Simon Buckingham, DNA Studios’ newly appointed, Head of Marketing speaks with Michelle Winny, Editor of PCR about his new role at the company and what’s currently going down in the realms of gaming and blockchain.
Hi Simon congratulations on your new role at DNA Studios. Please could you tell us a bit more about the company and what you do in your newly appointed role? What plans do you have to drive business forward?
Hey, thanks for the congratulations and sure it will be my pleasure. So I work now for a company called DNA Studios and in particular right now on our NFT/Blockchain based game, Kitsumon, we will go into more detail on the NFT’s and Metaverse part in a bit but the game itself is under the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre on a Play 2 Earn mechanism too. I am honored to have the Head of Marketing role where I will be overseeing all the partnerships, communications and awareness of this incredible game and space. I am very fortunate to be involved in two of my big passions now, both gaming and blockchain!
So what’s the latest in the world of gaming? How is the gaming market evolving, what are players now expecting?
If you remember, I spoke last year about the way gaming was moving mostly to blockchain technology and around the NFT/P2E (Play to earn) mechanism. We have all been hearing about the ‘Metaverse’ recently too and this is something that is going to spice up significantly more so as time goes by. You only have to look at what Meta are doing (formally Facebook) and the likes of Microsoft buying out Activision, Sony – Bungie to name a few, the Metaverse and next gen gaming is afoot!
Many players now delve into what is called the Play 2 Earn games, where they get paid for participation, loyalty and their time. The mechanism of blockchain itself is quite incredible and allows this kind of participation mechanism. You will probably find many people leaving the ‘normal’ jobs and going into some form or P2E of even activity to earn (this as a small example could be simple things like completing tasks, exercise etc.) via tokenomics payments, a new era of reward.
However, as also mentioned in a previous interview I did with PCR, we are also utilising blockchain to be able to interlace various game items/avatars together (gaming becomes interoperable) and we gave the example of the film Ready Player One. People ask how is that kind of World possible, this is where blockchain (and crypto) comes in to play. We are on the brink of gaming greatness but some argue a social dilemma on the other hand too. The Metaverse itself is not just one thing or one project, it will be made of a virtual land, you can buy items, buy property (yes you can now get mortgages in the Metaverse) and have more control, be who you want to be (to an extent and within regulations etc. of course). This is a big step for the transition to VR/AR on a mass scale.
What tech peripherals are you seeing a rising demand for such as AV/AR and gaming tech?
Well, for sure VR is growing massively, I for one just got the Oculus Quest 2 (kindly given to me) and it is crazy. When you couple this with the Metaverse principles it takes emotion and sensation of gaming to another level. AR in itself is quite amazing but we only really see this through our phones right now. This is a really big success right now in the Blockchain/Crypto World with the ability to purchase NFT’s as an example, digital collectibles for one, that you can use AR and place virtually in your room or street via your phone. NFT’s though do not just stop at collectibles, you can sell houses as NFT’s and remove many intermediaries but maybe we can touch on that later! The concept of VR/AR will change though in the near future, you will see developments in chipsets for humans (yes you read that right) where there are currently multiple patents going through, with potential of AR integration into the retinas and brain frequencies, seeing things with your own eyes virtually/digitally instead of through screens. This is where we potentially take gaming away from physical peripheral requirements to just using our minds.
On the tech side I would also add things like Omni-Treadmills and body sensor suits (to be able to feel impacts/sensations from activities in the VR/Metaverse world). I for one would love an omni treadmill so I can launch myself around on a round of Rainbow Six!
What about the Metaverse what’s going on in this space and how are you involved in developing this?
Well this opens up many opportunities for many people, virtual meet ups, gaming, exploration, education etc. For me personally, the focus within gaming is the ability of jumping into various games and worlds and interacting with other people and/or even creatures/battles and so on. You will see a lot of sports clubs opening up to virtual seats, right now you can watch football on your sofa via VR but be sat in a stadium seat live with people around you, meet up in the virtual bar afterwards etc., or take yourself to Venice (I did this in my lounge last week!) literally taken on a walking tour around my living room but in Venice.
At Kitsumon we have just finished what is called the INO stage (Initial NFT offering) the chance for people to purchase our creatures (Kitsu) eggs ready for the hatch day in the near future. These will be turned into 3D models and be able to be used in the game, eventually moving from Mobile/PC based to Metaverse based I am sure. The blockchain element allows us to build in what are called smart contracts, this allows essentially Digital DNA to be interlaced into the Kitsu. So as a Gen-0 Egg holder you would be able to breed your Kitsu as well as battle it, and gain royalties in battles as well as offspring, the original digital bloodlines! This is taken to another level whereby you have opportunities as a person to have a profession, e.g. you can be a farmer, grow crops and sell them to other users in the game and those NFT aspects of food will actually play their part in health and nutrition boosts to the Kitsu, making them stronger for battle etc.
Soon we will have land sales (owning your own land for training/living/farming etc.) and the game launch itself towards the end of the year if all things go to plan. The team is working incredibly hard and especially the developments of blockchain coding etc.
