Adrian Krion is the CEO of Spielworks. In this slogging AMA, we hosted Adrian and he explained to our community the purpose of Spielworks. We also took the chance to ask Adrian about tokens, the future of the gaming industry, and interoperability in NFT games.
This Slogging thread by Sara Pinto, Mónica Freitas, Adrian Krion, Cris Silva, Mark Finnigan, Jack Boreham, John T., Kelley Dane and Limarc Ambalina occurred in slogging's official #amas channel, and has been edited for readability.
Hi @channel, please join me in welcoming the CEO of Spielworks, Adrian Krion.
Spielworks fulfills the promise of blockchain to empower gaming. With users' experience at the core, they make entering crypto easy, fun and secure.
You can ask Adrian anything about:
Hey Adrian Krion, it's a pleasure to have you with us. To start off, can you tell us a bit about your background and the how Spielworks started?
Hi Adrian Krion! It's great to meet you! I'd love to know why you created Spielworks. What problem was Spielworks designed to answer?
Hi Sara Pinto great to be here and sorry for my little delay. My name is Adrian, I'm the founder & CEO of Spielworks, the company building Wombat.
I personally have a background in Computer Science and Mathematics and used to work in traditional finance for over seven years (Deutsche Boerse Group), building market models and trading systems for commodities.
I got into crypto in early 2013 by buying Bitcoin at 90$ and that got me hooked really bad 🙂 a bit later when I was running a software services company, I wanted to offer software built on top of Ethereum, which in turn drove me down the blockchain path professionally.
In 2018, I decided to dedicate my next professional years to Web 3 and blockchain by founding Spielworks. Our goal has always been to bring blockchain to mass-market gamers by offering a seamless and risk-free experience. This is how we started building Wombat
Mónica Freitas Wombat is the flagship product of Spielworks. We really want to reduce barriers for people to get into the Web 3 space and we're convinced that gamers have a high affinity for digital assets, hence they will be early adopters of blockchain, crypto, and Web 3.
But even so, there's still a lot of hesitation among gamers to dive deep into crypto because of a lot of complexity in the onboarding process, uncertainty about fraud and scams, the available tools not being very user-friendly, etc.
Adrian Krion, you've been working with blockchain for quite some time now! How does Spielworks is trying to achieve that risk-free experience? Can you further explain Wombat to us?
Sure, Sara Pinto. It starts with the technical onboarding, i.e. setting up private keys, blockchain accounts, getting your first crypto, and connecting with Web 3 games.
However, it's not enough to offer just the technical means because gamers would still wonder "why is that cool?". We solve that by providing a very familiar experience through our ecosystem - gamers can play traditional, mass-market games (that have been proven winners with tens or hundreds of millions of downloads) and earn crypto and NFTs on top of that, either in the Wombat app or on our game rewards platform Womplay.
Once gamers have received their first NFTs, the ice breaks, and start wondering "what can I do with that now?". This is exactly the type of curiosity we're looking for
Adrian Krion Interesting. So, you're trying to facilitate web3 adoption. How do you do it? What can people get from Spielworks that will make the process easier?
Hello Adrian Krion. How do you reward mobile game players with NFTs? Do you have partnerships with big names in the gaming industry that allow you to do this?
Mónica Freitas, we're essentially providing anything that's needed to gamers in order for them to be able to play Web 3 games which are fun. The Web 3 gaming movement has had a bit of a slow start because games were not built around fun but around earning aspects (see Axie Infinity), which gave it a lot of spotlights, but also a lot of false impressions from the outside.
Games need to be fun in order to be sustainable. Any kind of "play in order to earn" cannot. That's why we have traditional games on the platform because these are provably fun. Only if gamers experience Web 3 in an entertaining way we have a chance of getting them hooked.
That's what they get when they sign up with Wombat
Cris Silva exactly. We have some big names on the platform from both the traditional gaming space as well as Web 3; games like RAID: Shadow Legens, Lords Mobile, Idle Miner Tycoon are playable with crypto / NFT rewards, but also the likes of Splinterlands or Upland
Hey Adrian Krion! How would you explain the bear market to someone who's not into Web3 yet? And how has it affected Spielworks?
Hi Adrian Krion how would you say Blockchain gaming adds utility to traditional Web2 games?
Mark Finnigan, I would say every technology gets adopted in waves, but that's usually not very visible. In crypto, the excitement about the technology more or less directly correlates with market dynamics. Add macro-economic issues like inflation and recessions to the mix, and you've got a bear market.
