Simon Davis is the co-founder and CEO of Mighty Bear Video games, a multiplatform recreation developer in Southeast Asia creating accessible multiplayer experiences in Web3.
Davis has spent virtually twenty years working within the gaming trade, however he by no means deliberate to truly work on this discipline.
Earlier than crypto, he was an expert guitarist who made ends meet by enjoying in metallic bands and canopy bands and by educating guitar. However after his cash dried up one summer time, he scored a six-week gig as an expert recreation tester — and he’s by no means appeared again.
Throughout his time within the gaming trade, Davis has held administration and product lead positions at gaming corporations together with King Digital Leisure, Ubisoft, Bigpoint, AKQA, Empire Interactive, and Laughing Jackal.
In 2017, Davis teamed up with some pals and fellow trade veterans to launch Mighty Bear Video games in Singapore, the place they meant to deal with creating conventional video games — earlier than pivoting to blockchain in 2022. And in 2023, the agency launched an open beta for Mighty Motion Heroes, its first Web3 gaming title.
Davis, who additionally goes by “Papa Bear,” stated each Mighty Bear worker receives a “bear title.” A few of Papa Bear’s workers embody “Arty Bear,” “Bear-Abel,” “Excel Bear,” and “Bear McNumbers.”
Why the pivot to blockchain gaming?
I used to be fortunate sufficient to sort of get into Bitcoin by chance in 2015, so I’ve been within the house for a couple of years. In 2021, I began enjoying with NFTs, and I’m fortunate sufficient to be additionally based mostly in Southeast Asia, so I may see firsthand what was occurring with Axie [Infinity]. I believe, for me, as somebody who lived by means of the transition to free-to-play, it felt very very like a second, sort of like when Farmville got here out on Fb.
I believe that for stay service titles [games like Fortnite, League of Legends and Apex Legends], a dominant enterprise mannequin goes to emerge to revolve round player-owned and operated economies. As a result of I don’t imagine you possibly can have digital worlds with out digital property rights, basically.
And I believe that does allow plenty of new issues that we’re actually beginning to scratch the floor on. So, I believe that actually was the pull issue.
What format do you suppose serves as one of the best ways to draw customers to blockchain gaming?
I believe cellular gaming goes to be the dominant platform due to geography. You see this when you have a look at the charts for the nations which have an incredible slope of curiosity in crypto or Web3. They are typically nations the place current fee rails are usually not tremendous developed.
Individuals are largely unbanked in locations like Indonesia and Brazil. These markets are mobile-first. Like, folks within the Philippines and India are usually not essentially utilizing high-end PCs.
So, that you must go the place the customers are. And this can be a little bit of a spicy take, however this is the reason I’m very bearish on folks making tremendous HD high-end Web3 video games as a result of it’s simply not the place the markets are right this moment. So, you see plenty of these groups elevating, like, mega bucks to make console-quality titles, but when nobody can play them, then they aren’t going to do very a lot.
What do you suppose the present hurdles are for large-scale blockchain gaming adoption?
Lots of people discuss it when it comes to silver bullets, proper? Like, “Oh, we’d like one good recreation,” or like, “We have to remedy the pockets drawback.” I don’t suppose it’s any a kind of issues. I truly suppose it’s simply plenty of lead bullets, plenty of small issues that must occur.
What I’ve skilled right this moment continues to be fairly horrible, and scary, like social restoration. And it’s beginning to turn into a factor, however that should turn into lots simpler.
I simply suppose, usually, it must be as straightforward and as brainless to make use of as a Web2 expertise. And so I believe there’s an inherent battle right this moment with how folks take into consideration Web3, you recognize. They are saying issues like, “Oh, that you must educate the customers,” or, “Practice folks to carry their personal keys.”
However you recognize, my mother doesn’t wish to maintain her personal personal keys. She does all her buying and selling on Crypto.com. We have to make it basically idiot-proof so anybody can do it.
I believe we’re nonetheless fairly a great distance away, however I’m seeing significant enhancements, truly. I’m seeing merchandise which can be going to go to market subsequent 12 months that are going to assist lots.
I don’t understand how outdated you might be, however I’ve simply turned 40 this 12 months. I keep in mind within the 90s establishing a house web connection on dial-up. It took me two days of calling technical help and somebody telling me like configs. I used to be having to go in and alter manually and stuff. And now, you recognize, we solved that, proper? After which, the web turned a mass market, after which folks may simply put a CD of their laptop, and it simply labored. I believe we have to get to that stage.
Do you suppose the unhealthy rap blockchain/NFT gaming will get is an enormous situation?
It’s humorous as a result of gaming received a fairly unhealthy rap within the 90s. You realize, everybody was speaking about how video games had been making youngsters violent. There was an enormous ethical panic, similar to there was in music a couple of years earlier than.
However I believe that if you begin to get this stuff in folks’s arms and expertise them, perceptions change. I do suppose plenty of the fame that we have now in crypto and Web3 is deserved. There are plenty of unhealthy actors exploiting the dearth of regulation, however the issues that excite me: I’ve seen some video games, for instance, that permit gamers to earn small quantities of Bitcoin, And this form of factor’s retention numbers are very robust, just like the preliminary metrics are very promising. And I believe that’s a very nice use case.
Reddit can also be an incredible instance, proper? They put NFTs within the arms of big numbers of individuals. Lots of people didn’t even understand they had been interacting with NFTs. So then that they had their first style, and yeah — there are some stats which have come up, and never an enormous quantity of them have transacted on-chain.
However I truly don’t suppose that’s such a foul factor. If individuals are not dumping the belongings on day one, I don’t see that as a detrimental. So, I believe onboarding by means of stealth is fairly good.
What sort of adoption metrics are you in search of together with your video games?
So, folks discuss installs and sign-ups — it’s only a vainness metric. For me, I’m excited about how many individuals are coming in on daily basis, how repeatedly they’re coming again, and what the expansion curve of that appears like initially.
After which as soon as we do the cellular launch [of Mighty Action Heroes], which can be round August/September, how nicely are we doing on attracting non-crypto-native folks into the sport as nicely? That can be very attention-grabbing, and to see how they play collectively. It’s a unique angle, however it’s one which I’m fairly bullish on.
What are some concepts or tech upgrades that might assist blockchain gaming?
Primarily, they offer a wise contract account or a wise contract pockets to a 721 [token]. So, you recognize, a standard NFT can be a JPG with some metadata connected. However basically, the JPG or the asset, no matter that’s, is then sure to a wise contract.
And that is fairly cool as a result of it implies that belongings can talk straight with one another. So NFT to NFT, with out utilizing MetaMask. And it may be appropriate with different sensible contract wallets.
I believe the actually cool factor is that, basically, your asset turns into a pockets and might have its personal logic as nicely. So you might have a base character in a recreation because the 6551 token, after which all the garments or the gadgets or all the pieces that that character has, the sort of sub-assets, can change inside, every with its personal logic.
As a recreation developer, you begin considering of how your characters may evolve and how one can connect new belongings with out updating the core.
Then as a dev, I believe it’s actually good for fame administration as nicely. Like, when you did a soulbound model, you might have achievements, proof-of-work, proof-of-play, social id. I believe it’s fairly cool. […] It’s safer as a result of it’s not simply an asset inside a pockets like it’s on sensible contracts with its personal personal key.
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