Zima Red ep 80: Jason Brink

Gala Games: The Gaming Company of the Crypto Revolution

Primer: Jason Brink is the President of Blockchain in Gala Games, an ecosystem of games. He shares his interesting background in blockchain and foreign aid and how he eventually landed up in Gala Games. He takes us through the various aspects of the Gala Games ecosystem, giving us a broad overview of the platform.

Background

  • Came into the blockchain space in 2014

  • Wrote a paper on the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to fix some of the problems that are endemic to foreign aid

  • Got an award from the Global Development Network - Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for that

  • President of Blockchain in Gala Games

Blockchain And Foreign Aid

  • He's the type of person who will read about things that he finds interesting

  • In 2014, nobody was paying attention to blockchain

  • At that time, he was living in Thailand and was working as an academic consultant

  • Was looking up essays on Google and the recommended ads showed him a call for papers for the Global Development Network

  • Before that, he had done a lot of work in foreign aid:

    • Post-earthquake Haiti

    • Peru

  • Saw firsthand how badly foreign aid was managed

  • Had 8 hours to complete the essay. Decided to use blockchain technology as a novel way to address the problem

  • A few months later, he received a call from them. His essay is the only one that took a different approach

His Journey Post-2014

  • Connected with them and started working on various projects

  • Has a Marcomms role that involves explaining highly technical things in a very simple way to people

  • Did work with ReddCoin, Verge, etc.

  • Kept working in that capacity because he believed in the space

  • One of the projects that he was involved in was called Quoxent. Project is currently idle

"The way that I see myself is as one of the people who takes this kind of messy space and builds a real thing out of it, a real legitimate thing." - Jason Brink

  • Early last year, he was talking to his friend, Eric Schiermeyer, the founder of Gala Games

  • Found ways to improve Gala Games' website and social media handles. Was invited to join them

"I mean, it's about finding ways that you can contribute value to the world seeing something and saying, hey, you know what, I can make this better, I can leave this better." - Jason Brink

First Impressions Of Gala Games

  • First reaction was that he loved the idea of game ownership

  • Had written a paper on player ownership of in-game items before. This was before the time of CryptoKitties

  • 95% of blockchain projects have great ideas, but are not able to execute those ideas in a real world business context. Joined Gala Games because they can execute on their ideas

  • When he hopped on to a Gala Games Zoom call, he saw that there are actual developers working and building stuff

Gala Games

  • One liner for Gala Games: We are here to give power back to the gamers

  • Most of the people working for Gala Games are from the games industry, using blockchain as part of their tech stack. This is very different from a blockchain company that tries to make games

  • A lot of people who has joined them are established figures in the gaming industry

Gaming Company Using Blockchain VS Blockchain Company Building Games

  • Half of "blockchain games" are not games, but are Gacha slot machines with some sort of economic component tied in. If people were not paid to do it, they would not play it

  • Play is at the very root of what makes us human

  • In anthropological writings on early humans, they work 4 hours a day on average. In today's world, people work a minimum of 8 hours. People have forgotten how to play and the importance of it

  • The COVID pandemic made plenty of people jobless. These people turned to play-to-earn games to put food on the table. This brings them back to the same spot where they started, having a job and grinding for a living

  • Gala Games wants to make games that are fun, that people would love to play

  • Every game is pay-to-win. The question is what the gamer is paying in:

    • Paying in money

    • Paying in time. A highly skilled player has put in time to get to what he/she is today

"Everything is pay to win, what are you going to pay? You're going to pay in money, you're going to pay in time, you're going to pay in sweat, you're gonna pay, you're gonna pay in something, nothing's free." - Jason Brink

  • They are creating an ecosystem where people who want to pay in money can pass that value on to people who want to pay in time. This is the core transaction of a play-to-earn game

  • Most crypto games do not want to acknowledge this fact (pay-to-win)

  • When Triple A game developers enter this space, the games that will be introduced will become more complex. There will be a lot more work towards making the game rewarding in terms of fun as well as monetary benefits

Play-To-Give

  • Excited about the concept of play-to-give

  • Had an AMA on their partnership with Opera, the browser, and Mercy Corp Ventures, a well-known global charity

  • Created a building called the Sanctuary in-game. Players gain a certain amount of starter materials that can help them in the game

  • A certain percentage of the resources collected over the next 7 days goes back to that building

  • Those resources could be given out or sold on secondary markets and given out to charity

  • Allows players not just play-to-earn, but to play to give to a cause

Large Gaming Companies And The NFT Gaming Space

  • The larger an organization is, the harder it is for them to pivot and go in a new direction

  • They recognize the tremendous value here but have a very hard time pivoting to this space

"We've kind of like bought into this idea that that's okay for us to spend money on something that's just a database entry. Why are we doing that when we all know that there's a better way. And that's what people are beginning to kind of wake up to, and even these very big game companies are realising like, oh crap, they're really onto something here." - Jason Brink

Tokenization Changing The Gaming Space

  • Game developers have been working on game economies for a very long time

  • Traditional games have a closed loop system

  • When developing games for the blockchain space, game developers have to be more careful about the ecosystems that they are setting up

  • Eventually, he foresees that tokens, tokenomics, blockchain, fungible tokens, and NFTs are going to be how we are going to build the system. People will not think about it as blockchain; it's just going to be blockchain by default

Games In The Gala Games Ecosystem

  • Develop some of their games internally

  • Town Star was their first game on the platform

  • Mirandus is an internal project

  • They also work with game developers around the world. Worked with GAMEDIA to produce Spider Tanks