For us, that hasn't been too much of an issue so far because we're working on the transition between Web 2 and Web 3. Traditional Web 2 gamers aren't interested in token prices as much as they are in the games, the fun, the communities, so they're much more likely e.g. to keep trading NFTs for their utility
Jack Boreham there are multiple ways of how that can happen, I'll give a few examples:
Hi Adrian Krion! How sustainable do you think the Play-to-Earn model is long-term?
Hey Adrian Krion. What do you think it's the issue with interoperability in NFT games?
John T. "Play to earn" as in "Play in order to earn" can basically not be sustainable at all. It means that new players only come in because they seek a positive return on their investment, which kind of fulfills the definition of a ponzi scheme - only if there are enough people coming in after you, you can expect to make a positive return. Since the game economies are zero-sum (or negative-sum) economies, there need to be people who are net-negative on the game.
"Surprisingly" this is the case in all traditional games, though. Here, nobody gets a positive return on their investment, because they're exchanging money for entertainment.
Therefore, only if the main driver to play a game (and spend money on it) is outside of pure earning expectations, "play to earn" (I prefer "play and earn") economies can be sustainable
Kelley Dane Interoperability of NFTs in games is typically discussed in a narrow sense of "you can use item X from game A also in game B". This is a very bad example of interoperability of game NFTs because the complexities lie in the semantics of the item (what it means to use item X in game B) rather than the mere fact that you have it.
Instead, we like focusing on two other aspects of interoperability:
Thank you for explain. It does seems, like you mention, that gamers are already familiar with this. So, can the economical and social interoperability further impact the games? Adrian Krion
Kelley Dane I think we're just scratching the surface of what will be possible through this interoperability in the future. We've been driving a few of the developments in Wombat (and e.g. the Wombat Dungeon Master game) and will continue in the future, but there are so many amazing things that will happen once there are even more smart brains working on Web 3 games
Adrian Krion, what would that mean for the game model? A player has to enter with x amount of money, knowing they'll spend it along the way and MAYBE get some back? It seems challenging to sell this model even with the emphasis on the experience. So, the game's unique selling point does need to be really appealing, I imagine.
John T. the model that you're describing is essentially the old way of distributing games. You spend 70$ to buy a game on a console, and you hope to get enough entertainment back.
The newer model for games is free-to-play, and this is how most Web 3 games will work, too. It's a game that you can play for free and it's fun, but e.g. if you want to start playing competitively, you might have to own an NFT from a certain collection. Whether or not you have to purchase this NFT or you can win it in the free-to-play mode will be up to the game creators
Adrian Krion, what are the benefits of launching a token in the bear market? Is Spielworks working on that?
Sara Pinto yeah we've been considering to launch a token ever since the early days of Spielworks and Wombat. We never wanted to launch a token before having a substantial amount of first day utility for it, though, so we started preparing our token launch last year. It's actually launching this week, in the bear market 😉
Of course the valuations are much lower right now and the amount of money you can raise with a token will be smaller. However, if you want to acquire long-term partners and token holders, bear market times are actually beneficial because there's much less hype and much more substance in the market. It also means you get a lot more attention if you're not one of 100 projects launching tokens every week
Adrian Krion, ah, I see. Is there a game you think is leading the play and earn model? One that's being more innovative and creating a whole new environment for players?
John T. There's a bunch of games driving this, some of which are already published, some are in development. I think The Sandbox, Blanko's Block Party or Splinterlands are good examples for the usage of blockchain / NFTs as the foundation of a game economy. Some up-and-coming games like My Pet Hooligan or Metalcore will have strong gaming dynamics with a blockchain integration, something like the net generation of play-to-earn
Adrian Krion, does the Wombat Dungeon Master game have any specific feauture that also helps to deal with crypto?
Kelley Dane Wombat Dungeon Master exists to demonstrate a few cool aspects of NFTs in games:
That's pretty cool. What's in the future for Wombat Dungeon Master? Adrian Krion
Kelley Dane we want to make it as much fun and interactive as possible. There will be PvP elements and more collab possibilities between players. But also I could imagine having a platform game, an endless runner or kind of a puzzle game included into the experience to boost your performance in the game.
At the same time, we'll keep adding more blockchains for stakable NFTs, more collections, more collabs, etc
Adrian Krion oh The Sandbox is a big one. I appreciate they've made their metaverse a true experience.
