Robbie Ferguson: Ambitious. Look, we, we we’ll say SBF has pulled off more difficult challenges in the past. So I’m not gonna say impossible, but there have been no successful entrance into the mobile hardware space in a significant sense, pretty much to the iPhone.
Robby Yung: And this is, this is a big challenge, as opposed to just propping up the entire crypto financial markets, which he’s doing at the moment.
Eric Su: At last point, like if like I pretty, it’s all about the community, right? So if anyone like wants to work for you guys or get into your companies what, what’s your number one advice?
Robby Yung: I think just, you know, obviously people know how to reach us. You can find us through our website or through social media, LinkedIn, all these kind of channels feel free to reach out to us. We’re always interested to talk to people who are building interesting stuff. You know, people who are looking for jobs, we get inquiries all the time and, and love the fact that people are interested in what we do.
So please, I encourage you to reach out.
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah. I mean, we’re always hiring in Sky Mavis through just, just Google Sky Mavis jobs. And you’ll see like all of the applications, like all the jobs that we have open. And even if we don’t have something that’s open, you can, you can probably send a, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with an open application.
And, you know, maybe there’s a, there’s a fit for you. And that also goes for game studios, right? If you want to get in touch with us email@example.com it’s the place to.
Robbie Ferguson: Oh, so we have 120 open roles right now. We’re growing really rapidly. One of the things is we hire globally the best talent.
We have an incredibly high talent bar, but you do not need to be a Web3 expert. In fact, some of our best people come from Web2, who are just passionate about how this technology is transforming people’s lives. And we really specialize in kind of bringing these people up to speed. Cause ultimately there’s a very, very small pool of talent in Web3 today.
And to get the, the talent bars we need, whether you you know, a BD or you’re in product you’re in engineering. We, we really wanna pull these people from everywhere. So don’t hesitate if you, if you have no Web3 experience at all.
Eric Su: Okay. That’s it.
Any, any last words that you want to share with the, with the viewers?
Robby Yung: So I think the only thing I might add is something that we talked about, sort of alluded to earlier in the conversation, which is a lot of the best, most creative, interesting stuff was built in 2018 and 2019 and, and came out in 2020, 2021. So I think, you know, keep building.
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah. I mean, we, what we saw in the last bear market was, you know, even more brutal than this guys , you know, I think at one point Ether, was at $89 or something?
I think I remember feeling that, you know, is my life over or something like that. You know, we, we’re not quite there yet. I can understand that it might feel like that for some very new entrance here. The only thing I can, can can say is that nothing great was built in a day. Keep it up, you know, that that’s it, you know, ship good products and people will, will you know, if your, if your product is good enough, you know, you will, you will see success.
Robbie Ferguson: Yeah. I echo with these guys said there’s so much talent and so much capital pouring into the space. Those are real indicators of where the industry is going. And so whether the market goes down another 50%, whether it rebounds tomorrow. The true indicators of what will happen in 3, 5, 10 years time is where are the best ambitious people going?
Where is the best VC capital going? And it all points to Web3 and it all points to gaming.
Eric Su: Yeah, for me, like the, the happiest people in the bear market are the builders, you know. So if you’ve been like been a pure speculator, maybe try becoming a builder or helping builders and, you know, you would be helping the industry recover or, and also like, not be so depressed more with the prices.
Aleksander Larsen: Yeah, I think may, maybe I’ll touch on that a little bit too, right? We see, especially in Axie right, having brought so many new people into the crypto industry, right. That the level of education that, that people might have in relation to not only crypto, but generally speaking financial technology is pretty low.
So in bear markets is the best way to educate yourself. Like what is the actually underlying, like, Why does this make sense? Or why does this not make sense? What, what is actually the benefit of crypto? What is the like benefit of, of saving funds, saving money, like use this time wisely, educate yourself and be more I guess either start building something yourself, or be more ready to seize the opportunities as the, as the next bull market gives because you know, nothing is ever, I mean, I’m not gonna say that as Robbie says that, you know, it’s likely that it could happen, that the market goes down further.
We don’t know. Nobody knows if the market is going up, sideways. Whatever, but, you know, we just have to keep shipping and, you know, prepare. That’s it.
Eric Su: Yeah, you can go back to like Bitcoin, you know, Bitcoin was such a esoteric technology, but you know, the, the, the only way that it survived was just like the appeal of being a decentralized alternative.
And you have like really early evangelism. You know, and I think that’s still kind of the recipe for success in this space. Like we, like in the last like few months or few quarters, like there’s so much, you know, a passive, you know speculating in the space. And, you know, I think, I really think that, you know, that more evangelism and really true support should come back to the space and, you know, that will really help build a sturdy ecosystem.
You know that that’s, that’s I think that’s what we need for the next bull market to happen.
Robbie Ferguson: Awesome.
Aleksander Larsen: All right.
Robbie Ferguson: Thanks Eric.
Eric Su: Okay.
Aleksander Larsen: Thanks Eric. Thanks guys, everyone for watching.
Eric Su: Thank you everyone.
Bye. Bye. Take care.
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