Manon Burgel About The Evolution Of Games Based On Blockchain Technology
Interview with Manon Burgel, COO at b2expand. The b2expand company develops fantastic games on blockchain and helps other actors in the gaming industry to create their own business models.
Please tell us about your company.
B2Expand is a family project that incorporates two major strengths: blockchain technology and gaming. We develop games for tablets, mobile phones and PCs, and then we implement blockchain as the economic backbone of the gaming process. Most of our games are based on Ethereum blockchain. Now we are a team of 20 people sharing a common vision. Our goal is to reinvent the video game industry with the help of blockchain technologies
What game genres do you perform?
We have different game types and genres. It may be action, RPG, or strategy. For example, one of our games called Beyond the Void is already available on STEAM.
Tell us more about Beyond the Void. When was it launched?
Beyond the Void was first advertised during our presale in June 2016. The project is old, but the first public release happened in October 2017 (Early Access on Steam). The game is free to play, though if you like it you can additionally buy different things like skins, avatars, boosts and so on.
There are not many games using blockchain, and most of them are not of high quality. They are mainly collectibles, and their gameplays are very poor. The good part about those games, if at all, is that developers explore and adopt new technologies. Beyond the Void, however, is a MOBA designed for gamers, with a lot of depth. The gameplay is interesting, and not only for crypto enthusiasts. Gamers do really enjoy it. As the STEAM rate shows: it got 7 out of 10 points, which is not half bad for a product that still needs to be improved.
You said B2Expand was the family project? Does it mean that your family members are into this business, too?
Yes, they do. My brother Rémy is CTO, my father Éric works as CEO, and I am COO here. My uncle was one of the developers of the original Beyond the Void game, too. B2Expand is a family business.
Did you conduct an ICO?
Yes, we did. It happened in November 2016 and was the first ever ICO related to Ethereum-based games. We were some time earlier than CryptoKitties! We wanted to create an ecosystem with our own tokens that would allow buying different items. These assets could also be used for trading among gamers. We really like the idea of cross gaming that gives various opportunities for users. People should have possibilities to use and exchange universal assets and items within different games. It is fun. It is the future. And we do not even have to ask for permission to use someone’s assets inside of our games as the whole system is decentralised and transparent.
What else are you working on?
We are also organizing the Blockchain Game Summit. By the way, the nearest one will take place in September, 25-26. There are so many companies focusing on blockchain gaming. Even such big players as Ubisoft who is our biggest sponsor attends the summit.
What is the main goal of such summits?
Its goal is to define and to implement some standards for gaming companies that work with blockchain. It also helps to establish new business ties that will develop the whole sphere and solve its main problems. Today everybody is trying to develop his own projects but there’s no understanding among people. The sphere is on its early stage, and we need to move forward and take into account the needs of our clients.
There are two types of gamers. Some of them already use cryptocurrencies and wallets, while the others have no clue what they are. So we are trying to create a relevant gaming experience for both sides.
What problems does the gaming industry face when it comes to blockchain?
There many problems with users' gaming experience. Previously, you just had to create one gaming account. But now, if you want to buy something with digital assets you have to create a crypto wallet and keep your private key safe. If you forget or lose the key, you won’t be able to restore the wallet. It’s really critical for mass adoption. Another problem is transaction fees. Noone wants to pay fees while gaming, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Apart from that, we have to educate gamers, to add a possibility to buy crypto with credit cards and so on. There are many ways to solve these problems and we do our best to make everything simpler.