Adrian Krion How can we bring more people to web3? How can we make the public know that web3 is safe?
John T. I think this will work by people actually experiencing Web 3 without the big hype around it. It's much better if they can do it casually. PayPal is a great example - if you can pay with crypto and transfer crypto to your friends via an app that you already have and trust, that makes it much easier to adopt.
That's also our philosophy at Wombat - we want people to experience Web 3 in a casual way, by doing things they love to do anyway
Adrian Krion I imagine that from a dev pov, it was a challenge to build a platform that could host so many different "services". How long did it take you to be fully operational?
Cris Silva to build the first, simple production version of Wombat took us about 6 months. From there on, we've been working on everything for over 3 years. Turns out building in Web 3 takes more effort than in traditional web as there are a lot of quirks and issues with the technology itself and fewer (or none) blueprints on how to do things, also from a business perspective
Hey Adrian Krion super happy to have you join us here.
I often hear people say that the problem with blockchain games is obviously there are better games out there in the traditional gaming market.
However, I think that point disregards the hyper casual mobile market.
There are already tons of people playing casual games with simple, yet addicting gameplay. Do you think the P2E movement can take advantage of these casual gamers?
Limarc Ambalina we've seen a dramatic impact of adding NFTs as rewards to hypercasual games. Many hypercasual companies are looking into this. The only requirement is that it needs to be incredibly easy for players to deal with these NFTs.
NFTs can also be used for additional gamification around very simple game loops (like "match 3"). NFTs can have lives of their own, be merged, blended, modified or destroyed, which can all add an additional layer. It's similar to these story modes for hypercasual game models (like in Candycrush or Gardenscapes), only that you use NFTs for that which players can eventually trade.
Adrian Krion, thanks! Overall, what do you think it will be the future of the gaming industry?
And how is it still booming despite inflation? Is it because it's merging with blockchain? Adrian Krion
Kelley Dane I think we'll be moving into more immersive, large-scale worlds in which players spend a lot of time and visit locations that represent certain functionality (aka the Metaverse). Web 3 to me is a prerequisite for a Metaverse to attract a large amount of commercial partners and content creators as they would require real estate in such a world before investing in it heavily.
On the other hand, I don't think everything will be in the Metaverse. Especially casual gamers will not want to boot up a Metaverse just to enjoy a few minutes of casual gameplay on a commute, and they also don't benefit from the immersion offered. However, as mentioned before, I see a lot of potential for Web 3 in casual and hypercasual gaming, as well
Kelley Dane if the macro-economic trends persist, this will also affect the gaming industry. It's been on a long-lasting growth trajectory, but for sure people will start spending less money on entertainment if they struggle to afford their living. The gaming industry will have to deal with this.
Blockchain might help a little bit there because players of Web 3 games get to keep some of their investment. However, the Web 3 gaming spaces make up only a fraction of the entire gaming market, so the effect is currently miniscule
Adrian Krion I can imagine the struggle. Is there any advice you'd give entrepreneurs trying to enter the web3 space?
Also, this is in line with John T.'s question, but what has been the biggest challenge for you? Building the platform, bringing together all the services in one space, attracting web2 players...?
Sorry I was having issues with Slack yesterday so couldn't answer more questions
Cris Silva my advice to people who want to build in Web 3 is to not overthink things but rather do stuff. You only really learn about the market, the industry, the technology and the people when you're in yourself.
Also, start with basic and simple things that might be reused by others as kind of a building block. Web 3 is all about interoperability, so make sure you're building open solutions.
In general, it's still hard to tell where the entire industry will go and how far adoption will reach, so make sure to be flexible
Adrian Krion great advice! Before you go, I'd love to have your thoughts on what's the main factor behind the migration of web2 player to web3. Is it just curiosity, or do they come with an issue web2 just isn't giving them a solution to?
Cris Silva the biggest challenge is scaling - both in terms of technology (not all blockchain networks scale, but also they're not all very mature in general, so dealing with them is hard), but also in user and team growth. Scaling the user base is of course hard and expensive, but also you need a team than can deal with a growing crowd
Unfortunately, our time is up! Thank you Adrian Krion for being part of this AMA. Any final thoughts you might want to share with our community?
Thank you everyone for your awesome questions, it's been a privilege to connect with you! We are still in a nascent, developing space and this is an exciting time. Be courageous with your ideas and focus on building something valuable rather than on a promise of value. And of course, get in touch with me if you feel like we could create amazing things together!