PlayTiX The First Ethical And Responsible Gaming Platform Where Games ‘Do Good’ and “Belong To Players” To Launch On Tezos
PlayTiX the first ethical and responsible gaming platform where time spent triggers true benefits for gamers and where both games creators and gamers can ‘do good’ is to launch on Tezos.
In this piece, we caught up with Jérôme Wurster, CEO of PlayTiX to find out more about the project and what is in store for the platform, which is to be built using Tezos.
PlayTiX is an ethical and responsible gaming platform where time spent, triggers true benefits for gamers and where both games creators and gamers can ‘do good’.
PlayTiX uses Tezos blockchain technology in different areas of its platform including NFTs, in-game items and the tracking of ethical contributions to relevant charities including the well-known Eden Reforestation Projects.
The PlayTiX platform is end-to-end, catering for both games developers and the gamers themselves. Games developers can develop games utilizing the PlayTiX game engine, or develop their own games and integrate those games with unique PlayTiX features such as ethical contributions.
Gamers can play games, experience cool features associated with the Tezos blockchain, including NFT in-game items and also have the knowledge they are doing good by playing those games, as ethical contributions are made on time spent.
The PlayTix Interview
Hi Jérôme, please could you introduce yourself, your team and the history of the PlayTiX project?
I’m Jérôme I am the CEO of PlayTiX, just to give you a macro-view of the team: we are 4 associates and 15 working on the project right now! Myself and William ( Alarcon ) we are the business associates, we are leading the vision, doing the financials, the legal, the features, product management, everything around that.
And we obviously needed some tech guys to make the vision come true. Over a year and half ago, Olivier (Scherrer) and Xavier (Talandier) entered into the company as well.
Olivier is the lead developer for all the blockchain & engineering parts, he has a team of 3 developers with him, and we are looking to recruit another one.
He is our tech genius shaping all the engineering departments and has a long expertise in managing growing teams. He started to develop at 12, was selling websites by the age of 17, and has been leading development teams for Wall Street’s banks and telecom companies since then.
He’s already worked in the blockchain industry on the front-end part, leading up to 10 UI developers for a crypto exchange which, at the end of his work, was sold to Coinbase.
So that’s how he discovered the blockchain industry. How myself and William discovered the blockchain industry, that’s super simple. We are basically the use-cases for the average players. I am a huge fan of the game Call Of Duty, which is an FPS and my associate (William) is a big fan of the FIFA games and football games overall.
I think it was as simple as that, one day I entered his living room and I saw this collection of FIFA jackets, something like 20 or 25 of them that amounted to €1,300 and then he told me he was spending each year even more, because he wanted to acquire his favourite footballers in a specific mode. No other way than buying them all over again and spending a fortune in-game!
Just reflecting on that, because I was a huge player of Call Of Duty, I held some world-records in the co-operation modes, I was not as good in other modes, but still spending 100’s if not 1000’s of hours on Call Of Duty and now I’m not even playing the game anymore and I’m not even good at the game anymore and there is nothing tangible there.
I don’t have value, I didn’t have any kind of tangible rewards. We thought we could do more and give more to the experience of gaming. This was approximately at the same time that we discovered Bitcoin, I think that was in 2017 and one of the members of our family had just bought a Bitcoin, then we deep-dived into the blockchain technology, decentralized arbitrage and everything around that.
That’s how we came up with the idea to do something that would basically solve two issues:
- That the players want more than entertainment. We really want to revolutionize the way gamers game. That’s due to our own personal experiences, verified with field studies. We’ve run huge surveys, and more than half of the gamers are ready to pay, or at least willing to pay more if you give them the games we want to develop.
- A second point we want to address: most of the game developers, especially the small ones are really struggling. For instance, in France 62% of the game developers are not even delivering any profit. They barely break even, or they are in deficits. That’s really a shame for the creativity of the industry. So, we want to give them an easy access to the power of blockchain and ethical games. The same way we will implement it in our own games. So they can improve on the retention, conversion and in the end maximize their profits, even if they don’t have millions to spend in marketing.
After the blockchain part of the team we have the gaming part of the team and that’s where Xavier comes in. He already has experience in the gaming industry, he has his own VR gaming development studio and he’s also overseeing all the gaming at PlayTiX. We have 7 people under him.
In total, we just made a demo day for ourselves, between the blockchain team, the games team and the interface team, I can count 15 passionate people who want to give meaning to the time spent playing video games.
How long have you been developing the actual platform? Was it since 2017, or was it later than that?
Just a bit later, that’s when we discovered everything, but we didn’t have the team at that time. I think it was by the end of October 2018, that we put everything into a vision, which was not the vision we have right now, but the start of this vision.
We found Olivier and Xavier by early 2019, around Q1 from the top of my head and from that moment onwards, we were working together, but it was just during the weekends and after work.
We really sped up things when William left his job, that was last year in February and I quit mine in April last year. So, April 2020 was when we really sped things up.
