* We’ve decided keep the script as it was on the panel for the sake of authenticity. Grammatical mistakes can be spotted but they should not be an issue in this recap. ** The panel was held on the 21th December 2021 (4 days prior to Christmas). Joining the panel were the representatives from ASPO World (Khang Nguyen), Yield Guild Games (Luis) and Warena (Minh Doan)
Molly Zuckerman: I think you should smile now. Great! We’re actually live now. Okay Hi Everyone you guys know me, but I'll introduce myself again to the Youtube community. I’m Molly Jane, I’m Coinarketcap’s Head of Content. And today is the second day of Christmas Bonanza Youtube.There’s some long names. We’re gonna be here everyday right up until Christmas helping you guys figure out some of the big terms this year and how to explain them to your friends and family what they all mean. And before we start with our talk today on Play to Earn games in Asia , I want to remind you that there’s more to do than just watch us because you can go to Coinmarket.com/christmas and you can become an ambassador that refer people and you can win Cash Prizes. So on the first day, we already gained 10000new subscribers, we highly encourage you to follow along and subscribe. All right! That’s out of the way. We can get started . So we have three lovely panelists here. Maybe you guys can start at the top and work your way down to Introduce yourself and then we’ll get started.
Khang Nguyen: Hi guys, I’m Khang Nguyen -Community Manager of ASPO World. It is great to be here today discussing P2E in Southeast Asia. So hopefully we can have an enlightening discussion today.
Molly: Nice to have you
Minh Doan: Cool. I can go next. Hi everyone. My name is Minh and I've been in the Bay area for over 11 years. Before that I was in the Grad school doing Phd. I joined Google then I left and then I joined Harmony One as one of the co-founders. So last year because of Covid i was coming back to VIetnam. Because Vietnam was a great country when dealing with Covid last year. So I started advising a project called Warrena, I’m also running the project called Mass Space which is an infrastructure for Blockchains and Web 3.0 apps. Great to meet you guys.
Luis Buenaventure: My name is Luis, I’m a country manager of Yield Guild Games Philippines. Yield Guild is one of the world’s first Metaverse Daos. We specialize in plato and games . We've been doing this for a little over a year now . We’ve got a couple thousand scholars across the world. we’re in 24 countries and the Philippines is our largest- kind of -base of users. Yeah I'm excited to talk about what we do and how we think this stuff is gonna change the world.
Molly: Okay, great .Glad to have you all here and have you all meet for the first time you guys all do things that really seem to go together in this space. I'll start off with the question. Maybe you could talk about how you’ve seen the NFTs and Metaverse Space change throughout 2021 and how that’s affected what each of you guys do in the P2E ?. Is that too many buzzwords in one sentence but has it been in line. What you guys thought was gonna happen?
Luis: I can start. Just like we’ve been kind of witnessing a pretty crazy evolution over this last year. The Philippines is kind of known to be the Hub for P2E. Mostly because we’ve got the single largest chunk of P2E gamers in the world. Usually when you talk about player and you really refer to Axie Infinity players because that’s kind of the Flagship game for P2E concept and about half of the world’s P2E gamers or Axie Infinity gamers live here in the Philippines. So you kind of got a pretty big chunk of population over here. That’s a little over 1.2 millions people here in the Philippines that are playing Axie Infinity on any given day. The way that it’s evolved for us is that ,you know, people are starting to take it very seriously and that's everyone from your parents to the average government regulator to the taxman to other startup founders who are creating business around these things and building stuffs that are not necessarily anything to do with P2E itself but building supporting businesses around it like how do they manage their finance - how do they keep themselves safe online - how do they you know further their education . There are now these kinds of small startup concepts coming up that just kind of support this growing population because a lot of people believe that it is going to be the next big wave. It’s very exciting to watch.’To me , it’s a big deal as being a 100 Filipino founders it’s very rare for me to be able to say that the Philippines is on the forefront of anything and because it’s kind of IT right now so it’s interesting things to witness. Yeah I’m very excited.