  • These are traditional game development companies who approach Gala Games for their blockchain expertise

Spider Tanks

  • A brawler/MOBA game

  • Own Spider Tanks, which are spider-shaped tanks, and fight one another

  • Use resources to upgrade your tanks

  • Getting ready to release information about the land ecosystem and how all of that is going to work

  • Recently did a test play with a few thousand people from their community

Town Star

  • Their first internal game. Produced by Michael McCarthy and his team

  • A town building farming simulation

  • There are people who go deep into the strategy of the game and share spreadsheets that they have created to project how many points they are going to be able to get

  • Gave away a million dollars in May to players. There were people in the community who were able to purchase their homes using their winnings

Fortified

  • A tower defense game that is still in development

  • Players build towers to defend against enemies that come in from portals

Echoes of Empire

  • Developed by Ion Games

  • A space 4X strategy game

  • 4X stands for Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate. Best known example in this genre is Civilization

Mirandus

  • MMO RPG with an entirely player-driven economy based around a medieval feudal system

  • Mirandus is a deep simulation with multiple layers

    • First layer is a mirror web/ecological web

    • Second layer is a resource layer (e.g. what does it mean to collect rocks and wood?)

    • Third layer are the characters (e.g. where do we put the player characters?)

  • Have smaller homesteads all the way to massive citadels

  • Citadel purchases:

    • First buyer was Polyient Games. Purchased for $800,000

    • Second buyer will be announced soon. Purchased for $1.6 mil

    • Third buyer was Flare Network. Purchased for $3.2 mil

  • Difficult to give a rough launch date while working in the blockchain space. The team iterates with the feedback from community and launch dates would get shifted based on the feedbacks received

  • Some stuff would be out this year. Hoping that the large multiplayer release will be ready next year

Gala Nodes

  • One thing that differentiates them from everyone else is that they have never had an ICO

  • Most gaming projects have done this, which creates regulatory risk

  • Instead, they set up a series of node licenses that allow people to buy these licenses and run nodes

  • By running nodes, they are supporting the network by providing processing power and storage

  • In return, node operators are rewarded in GALA tokens

  • NFT data is stored in a distributed manner across all nodes. There won't be cases of NFTs disappearing because the host did not pay their hosting bill

  • In the long run, there will be game-specific nodes that will handle game-specific workloads

  • Experimenting with Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC). Using it to render across the entire network

GALA Token

  • ERC-20 token

  • Can be obtained through a variety of ways:

    • Operating a node

    • Getting it from different exchanges like Uniswap and Pancake Swap

  • In the long run, the token will exist on a variety of networks

  • Anticipates that other entities and organizations will use it as a currency for their marketplace

Will Different Games/Products Have Separate Tokens?

  • Yes, there is nothing worse than a project with a fantastic idea that has hard costs set in their token

    • If the token value does down, the project ends up handing over something tangible for next to nothing

    • If the token value goes up, people become unwilling to spend it on in-game items

  • To make everything work, they will have interlinking ecosystems. While Gala will tie everything together, each game will have their own separate token

Future Of Gaming And Blockchain

  • There will be a unification of blockchain and gaming after a period of time

"There's not going to be blockchain gaming, there's just going to be gaming. And all gaming will have user ownership of assets because that's what all gaming has." - Jason Brink

Grand 5-10 Year Vision

  • Believes that they have the ability to become the next Steam

  • Want to see hundreds of games, all with player-owned assets, integrated with Gala Chain

Any News To Share

  • GalaCon at Las Vegas in December

  • Lots of personalities from the gaming space are attending it

  • Announcements of things that are coming to the platform both before and after the event

  • Really cool stuff that will be happening in relation to Mirandus during the event

  • Triple A gaming titles coming to the blockchain space. An example is a FPS game

Favourite Video Game

  • Final Fantasy 7

  • Had crap graphics but the story and the gameplay was incredibly compelling

  • Other favourite series of games would be the Fallout series

  • He is privileged to work with some of the people who were involved in the creation of those games

Single Favourite NFT

  • Owns quite a few buildings, shops, and deeds for Mirandus

  • Owns a couple of Hashmasks

  • Owns several VOX

  • VOX: Avatars That DeFi. There's 8888 of them. They are avatars that are inspired by Town Star and are randomly generated. Each of them has certain abilities based on their rarity. Players will be able to lock them with Gala to generate VOX coin

Most Controversial Thought On The NFT Space

  • Loves NFTs, but there's a lot of trash out there

  • Thinks that there is a degree of collusion that drives the value of some NFTs up

  • Some projects will succeed tremendously while a lot of projects will fade away

If He Could Change Something In The Space

  • Ethereum's gas fee issues. It is hampering a lot of movement in the space

NFT Ecosystem In 3 Years

  • Going to be a shakeout in the blockchain collectible space, same like what had happened during the ICO craze

  • Legitimate projects will continue building while the rest will fizzle out

  • After the shakeout, there will be innovation in the space

  • NFTs will start to move to different chains. Thinks that Flare, Polygon, and Gala will become heavy hitters in the NFT space

  • Larger acceptance of the concept of NFT art. May lead to a mass onboarding of new users

  • On-chain photography/selfie to verify user identity to counteract deep fakes

All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Summaries are prepared by The Reading Ape. While reasonable efforts are made to provide accurate content, any errors in interpreting and summarizing the source material are ours alone. We disclaim any liability associated with the use of our content.