Xavier was spending a couple of days on our project for the last couple of months and is now full time onboard, matching the fund-raising. Olivier is still in New York, so we can’t afford to have him full-time. He’s working 20-25 hours for us, plus his regular job. So, he really is the kind of technical associate any business associate dreams of!
Do you have a definitive timeline of when the product could launch?
We do. Even though we are all working remotely right now, we have dedicated offices in Strasbourg, but the situation is still a little bit tricky, so we won’t venture to gather people into an office right now.
In terms of timelines, the launch of the first version of PlayTiX, which is basically the first ethical games, the first blockchain & ethical services integrated into those games and all the interfaces & apps, is set for Q1/Q2 2022. This will be the first full release.
Before that, a couple of milestones as well!
- In June this year, we are launching a crowdfunding campaign with the ethical-minded platform Tudigo. A first way to contribute to our platform by supporting us and/or making the campaign visible.
- Before the end of the year, we will release alpha versions of our first games and organise pre-sales of the first unique items.
Will the end-user know that they are using Tezos under the hood? Will they have to connect a wallet to play the games etc.?
They won’t, or at least we will initially hide the technical complexity. They will have a chance to manage a wallet, and they will be able to connect an external Tezos wallet if they want to save their in-game items from PlayTiX to an external wallet, that will be possible. But, the gaming industry is still very new to blockchain and it’s still sometimes a blocker, so we want the gaming experience to be as frictionless as possible.
The ‘free to play’ business model is the dominant business model in gaming (85% of the gaming revenue) and if you try to add any complexity in these types of games, players will switch in a second to another game.
The problem is as everyone is into the habit of having the game available for free, without anything to do and sometimes at the touch of the finger, so if we put some kind of constraints such as ‘what are cryptocurrencies’, ‘what is a crypto wallet’, ‘you need to go to an exchange to get cryptocurrency’, that won’t work in the gaming industry. It’s too much extra energy/effort in comparison to the easy business model working right now.
So, we have removed those constraints, you don’t need to see it. But if you are interested obviously we will explain how it all works on Tezos. You don’t need to see it, you don’t need to create a wallet, you have no cryptocurrencies in the system.
However, players will be able to access user-friendly dashboards in the PlayTiX app to visualise what they own and the impact they had. Game developers will be able to choose if they want to show them in games but our solution can be used with a minimum impact on changing the games themselves.
So in-game items are the biggest profit maker for studios using the platform?
I wouldn’t say in-game items, but at least in app-purchases, or any content you can buy into the game, that’s the main funding. In-app purchases represent 85% of the industry revenues. It’s consequent.
However, the main mechanics of the platform will be compatible with at least two other sources of revenues usually found in gaming: premium games and ad-based revenues. We are not huge fans of ads found in games so we may reserve that for specific games that have no other options to be monetized.
The NFTs used in the platform, will they be minted on Tezos?
Yes, all of our own games in the PlayTiX system we will put the NFTs onto Tezos, but we can allow the game-developers to as well and whether they want those minted on Tezos.
So, the game-developers who use the platform can mint their own NFTs to integrate into their games?
Exactly, so the PlayTiX developer will have this option available. We want developers to be able to choose when it’s a good time for them to mint an asset on Tezos. Whether the game is published on the PlayTiX platform or not does not matter, our blockchain services can be used externally.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. We will also provide other services. The blockchain is a way to take the intrinsic value out of the game, externalize it and transfer it to a universe that the player owns completely. So you can easily imagine creating a user profile that could be used in several video games.
If users want to retrieve the items, they will be able to do so and store them in their wallet and if they don’t like the game, they will be able to unlink their account and prevent the publisher from accessing their data.
It is also possible to imagine being able to use items of the same type in many different games and to be able to link different publishers together to create a collective virtual universe and a whole new ecosystem.
For instance, if a game publisher connects to a platform that already has millions of items present, then they don’t need to create new items and can say, “Here! I see this avatar, I would like to implement it in one of my games. “ So, there is the possibility to create your own game while using other items from another ecosystem.
Finally, we have ideas of new in-game mechanics such as an item after sales service, tracked on Tezos, that could bring new types of games. I won’t give too much details on that for now!
So with the donations to NGOs, charities, organizations for social and environmental positive impact will that be done in fiat?
Completely, with the first partners we have we have already raised these points. We would be thrilled for one of the partners to use tez to accept donations and use it afterwards, but for the moment it’s very complicated because if I take some of the first partners we have – Eden Reforestation Project, they are working with big organizations like Ecosia, a search engine that plants trees and what they are doing is more than just planting trees.
They are hiring local people to plant those trees, but to also manage the environment and they need to pay those people. It’s easy to see why they prefer to receive fiat currencies. The way to go will be to find a couple of them ready to test crypto payments in countries where cryptos are accepted by a variety of merchants such as Argentina.