Khang Nguyen: I can add something to that. I think NFT games have been around for a while even for several years but not until the success of Axie Infinity probably in June when they release their side chain that Vietnamese people started understanding more about this kind of industry and, you know, ever since I’ve seen a lot of community in Vietnam talking about NFT games and that there’s been a huge number of new NFT games being built up at the moment while we’re having this panel and then I think Axie Infinity has actually laid their foundation for the Vietnamese people to follow their steps in building more games in the future and I’m very excited and looking forward to it.
Minh Doan: Totally agree with Louis and Khang. I wanna add one. Last year and this year, it was the Pandemic. But it has boosted the crypto eruption a little bit to the mainstream and NFT is the best way for crypto to go mainstream. Why? Because it is a lot easier to explain NFT or P2E to the users. I think the P2E gives us a new kind of design or build a game. In the past, the play journal and NFT because of regulation it is much restricted for the game studios to tokenize and to make revenues. For game studios, it’s difficult for them to charging for or selling the items in the game and the game items could be gone if the game studio won’t continue or upgrade the game versions. But now with the NFT the game slowly can have freedom to tokenize using Blockchain technology . they can access more users all over the world, not us their locals. For the game players, they can easily buy and sell and convert to Fiat whatever they want. I’m very excited for the game industry. I think this is a new beginning of a new era for the gaming industry.
Molly: Do you think that the majority of the new projects, the reason that they’re doing so well is because of the Community? Are these really all community based? Or are they sort of centralized ideas there’s a gaming studio makes these products that go out? Which way do you think it’s going?
Luis: I think the concept is always that the community is driven. When you’re starting something out, you have to have something that’s kind of bootstrapping the effort. Right? You can’t just start with a community built in; that has to be grown around a product or a concept. I think what will kind of happen naturally is that communities will start to form a lot faster around these things because people are starting to get used to the idea that when you have this interesting new project that Discord servers will fill up instantly. Right? Now you have the community so you can start working together toward the shared goals.Back in the days, that had happened in weeks and months because it would take time for that organic growth to happen. But these days it is a lot faster because people are getting used to it being said that not a mainstream characteristic like the average person is not going to join 100 different discord servers. We’re there yet.Eventually, maybe but you gotta be pretty committed to finding that next Axie Infinity game. You have pretty committed to that idea if you were gonna join that many different projects all at the same time. It’s quite challenging to get things straight in your head once you’ve got that many Discord servers running.
Molly: I understand that with my TG channels can be a little overwhelming.What do you get other guys think?
Khang Nguyen: I totally agree with Luis. This is actually some sort of community driven motivation to produce these games. But having talked to some of my friends, I do think a lot of the games now on the market have sort of a sub-standard graphics . Even traditional game producers are jumping in the industry to make sure they can provide users with the vehicle mechanism economic opportunities as well as the entertainment and the fun that they can get from traditional games. That's my view on that.
Molly: You can come in if you want, otherwise, I have another question.
Minh Doan: In my opinion this may come from the dream of decentralized [lagging]. When we talk about Crypto we talk about decentralization and we don’t want the network to belong to the single entities and the same thing with the game P2E or any project, people prefer the project as belonging to the Community. And I think in the beginning to bootstrap that we still need someone to start and it can be very irritating and right now, you can see that there’s some platform Snapshot or something and people can be the holders of the project and they can vote for the ideal direction of the project. So the project can be adjusted and to prove that they are not scammers they are truly real projects.
Molly: So talking about how there’s a lot of like you said that is a lot of money floating around these projects and making sure people aren't scammers and Louis said at the that P2E has definitely caught the attention of some regulators . I’m wondering if you think that in the future regulation and know your customers requirement is going to impact players experiences if it’s going to make onboarding more people harder or if you think that’s actually the way that this should go in order to avoid any sort of terrible bit connect mount Gox like situation down the line?
