In the rapidly evolving world of web3 gaming, Planet IX is one of the companies leading the way. Their commitment to on-chain assets, sustainability, and user education sets them apart from their competitors. Coin Edition recently had the opportunity to sit down with Karl Blomsterwall, CEO of Planet IX, to discuss the impact of web3 on gaming, the importance of sustainability, and the future of the industry.
His views on the role of blockchain in gaming shed light on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for the industry. This interview with Karl is a must-read to get a glimpse of the future of web3 gaming.
- Karl, you have been a web3 entrepreneur from the early hours. How did web3 change and shape e-gaming so far?
The start of web3 gaming really came with the introduction of the NFT protocol. Enabling verifiable and decentralized ownership of assets in the game, did not only enable now business models for the game studios, but also new game models and mechanics for the players. With ownership shifting to the users, players are more inclined to invest time and money into games, resulting in higher stickiness.
- How does Planet IX fit into this scenario?
Planet IX aspires to be leading the evolution of web3 gaming. Compared to many of our competitors, we are fully on-chain, meaning that all assets in our game are minted and belong to our users.
Since the start, we have been a gateway for onboarding users to web3, with significant time and resources spent on educating and guiding users in their adoption of the technology. As our users are becoming familiar with the technology, we are constantly evolving and improving, adding new protocols, new features, and new partners.
- Why did you choose Polygon as the games’ platform?
At the time of deciding, Polygon offered the best mix of scalability, security and decentralization for our game, which by design is quite transaction heavy, with many smaller transactions.
- You are a Swedish company. Could you share with us some insight about e-gaming in Scandinavia?
Scandinavia has a strong heritage within gaming with many tier 1 studios being based in the region. However, Sweden is unfortunately not in the forefront of blockchain, which is why our headquarter is based in Zug, Switzerland. This way we can ensure that we are fully compliant to all regulations in the space, and at the same time tap into the massive talent pool which Sweden has to offer
- There is a lot of talk about AI due to ChatGPT. How will AI shape gaming on the chain?
Like any industry, the gaming / web3 sector is bound to be disrupted. At Nibiru, we are implementing it as a natural part of any process, be it copywriting, visual design, code developing. While we are far from having it operate autonomously, it has proven to be a great tool to enhance processes and make work more efficient.
- What are some ethical considerations that need to be taken into account when developing AI-powered games, particularly with regard to bias and fairness?
N/A – we are not AI-powered
- How does ownership of assets within the gaming industry impact player engagement and gaming experience? And what are some of the drawbacks
With the introduction of NFT-based games, ownership of in-game assets shifted to the players. This meant that assets either bought, traded, or earned belong to the player and cannot be clawed back by the game studio.
If implemented correctly, shifting ownership from the game studio to the players should increase stickiness, time and money spent, as well as the overall user experience. However, for this to work, it is extremely important that the game’s tokenomics (the economics of the token) is designed as an integral and integrated part of the game, augmenting the gaming experience, rather than an economic layer put on top of an already existing game loop / mechanics.
As the space is still in its infancy, there are some drawbacks that both studios and players need to consider. Firstly, as the ownership and tokenonics are governed by smart contracts, centralised post-launch adjustments become much more difficult. As a result, games who do not carefully calculate and estimate all eventualities, might end up in a situation where tokens are hyperinflated, or assets significantly undervalued. Secondly, as with all blockchain products, the responsibility of securing funds and assets falls on the user. This means users with wallets that are hacked or passwords that are lost etc. are likely to lose their assets – with little chance of having any centralised entity clawing it back.
As the space evolves however, many of these challenges are being resolved and there are already protocols being developed to prohibit the drawbacks above.
- Can Planet IX create awareness on environmental issues among the Gen-Z?
Definitely, Planet IX leverages both its technology, community and newly established sustainability foundation to improve awareness around environmental issues to our user base.
Firstly, through our foundation (which is funded by revenues from the game), we invest and donate in sustainability projects, with the first donation into 100,000 trees being planted already done. We are also launching in-game assets that generate rewards to NGOs and let users explore and donate directly in the game to different NGOs.
Secondly, our strong sustainability angle has inspired our community of tens of thousands of people to do good. This includes several grass root initiatives, such as picking up trash on beaches and reducing littering to name a few. This is made possible by an engaged community and user winnings that allow them to take the time off.
We also believe NFTs and blockchain will become the de facto technology for NGOs in the future and will be one of the most driving forces behind awareness of environmental issues.
- COP28 will take place in Dubai from 30 November – 12 December in another move to fight climate change. What is your message to COP28?
Contrary to public belief, blockchain technology has a lot to offer to reduce climate impact. Firstly, the sentiment in the space is to find sustainable and climate friendly solutions. Secondly, the efficiency and transparency of smart contracts and blockchain would significantly improve the way funds are donated and used by NGOs.
- Does Planet IX have any plans to incorporate cross chain interoperability?
Absolutely, cross-chain interoperability is the future of web3 and offers substantial benefits to both products and users. For Planet IX, going cross-chain expands our target audience and makes it simpler for users on other chains to enjoy our game. What is crucial, that many miss, is the importance of ensuring that UX/UI does not suffer from a move from a single chain, to multiple chains – and this is what we are working on ensuring before launching on the next chain (which could happen in the not so distant future.))
- What new opportunities and difficulties do you anticipate arising as a result of the continuous growth of esports and competitive gaming? What business models do you think can support this trend?
The integration of esports and blockchain makes so much sense. Less administration, lower cost, fully audible, transparent and true game results plus automatic payouts to winners are all significant improvements enabled by the blockchain.
We will also see price pools permeate non-professional competitive gaming and esport. As an example, in Planet IX we are launching our “IX Arena” soon, where winnings are funnelled from other parts of our game. This means that casual gamers could participate in a quick competitive game anywhere using their mobile or pc, and actually win some money, even if they did not put in any themselves – this is a major value proposition compared to current web2 models.
- Where do you see eGaming in 5 years?
In 5 years, the majority of all games will have a blockchain component, but the use cases and penetration will differ. Low-integration would be simple things like ensuring skins etc are NFTs and tradable. High integration would mean that tokenomics is deeply rooted in the game mechanics and design.
We will see a significant improvement in user experience, where e.g. signing transactions and interactions will become much more seamless. This will enable a true mass adoption of web3 games across the globe. In addition, as the leading channel for onboarding web2 users, games will also branch out to encompass other services, such as financial and social – leading to a much more holistic experience.