This is a subject that we raised, and it would be one of our end-goals, but for now we will just pay them in fiat.
Could you tell us a bit about your partners?
We already have some partners, we have Eden Reforestation projects. They have already planted over 500,000,000 trees worldwide, so they are a big player and we also have 2 other smaller players. For the moment we are focusing our actions with Eden Reforestation Projects to test the entire machinery of the platform.
In terms of game development, how easy is it going to be to create a game? Do you need to have some knowledge of building a game, or would somebody who has never built a game before be able to also create games on the platform? Or is this more for the independent games developers who are not making a profit
Several scenarios here. First, if you are a studio or a game developer, you’ll have an easy access to PlayTiX and its services. In no time, you can create an ethical game. Within this target group, we have a tendency to prioritise smaller studios and individual game developers because integrating those new services will help them make more profits even with smaller audiences.
Second, if you have no skill whatsoever in developing video games, you may still want to build ethical games and have an impact on something that matters to you. That’s why, in the long run, we are creating a sort of game maker. With it, anyone will be able to quickly create a game.
At first, this game maker will only support a couple of genres such racing games or FPS games. But as the platform and the partners pool grow, it will expand to accommodate puzzle games, board games, management games and so on. Of course, blockchain & ethical services will be pre-integrated into the game maker.
Obviously you have some kind of collaboration with TQTezos and they created the Open Minter which can create NFTs, so with that in mind would there be some way for the game creators to create the NFTs within the platform i.e. integrate Open Minter into PlayTiX?
It is my hope that PlayTiX will become as much a game creation platform as an asset publishing platform as well. We have this target market in mind. If you are a designer, for instance, you can create some awesome swords, guns, cars, in-game items etc. The goal is either we give some tools or you don’t need any tools and create them from scratch and you will have your own account.
You are not a developer and you are not really a player, but you can create the asset, you can tokenize it and you can sell it on the open marketplace as well. Or you can directly propose it to a specific game, if you already have a game in mind. We can go above just in-game items too i.e. Hall Of Fame NFTs etc.
Will users themselves be able to create their own NFTs? I.e. they get so far in a game, they can mint an NFT item automatically and then they can sell it themselves on the open marketplace. Do you have a marketplace on the website?
Our mantra is to let game creators decide and be creative. They need to create a balance between their game’s monetization and the gaming experience. If all the latitude is given to gamers, they may not use it in a way to have a balanced ecosystem for themselves and the game developers.
That said, depending on the game and the creator, you may be rewarded with a unique NFT once you’ve reached a certain level or perform a certain action. We have that in our own prototypes and we will let creators decide if they want to enhance players’ experience with it.
There will be one marketplace for all interconnected games, but also for the outside games which are using the blockchain services.
Finally, crafting items for players is also on the table but within a defined scope. For the first FPS we just dream of letting people compose unique items by merging pre-existing ones i.e. in an FPS maybe you have a small gun and that is tokenized, then you could have a flame-thrower also tokenized and you can merge both and then you can have a new gun.
Maybe you can have a charger as well and that gives you something different again if you perform a new composition. That’s something we’d really like to do. And possibly in that way to reduce the moderation effort (so newly created assets don’t fall outside the guidelines i.e. if a user was to create something inappropriate/offensive). The small gun and the flame-thrower would have been created either by game developers or artists who wish to publish unique assets in the ecosystem.
On Tezos you can have royalties embedded into the NFTs, so if they got so far or they won a competition, then they won this NFT and then it’s got a 25% royalty attached to it, when they sell that NFT on the marketplace, they will get the money for the first sale, but then will get royalties for all subsequent sales after.
This could kind of incentivize people to play the game, because you’re going to get this NFT at the end of it and then the winning NFT gets so many royalties attached to it.
It also incentivizes you to be good at the game as well because if you want this NFT to be sold and resold and then resold again and get the commissions, you had better have a very good start in the games to win the most prized NFTs.
So, NFTs are one way the Tezos blockchain is going to be used, are there any other ways the blockchain is going to be used?
The NFTs are a big first start for sure but Tezos is more than that. We will use it as well to track ethical contributions. A third application is to log-in users in different games, interconnected to our platform. Rewards and playing habits tracking will also benefit from the technology.
You mentioned you had some people testing it, have you done much testing at this point?
So far we have prototyped two games. These two games are the first users of the platform. One of these is a pan European project with a German studio. We get funding and a dedicated partner from Germany by coproducing this game, what more could we dream of?
They are obviously among the early adopters of the platform. We have also engaged advanced discussions with other studios to test the blockchain services and the publishing process and the platform.
In terms of the in-game items NFTs, will they be sold through direct sales or through auctions etc?
That will be up to the developers, we will give them both options. They can do an auction if they want to or they can just set a price. And then you have the secondary market (i.e. selling on the marketplace) and there it will be based on an auction-like system.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Jérôme and we look forward to future PlayTiX progress soon.
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