Where do you see the future of the Metaverse headed, what are the potentials and also the areas that need more development?
As well as all the parts mentioned earlier, there is a partial dillema to the Metaverse to which and how people will use it/be used. On the one hand you give people a great sense of freedom to many whom perhaps for whatever reason cannot usually do so, you have the ability of greater exploration and education, perhaps great on virtual events adding extra attendance revenues outside the remit of physical attendees, but the other side of the argument is taking away the human aspect of life, exploration and interaction socially in a physical format. – The thought of possibly leaving our ‘real world’ behind too much and then blending into our virtual world more so (like the avatar film). So not so much a development but perhaps a nurturing of how we should act and relate to a virtual world. Maybe the Matrix is a nonfiction film now after all?
Can you tell us more about NFTs?
Wow, this is such an awesome topic and quite a fun one to learn more about. NFT’s in the main media right now are predominantly looking at things like digital collectible items, you may have seen the crazy ape ones, crypto punks etc. many people are buying digital assets like cards, digital comics, figurines etc. This is because on blockchain you have traceability, verification of purchase and like earlier when I mentioned about bloodline, a similar principle can be achieved with this also, i.e. the history of an items purchase. For example, if I give you a £10 note, you can’t tell me where it has been before, how many hands/banks it has gone through. Blockchain allows full transparency (without giving away the persons identity – although we will be allowed to control our data more with blockchain and actually enter a world very soon we can decide who has our data and also get paid for it). So you can see the price history, how long it was held for etc. – Verification and Digital ID is very important and blockchain has the solution to that.
But also, NFT’s are literally anything that has a value that is not a 1:1 ration, i.e. if I give you £10, it’s £10. But if I give you my Charizard Pokemon card I have had for 20 years, it has way more value as it is rarity and history/demand etc.
NFT’s can be applied to cars, for example any service work you have done will be entered into blockchain, and when you go to sell that car the data is all on blockchain and can deliver a more fair price based on data algorithms worldwide, cost of parts etc. Another example is property, in fact just recently a project I invest in called Propy just did the worlds first NFT Property auction, selling a house in Miami for $650k or so’s worth of Etherium (A blockchain and also crypto token Ether). Any work that will be done to that property moving forward can be entered onto blockchain as verified proof and be defined by true value based similarly to what I mentioned a minute ago regarding history, data, etc. instead of someone from an agency suggesting a price manually. Furthermore to this, with blockchain and NFT’s you remove intermediaries, with smart contracts and trust mechanism, digital ID’s (KYC – Know your customer) we will all be on this system in the coming years whether you like it or not. Everything we do, purchase, order (automation is going to be huge with blockchain by the way) will all be interlaced. Houses will be sold within days and not months, think of that concept not just in property but also finance in general, physical items in the real world selling virtually and visa versa, the economy of the world will blast off significantly when it is all fully switched on.
Where do you see blockchain capability headed?
As well as all I have mentioned, blockchain is already in play, it is here, it is ready, it is arguably going to be un-noticeable unless you know about it. We are talking on mass scale to take humanity and machine to the next level. Finance, Real Estate, Shopping, Automation – everything will run on this. You will be rewarded for activities, contributing data, playing games, being in the Metaverse. We will be entering, in the next 2-3 years the switchover to what they call CBDC’s (Central Bank Digital Currencies) where your typical currencies are going to be replaced with a digital version, all traceable, verified etc. as mentioned before with NFT’s, but also allowing over 2 billion people who are currently not bankable in the world to be bankable, full transparency of trade, tracing where your produce has come from and on the other end the producer being able to see the fairness of their payment etc. – you will see the full transformation of Machine-to-Machine Learning, we have already given our data, purchasing behaviours, behaviours in general via our digital footprint the last couple of decades as well as most smartphone activities, we will come to a point of machines knowing what you need and want before you even know yourself. This is where blockchain comes in for the transactions part, to do all this in the background e.g. you may have a chip inside you which will tell you, Simon you will have a heart attack in two weeks because we have analysed your body etc, remain calm ambulance is on the way. Medication is delivered by drone the same day, and also a balanced food diet during the next few weeks based on your likes and dislikes but also what the data has provided to suggest the nutrition you need. There are literally so many aspects of blockchain that people will consider “normal” soon and will not ever realise what is making it all work! Harvesting food automatically, seeding automatically, using full world data and algorithm of real time supply and demand to determine the speed and timing of all these things. I strongly suggest anyone to take a look at blockchain as a topic, it is amazing!
What about esports, what are you seeing going on in this space?
I think for sure you will see a lot more esports games going into the blockchain genres. For example Axie Infinity, a big blockchain based game that has its big tournament coming up in March. But get this, you as viewers can get paid to watch!! Yes that is right, another project I invest in called Versasity has a sports player browser you can go on and watch streams of gamers and get paid for doing so at the same time. Time is money and why should you as a viewer not be paid either for your time? Furthermore their tech also helps advertisers get confirmed viewerships and remove ad fraud, which contributes hundreds of billions lost annually in digital advertising!
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