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 20 years working within the gaming trade, however he by no means deliberate to truly work on this area.
Earlier than crypto, he was an expert guitarist who made ends meet by enjoying in steel bands and canopy bands and by instructing 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 firms together with King Digital Leisure, Ubisoft, Bigpoint, AKQA, Empire Interactive, and Laughing Jackal.
In 2017, Davis teamed up with some mates and fellow trade veterans to launch Mighty Bear Video games in Singapore, the place they meant to concentrate on 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,” mentioned each Mighty Bear worker receives a “bear title.” A few of Papa Bear’s workers embrace “Arty Bear,” “Bear-Abel,” “Excel Bear,” and “Bear McNumbers.”
Why the pivot to blockchain gaming?
I used to be fortunate sufficient to type of get into Bitcoin accidentally in 2015, so I’ve been within the area for just a few years. In 2021, I began enjoying with NFTs, and I’m fortunate sufficient to be additionally primarily based in Southeast Asia, so I may see firsthand what was taking place with Axie [Infinity]. I feel, for me, as somebody who lived by way of the transition to free-to-play, it felt very very like a second, type of like when Farmville got here out on Fb.
I feel that for reside 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 may have digital worlds with out digital property rights, basically.
And I feel that does allow numerous new issues that we’re actually beginning to scratch the floor on. So, I feel that actually was the pull issue.
What format do you assume serves as one of the best ways to draw customers to blockchain gaming?
I feel cell gaming goes to be the dominant platform due to geography. You see this for those who take a look at the charts for the nations which have an excellent slope of curiosity in crypto or Web3. They are usually nations the place current cost rails aren’t tremendous developed.
Individuals are largely unbanked in locations like Indonesia and Brazil. These markets are mobile-first. Like, folks within the Philippines and India aren’t essentially utilizing high-end PCs.
So, it’s essential to 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 in the present day. So, you see numerous 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 assume the present hurdles are for large-scale blockchain gaming adoption?
Lots of people speak about it by way of silver bullets, proper? Like, “Oh, we’d like one good recreation,” or like, “We have to remedy the pockets downside.” I don’t assume it’s any a type of issues. I truly assume it’s simply numerous lead bullets, numerous small issues that have to occur.
What I’ve skilled in the present day remains to be fairly horrible, and scary, like social restoration. And it’s beginning to turn out to be a factor, however that should turn out to be quite a bit simpler.
I simply assume, basically, it must be as simple and as brainless to make use of as a Web2 expertise. And so I feel there’s an inherent battle in the present day with how folks take into consideration Web3, you already know. They are saying issues like, “Oh, it’s essential to educate the customers,” or, “Practice folks to carry their non-public keys.”
However you already know, my mother doesn’t need to maintain her personal non-public 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 feel we’re nonetheless fairly a great distance away, however I’m seeing significant enhancements, truly. I’m seeing merchandise which might be going to go to market subsequent 12 months that are going to assist quite a bit.
I don’t know the way outdated you might be, however I’ve simply turned 40 this 12 months. I bear in mind within the 90s establishing a house web connection on dial-up. It took me two days of calling technical assist and somebody telling me like configs. I used to be having to go in and alter manually and stuff. And now, you already know, 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 feel we have to get to that stage.
Do you assume the unhealthy rap blockchain/NFT gaming will get is an enormous problem?
It’s humorous as a result of gaming acquired a reasonably unhealthy rap within the 90s. You realize, everybody was speaking about how video games have been making kids violent. There was an enormous ethical panic, identical to there was in music just a few years earlier than.
However I feel that whenever you begin to get this stuff in folks’s arms and expertise them, perceptions change. I do assume numerous the status that we’ve got in crypto and Web3 is deserved. There are numerous unhealthy actors exploiting the shortage 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 type of factor’s retention numbers are very robust, just like the preliminary metrics are very promising. And I feel that’s a very nice use case.
Reddit can also be an excellent instance, proper? They put NFTs within the arms of big numbers of individuals. Lots of people didn’t even understand they have 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 assume that’s such a foul factor. If persons are not dumping the belongings on day one, I don’t see that as a adverse. So, I feel onboarding by way of stealth is fairly good.
What sort of adoption metrics are you searching for together with your video games?
So, folks speak about installs and sign-ups — it’s only a vainness metric. For me, I’m all for how many individuals are coming in each day, how repeatedly they’re coming again, and what the expansion curve of that appears like initially.
After which as soon as we do the cell launch [of Mighty Action Heroes], which will probably be round August/September, how effectively are we doing on attracting non-crypto-native folks into the sport as effectively? That will probably be very fascinating, and to see how they play collectively. It’s a special angle, but it surely’s one which I’m fairly bullish on.
What are some concepts or tech upgrades that might assist blockchain gaming?
Primarily, they offer a sensible contract account or a sensible contract pockets to a 721 [token]. So, you already know, a conventional NFT could be a JPG with some metadata hooked up. However basically, the JPG or the asset, no matter that’s, is then sure to a sensible contract.
And that is fairly cool as a result of it signifies that belongings can talk straight with one another. So NFT to NFT, with out utilizing MetaMask. And it may be suitable with different good contract wallets.
I feel the actually cool factor is that, basically, your asset turns into a pockets and may have its personal logic as effectively. So you could possibly have a base character in a recreation because the 6551 token, after which all the garments or the objects or all the pieces that that character has, the type 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 feel it’s actually good for status administration as effectively. Like, for those who did a soulbound model, you could possibly have achievements, proof-of-work, proof-of-play, social identification. I feel it’s fairly cool. […] It’s safer as a result of it’s not simply an asset inside a pockets like it’s on good contracts with its personal non-public key.
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Brian Quarmby found crypto in 2013 and immediately fell in love with the thought of decentralization. Brian has since lived and labored Asia and returned to Melbourne in late 2019. Brian is a lover of sport and artwork and is bullish on the potential for NFTs to remodel artists lives within the close to future.