The gaming industry is paying close attention to blockchain technology as an opportunity for growth and innovation. The future of game companies seems to hinge on two emerging technologies; NFT and P2E. NTF can give ownership to users and P2E allows gamers to earn money by playing games. With these two factors, Sky Mavis, the developer of Axie Infinity, is leading the blockchain gaming craze. At this point, Tokenpost conducted an interview with Aleksander Larsen, who is COO of Sky Mavis.
Q, please introduce yourself and your company. When and how did you enter the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain?
I’m Aleksander Larsen, co-founder and COO of Sky Mavis. I am responsible for all business matters at Axie Infinity. Prior to Axie Infinity, I worked as a manager in the Norwegian state and spent my free time as a content creator and competitive gamer. I was ranked in the top 200 players in Europe in DotA 2 and represented the Norwegian national team in Warcraft 3 and DotA.
Sky Mavis was founded in 2018 and is on a mission to create economic freedom for gamers by creating games owned and governed by the communities that play them. We invented the Play-&-Earn (P&E) concept which has revolutionized the way people play, live, work and earn in virtual worlds. Our first game to introduce this concept is Axie Infinity, a blockchain-based, category-defining NFT game in which players raise, battle, and trade digital pets called Axie. Axie Infinity is one of the largest NFT game ecosystems and has over 2.5 million players worldwide.
Three of the original five co-founders met while playing CryptoKitties, so this was our first entry into the space. We were all collectors or gamers and not necessarily into crypto for the business side, but when we found out it could be a new way to make games that really resonated with all of us. Axie Infinity was created to bring fun gameplay, solid economic design, and genuine utility to Blockchain-based gaming assets.
Ultimately, we designed with these three principles in mind: 1) Players should be rewarded for the value they create in games. 2) Players should be able to trade their game assets with anyone, anywhere. 3) Games must belong to the communities that play them.
Q, Sky Mavis is creating a sensation in gaming and has grown exponentially in all aspects such as DAU, Sales, Investment, Enterprise Value and AXS Awards. As a key member, what do you think are the main factors that have made this growth?
Our exponential growth is due to two major factors: our proprietary technology and our incredible community. Axie is the first game designed to be owned by the community that plays it.
We believe in: Rewarding value creation: everyone’s time is valuable. People should always be rewarded for creating value, especially in games. Co-creation: a game is a creative partnership between its developers and the community that plays and creates value around it. Co-ownership: Your game assets are your property. As a gamer, you deserve ownership rights and should be able to own the games you love.
And those beliefs have resonated in our community. Our loyal players have become top Axie champions with sports tattoos, building esports teams, creating educational content, developing tools, and personal onboarding friends and family . Their love and trust in Axie is a major growth factor.
Additionally, our technology, including our distribution platform, The Mavis Hub, our Ronin Blockchain which currently secures nearly $6 billion in assets, and Katana, our decentralized exchange, have enabled us to scale rapidly.
Q, Axie Infinity is based on Ronin, the sidechain of Sky Mavis. I think it shows your company’s confidence in technology. What made you decide to develop Ronin yourself rather than using others?
Until early 2020, Sky Mavis had built Axie on the Loom network, a scaling tool for Ethereum that became a popular platform for blockchain-based games that required higher processing speeds and lower fees. But when Loom focused on enterprise use cases, shut down its public dapp services, and changed its architecture, Sky Mavis needed a long-term solution that made gaming and fast, cheap and transparent Axie economy.
Today, Ronin’s transaction volume has grown to about 4 times the daily transaction count of the Ethereum chain. For more information on Ronin, please see this article.
Q, Successful structural modeling is considered one of the reasons for the success of Axie Infinity. What part did you focus on the most during the development of this game? Is there a reason to put the cost of entry?
Axie Infinity was always designed to be free to play, but instead of focusing on building the game, we took a step back and built the infrastructure so it could be marketed effectively. Players used our existing framework and turned Axie Infinity into “free-to-play” by creating scholarship systems.
Our belief is that players should be able to try a game for free, but by limiting the earning potential, they will eventually become paying players. Just being able to pick something up if you want to quit the game is a huge improvement over the traditional extractive model.
Q. Axie Infinity is particularly strong in the Southeast Asian market, particularly in the Philippines. What do you think is the reason?
Play-and-Earn shows how emerging technologies, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies, are providing transformative economic opportunities for communities, especially in developing countries where jobs are lacking, an important part of the population is unbanked and COVID -19 crisis relief has been limited.
Axie Infinity has helped create income-generating opportunities for underserved people around the world; 25% of gamers are unbanked and 50% have never used cryptocurrencies before. This level of ownership and accessibility within the Axie economy is disrupting society and creating an economically viable digital nation.
As for the Philippines, Axie Infinity has become a source of income for Filipinos who lost their jobs amid the pandemic, with top players earning up to $40 in their first few weeks. For families financially affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, gambling has allowed them to earn extra income that has helped them buy medicine, pay bills, connect to the internet and provide financial assistance for home life. other members of their family and community.
Please note that we use the term Play&Earn instead of Play2Earn. This is important because the majority of our players cite the community, rather than the economy, as the primary reason they play Axie.
Q. Big companies around the world are also launching now. Do you have strategies to maintain your competitiveness and your user base?
We see other blockchain games as synergistic. The more people who play blockchain-based games, the more we will see increased adoption.
Q, What role do you think blockchain, cryptocurrency and NFT can play in the gaming industries? I wonder how you see the present and the future of blockchain games.
It turns the whole industry upside down by holding game companies more accountable. If they don’t deliver, players can sell out and break the economy. On the positive side, it brings more engagement, as people have a tangible advantage in the success of the game.
NFTs enable the economy of ownership and people will build their digital identities using them. The first step is to play many games and earn NFTs, which really belong to the players.
Q. In South Korea, blockchain games are not allowed due to “speculative” issues. What do you think about this?
Blockchain games are still at a very early stage. Hopefully the regulations will change over time once the other benefits of this new technology become clearer.
Q. What are the major developments and prospects for Axie Infinity expected in 2022? And what is the final and ultimate goal or plan of Sky Mavis.
Sky Mavis is on a mission to create economic freedom for gamers and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what we can achieve. Axie Infinity gives players ownership of in-game assets, allowing players to sell their assets to anyone in the world earning liquid tokens to play, and being able to own part of the game incentivizes players to take action more like founders than users.
As Sky Mavis’ first game, Axie Infinity has already achieved up to $33 million in daily transactions as players turn their time and effort into real value. The total volume of transactions amounts to 3.6 billion dollars. Through Axie Infinity, Sky Mavis has built a 100% player-owned real-money economy.
On the Axie Infinity side, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the game and provide better experiences for our community. Battles V2 (Axie Infinity: Origin) is our massive battle upgrade that will make Axie faster, more fun, and easier for friends and family to start playing by providing starter Axies.
With this new system, people will be able to fall in love with the game before they have to officially join the system. We will also be releasing several new games in the Axie Infinity universe that are designed specifically for the Axies players own.
On the technology side, we believe in a future where all in-game resources are freely tradable tokens and continue to take steps to make this a reality through our DEX, proprietary sidechain, and Ronin mobile wallet.
Q. Finally, please tell us the outlook for 2022 and leave brief comments for Korean readers.
In 2022, I expect to see more games and better games launched. As mentioned earlier, we are still in the early stages of blockchain gaming. Next year we will continue to see NFTs grow and eventually go mainstream.
I’m a big fan of South Korea and hope to come back soon!
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