Luis: Well, I don’t think having more KYC is gonna stop the bit connects from happening. That’s still gonna happen b/c if anything KYC lends a false legitimacy to the projects. I think we’re gonna need to have KYC because if people are earning a real income, they are going to be liable for some kind of taxation at some point and if it’s them reporting it then great. But that’s voluntary so I have a feeling the Government is probably not going to be into that , they are probably going to try to ask the platform providers to comply somehow. That hasn't happened yet, this all theoretical and thankfully it hasn't happened yet. I think we’ve still got the long way to go before they figure out exactly how to regulate this space. If you ]can consider how old Bitcoin was, before the very first bitcoin regulation was written I mean it was already 5 years old at that point right? So it could be awhile before we actually have real regulation being written for this stuff. But that being said. It seems more likely that you will have regulations with P2E just because kind of at the heart of it , it is basically just like online income right and that’s no different from Fiver or Taskrabbit or any of these other kinds of income generating activities that we have online. Those have always been open for taxes. I feel like that’s probably going to be an inevitability for P2E as well.
Molly: What do you guys think? You need to have some opposition. Everyone’s just agreeing. I want to say I think it’s a terrible idea no regulation no taxes
Khang Nguyen: For the case in VIetnam, I do think players in Vietnam are very hesitant to jump in this field because of the lack of regulation. I don’t think regulation is necessary, especially for the Vietnamese market, to capture more user’s attraction for the NFT games. But I think it’s gonna take years for the Vietnamese Government to follow that . It may be other developed countries sort of draft up a set of laws for this industry then the Vietnamese Government can follow.
Minh Doan: In my opinion, Blockchain is freedom. Anyone can create a wallet, and can have thousands of addresses. By technology, anyone can play with crypto from their wallets. Eventually, you want to convert to Fiat to pay for you expense or employee that area is [lagging]. Right now, to have the Binance account, you need a KYC except for OTC. To me, blockchain is freedom, you can do whatever you want with the blockchains. When the crypto goes mainstream, the KYC is required for that part which is from the Fiat to Crypto.
Molly: This is something that came up yesterday when I talked yesterday about Web3.0 and Metaverses. Where some of the people I was speaking to said that they used to think that the graphics of Play to earn games were really important but then they‘ve sort of changed their mind and they think the graphics will come later, the games come first. And I’m wondering if you guys have any opinion on that?And there's a point B to my question, what is the thing that you hear from you users that they wish that you had; they wish that they were able to do in a play turn game that is not possible right now?
Luis: Based on some very easy to prove evidence, the graphics are not that important. There is no argument that Axie Infinity is still very modest in its production quality and that is a testament to how important tokenomics are. The things that actually made Axie Infinity so popular are not really it’s graphics; I mean, they’re fine and completely acceptable for what they are. But that is not the thing that people talk about when they talk about Axie, they are talking about the fact that they actually can earn from it. There is a reason why there is a place like the Philippines that is so big or places like Latin America. It’s because when you are able to earn $200 to $400 per month by playing the things, whatever that thing is . It’s meaningful in those countries; some are in South East Asia or some in South America. So that 's important. I’ve never had any of the players complain to me that they would have stuck around with AXIE if only the graphics were better. NO one has ever said that. What they’ve always said is : “I wish I could earn more from this. Is there any way that I can optimize- kind of -what I’m doing with this”. We have a lot of mentoring programs where we teach them how to play the game better , eventually the goal for us is actually for them to graduate something else ; maybe instead of being AXIE players, they could be a guild manager, right? So they can have their own players in their pool. Basically, we turned them into micro entrepreneurs. I think that is kind of a way more compelling reason for any of this stuff to exist . If you remove all the facts that we’re playing with these ute digital pets , what we’re really teaching people is entrepreneurship and I think that ‘s kind of powerful especially emerging markets where alternative streams of income especially a pandemic and a lockdown. it’s really hard to come by. So partially one of the reasons why people were so experimental and willing to try something as weird as AXIE was because they really had no options at the time they were stuck at home. And you can make a couple hundred USD a month from playing a game for 2-3 hours a day in the Philippines. That is a good deal. I guess that's kind of the bottom line there. I don’t think the graphic matter so much but it does seem like a lot of the new games that are coming out are really doubling down on the production quality and that makes sense because they don’t have the tokenomics yet. so that is the reason why they’re doing it.
