PlayEmber is a free-to-play mobile gaming studio which has incorporated blockchain into mobile gaming and at the same time shifted the advertising paradigm.
Ultimately, it has done the hard work in creating a simple Unity based SDK to transform any mobile games into a Web3 mobile game in under 2hours! Games studios can focus on making a great game whilst PlayEmber’s SDK takes care of all the web3 elements – NFT’s, smart contracts, wallet, meta game, community.
Speaking with Crypto AM, CEO Hugo Furneaux explains that he began his career in marketing with part of his job to recruit game developers. He could not believe the salaries offered and so switched over to development himself. Of course, by then he discovered that it was actually quite competitive – but as he now loved both development and gaming he decided to stay put.
By chance too an initial game achieved the popular in the app stores and he was hooked.
“I just loved making these snackable mobile games – everyone can play, it’s not exclusive, and is genuinely aimed at the mass market,” says Furneaux.
In this conversation he is joined by CMO Jon Hook. Hook began his career in advertising, also in mobile.
“With another friend we built our own mobile ad network, which we sold, before moving onto mobile gaming,” says Hook. He met with Furneaux and quickly saw his vision, chasing him until he agreed to partner with him.
Furneaux at this stage had begun to repeat his early success. Sometimes he worked on seasonal games, other times he went for evergreen ideas.
“One popular genre is idle and idle arcade styled gaming where you collect resources, you upgrade and build, and then go to the next level. Our sweet spot in gaming is the mass casual games, the type of game you play waiting for a tube. And our audience has always been 50/50 male female and typically in the 18year old group all the way to the 50s,” says Furneaux.
There is a very short window timeframe to develop these games. Usually, the team works on an idea over a couple of weeks before testing the MVP. The games that enjoy good stats are then developed, but there are many that fall by the wayside.
“It is a bit sad, but I’ve learned not to get too attached early on,” says Furneaux.
Hook brings the advertising stats to the table. He explains that NFTs are also just another way to bring monetisation into mobile games.
“In-app purchases in mobile games generated around $140 billion in 2021. But that does not denote ownership – if the game closes or the gamer leaves then the items are lost.
“That’s a lot of games but many of those are going to die in Web2. Hugo and I saw this huge opportunity to bridge the mobile gaming world of Web 2 into Web 3. Game developers want to build games, not blockchain, that is hard. But we’ve built the blockchain already so we’re ready to provide that service to Web 2 games,” says Hook.
Both founders believe that mass adoption is likely to come through casual mobile gaming.
“And we’ve got first mover advantage here,” says Hook.
PlayEmber never claimed to be a Triple A developer and has always focused on mobile. It is looking at the billions of Web 2 mobile game players with the view of bringing them into Web 3 using digital asset ownership and interoperability as key features.
“We are also looking at totally breaking the Web2 advertising model. Currently, advertisements are blockers to where gamers want to go. It’s all click bait or banner ads that no one wants to see.
“On the other hand, we are building in gamification for brands – making the brands and their advertisements part of the game – now that is innovation,” says Hook.
The founders of PlayEmber are very excited about moving an active gaming community into Web 3 in which NFTs and native tokens are part of the game. To that end they are creating two tokens. The first is SPRK which is completely off chain but is an in-app token which operates as an in-game currency. Gamers will earn SPRK by playing games which in turn will allow them to upgrade their player or to exchange these SPARK tokens for EMBR tokens. SPRK tokens are infinite, utility in-game tokens.
EMBR tokens are limited to 1 billion. EMBR is the overarching coin in the PlayEmber ecosystem. EMBR is deflationary due to upgrading and burning mechanics and is available across all games on the PlayEmber ecosystem.
With the availability of an SDK, PlayEmber is now partnering with Web 2 games studios. The technology is based on NEAR Protocol.
“N Protocol is very much a builders’ chain, with scaling built in,” says Furneaux. “And we love the wallet which is so easy to use.”
Future plans for PlayEmber are ambitious with Hook predicting huge downloads for their games. “We are targeting the creation of 50 to 100 million active new wallets created by web2 gamers in the next couple of years,” he says.
Furneaux agrees: “We see ourselves as a big Web 3 mobile project, an advertising network that is totally decentralized. We see it as a real ecosystem.”