GamesBeat: The game developer can be one more vendor of goods in the game, then?

Seyler: Right.

GamesBeat: When you’re talking to developers, are you hearing any particular things that will get them more interested in blockchain than they are right now?

Seyler: Many of the developers we’ve talked to share our frustration and disenchantment with the way free-to-play economies mostly have to be run now. They want better options. Some of them have done the homework, where they understand that even if this stuff is hard to use today, it has really exciting potential. Others have noticed the headlines that mostly focus around market speculation and investment and ICOs and whatnot, and they largely miss the real practical applications in modern games.

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There’s going to be a learning curve here for a lot of the market, just like there was with free-to-play, just like there has been in the past with big platform transitions. Once developers consider the possibilities of this stuff, I’m generally seeing a lot of excitement about it.

GamesBeat: If you’re in the U.S., can I assume that you’re not going to do an ICO? That would be hard to do now given the SEC and where it stands. Do you want to do your own cryptocurrency, or will you stay out of that?

Chou: Right now we have no plans to do either. That may change in the future, depending on what it takes to deliver great solutions to game developers. Right now we’re focused on building technology and tools so game developers can build these kinds of systems into their games.

Seoul Dynasty is an Overwatch League team.

Above: Seoul Dynasty is an Overwatch League team.

Image Credit: GenG

GamesBeat: I know that both Epic and Unity have taken some steps where you can integrate crypto payments into your game using their tools. That sounds like a relatively small step compared to what you guys are thinking about.

Seyler: I’m actually not aware of what Epic offers. I’m aware of Kin and Unity speaking in public about having developers support transactions of Kin inside their game. That’s an interesting step. Game developers are going to need more freedom to design the way currencies work and be able to manage their supply, rather than borrow, or even worse go and have to make a large purchase of Kin to offer some of it to their players inside their game and kickstart the economy. There are cold start problems to that approach that I think will be difficult to get past.

GamesBeat: Are you raising money for the project? Is that a future announcement?

Chou: Yes. That’s going to be a future announcement. We have a major partnership that, again, we’d love to announce in about two to three weeks after we finish it up.

GamesBeat: There was an interesting announcement from J. P. Morgan, that they were going to do their own cryptocurrency, after a few years of saying that crypto is a fraud. It seems like the big enterprises and the current financial system are turning the battleship in this direction. At some point it’s going to have that critical mass of support.

Chou: There’s probably no bigger financial ship to steer. The current financial industry is going to have to react to these options, especially as they become easier to use and scale better and are just better understood by consumers and people who want to apply them in their businesses. It’s a promising sign. I don’t know enough to comment on JPM’s coin or the way they’re going to run that network, but I think it’s a good sign.

GamesBeat: One of the next milestones everybody’s hoping for is that institutional investors will come into the crypto economy in a big way.

Chou: There’s a lot of interest in it, a real appetite for it. I think the regulatory landscape is still settling. People are getting comfortable with that. When the dust settles there I think we’ll probably see large volumes of investment come into the space that have been on the fence, sitting on the sidelines.

GamesBeat: It sounds like you have a pretty large team as engineering teams go. Is there a reason felt you needed that at this stage for the company?

Seyler: There’s a lot of heavy lifting to do in building on these technologies. It’s relatively early. It would be a stretch to call them mature. But we think it’s realistic to get them ready for practical use, especially inside game economies in the near term. We’ve pulled together, from our combined networks, the best engineers we’ve had opportunities to work with over a decade in games, for both me and Kevin.

Chou: We’ve been pretty lucky to put a great team together right out of the gate.

Above: Kevin Chou of Kabam

Image Credit: Kabam

GamesBeat: In a couple of weeks you have another announcement. What else will happen this year?

Seyler In a few weeks we’ll focus some energy around GDC, talking with developers quite a bit about what we’re building and why we think they should be interested and excited about this stuff. This will be a big year for this project and the company.

GamesBeat: What do you think about some of the crypto platforms announcing that they’ll invest a lot in games? Tron says they have that $100 million fund. Brock Pierce was saying he wanted to put money into developers who are working on top of EOS.

Seyler: Among the layer one networks, the protocols like EOS and Tron and others, there’s a real appetite and a lot of pressure to find practical, real-world use cases for what they’ve built. We think, and they probably think as well, that games are a fantastic first use case to introduce this to consumers and drive innovation. Game developers are incredibly creative and fearless in adopting new technologies if there’s a business purpose. I suspect that’s what they’re seeing, and we see the same thing.

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