Khang Nguyen: I agree with Luis on that. Actually I think AXIE has been doing a great job to help people around the world to earn their income. But that’s also the pressure for the newly emerging games right now. They can’t follow that kind of tokenomics so they start focusing on the graphics but I think something that can retain the values is the gameplay, first of all. And the second, the possibility for them to earn and then the graphics. If you have good graphics, even amazing graphics, and people can’t feel interested in playing your game and cannot learn from that , they’re gonna leave.
Minh Doan: I think AXIE is the first game innovating the P2E . When we say P2E, wwe are talking about the money. People care about making money especially during the lockdown and pandemic like last year and this year when they have no jobs. At first, It’s easier to make more money. There are more projects such as Cyber Con is a general energy collection but they have some DeFi. If you buy and own a generic cyber cons, you can own some other banana tokens. What I am worried about now is everyday we are seeing more games joining the market so the P2E can get saturated- oversaturated I should say, the users would not know how to choose which ones they should play. When it’s happening, the market needs organic - real users. Before NFTs, there are gamers playing the game without thinking about making money, they enjoyed playing those games ; further, they were willing to pay a large amount to earn 1 item for making them feel better in the game. When the market is oversaturated , the graphics will matter . Everyone can copy the tokenomics from AXIE designs and make it better.
Molly: Okay, we have around 5 mins left. Maybe you could each go around and say one thing that you absolutely hope will happen in the Play to Earn space in 2022. And maybe one thing that you wish was one pain point that happened already that you want to improve on. Those are the same questions!
One thing you want to happen in 2022? That’s it just one.
Luis: I’ll do a really quick one. I think we deserve more competitors that are closer to AXIE in terms of size and footprint . I think it will take time to get there. If it’s gonna happen, it will happen in 2022. There is so much investment, so much money being poured into this space right now. All of the great design, talents, game designers , economists, people kind of thinking of this stuff like all the best ones are very well funded . we’re definitely going to see something else, I don’t know what it might be. Although, YGG my company does spend a lot of time looking at every single one of these games and we’ve made a lot of investments. I think about 40 investments in various promising new P2E games. We definitely have at least one big one at some point, one other big one’s , bigger than AXIE. I think it’s just healthier for the space overall.
Khang Nguyen: For me personally, I’m looking forward to seeing more types of people join in the field to build up a brand new empire so we can, hopefully, overthrow the dominance of Axie Infinity. ASPO World is going to be one of them. Maybe one of us here can THAT. yeah Looking forward to seeing new games with new tokenomics, maybe beautiful graphics and amazing gameplay to return their players.
Minh Doan: I’m very excited for the gaming industry with Metaverse, with NFT , with P2E stuff. This is a new era for the gaming industry, the game studio can reach out to the players all over the world; it’s easier for them to make revenues; and for the game users, it’s easier for them to transfer or sell their items or tokens. In my opinion, I go with the primary one, the early one. I care a lot for other adoption of crypto in general. I think it’s still a challenging aspect because right now most of the people still do not understand about the blockchain, crypto and Bitcoin. As a Tech savvy, it took me a year to understand the blockchains, how the network worked, and how comfortable I felt when I used the crypto myself. This is a big problem for new people who are really used to this cause there is a lot of confusion in how to have wallets, due with the Platforms etc. I ‘m looking forward to seeing the big adoption in the community in general.
The panel ends here.