Feb 27, 2024

Earn Alliance CEO and founder Joseph Cooper joins "First Mover" to discuss the challenges of attracting more users to Web3 games and bridging the gap between the Web 2 and Web3 gaming industries.

Video transcript

This next company hopes to make web through gaming more accessible through a new platform that rewards gamers and provides an engagement as a service solution for developers. Joining now is Earn Alliance CEO and co-founder, Joseph Cooper. Hey, coop. Hey, what's up? How's it going? Good. Just uh up over here late at night in Hong Kong. How about yourself over there? It is approaching the afternoon here on the east coast and everybody is very excited about this price action. We're seeing Bitcoin uh past $57,000. I believe that is the highest it's been since November 2021. But you've been awake for quite a while. So how's the excitement over there in Hong Kong? Is it tapering off? Yeah, it's tapering off. We've been really excited for about 12 hours. So you're a little late to the show. We already made our trades, you know, we're playing y'all over there, but I'm more excited on the E price personally. But yeah, Bitcoin is super excited to see where this is all gone. Why are you more excited on the eighth price? Well, you know, like, yeah, I'm not gonna say where uh my bags are at but, and you know, D apps and all that other stuff, definitely looking to, you know, do the NFTS and everything else when it comes to Bitcoin. I'm more interested in just seeing where that value goes and is unlocked over time. But yeah, I'm just more or less watching the action and, and playing it over here, I think, given the topic of our chat today, it's no wonder that you're excited about the price. We're talking all about web three gaming and a lot of games are being built on different layer twos in the Ethereum ecosystem. But let's let's start from the beginning here so our audience can catch up. Earn Alliance is launching uh a platform for Webster gaming discovery, which is something that if anyone is operating the web three gaming space I think is needed. So start from the beginning here. What problem are you solving? Yeah. So for earn Alliance, we're solving what I face as a game developer for the last 20 years is user acquisition. It's very expensive. It costs a lot of money. Usually pay a lot of money to get people to show up and then they just drop off. So we're trying to figure out ways to not only get people interested in web three games because it's a new space, it's a new industry, it's new vertical. But how, how do you get them to stick? How do you get them to actually be engaged. How do you give game developers a chance to actually showcase a feature or an idea long enough to see if people would actually be interested because, you know, first impressions only go so far. So how can you get people to try a little longer? Even if that means a little incentivization? If that means just being able to get that cherry on top to get to the end, that's what we're trying to develop. So we call it engagement as a service and we're trying to get people to enjoy and experience games until we think the developers are happy. All right, coop, I gotta ask you what many people are thinking is the problem though, that there hasn't been a really great web three game launched yet. Like sure user acquisition is a problem but there hasn't been like a really great game that can hold a torch to the web two games that gamers love playing so much. Yeah, it's a mixed bag, I would say. So we do have billions of dollars that have been invested in the space. I will be honest that those billions of dollars and the value unlocked hasn't been like actually unlocked yet. It takes years to make great games. And I'm gonna, as a game develops, I'm just gonna give everybody the benefit of the doubt that great things are coming. I have seen great things underneath the hood in the industry that's hopefully gonna be unlocked in 2024. Um, but I would say what just happened last week with, I'll just name drop it. Shrapnel was an amazing play test, um, for how early it is and what is gonna become you got pixels, which is trending really well as well. So there's definitely games this year that are showing up, but we still have a lot more to see, to see, you know, what burns and what flies for our audience who might not have heard the Shrapnel news talk to us a little bit about what went on there. Yeah, so there's a competition, uh personally partook and a lot of our community members in an alliance and many other people, I come from a first person shooter background. So I love counterstrike. I love uh you know, baller and all those other great games. And Shrapnel definitely hits that spot for, for me personally. Um So what they did is that for, for about a week, they opened up a public alpha where people could be able to play and uh essentially go in the battle online and Epic Games. So it was a lot of fun. Um Still very early, I'll be honest, like it's definitely not for people who are looking for polished opportunities or polished games out there right now. Um But in terms of what is to be coming in the future, it's definitely a lot of promise. OK, tell me about how the platform works. Are you hoping to attract people who have experimented with Web three games, who are more Web three native or are you hoping to attract more traditional Web? Two gamers who have not dabbled in Web three, definitely both. Uh We started with what I would say the Web Three, I like to say enthusiast. Uh So people who have been in the space who are excited to see what this industry could become, which is why I'm here today and how we work with them is yes, some of them are gamers. Well, there's 3 billion gamers, some of them play games, but not everybody plays shrapnel for example. So there are a lot of games out there and yes, good and bad that people could play. But what's more important is to promote the space. So we use web two enthusiasts to refer gamers from the web two audience to come, check out what is out there today. Um So that's where our airdrops come into play. And we have a massive referral system which probably 85% of all the users that come to our platform today are referred. And that's where the web three enthusiasts come from in terms of web two users. That's where those have come and been referred, checked out other games and actually have stuck around. Um So I would say that we are definitely on boarding web two gamers to check out what is out there and explore the web two game space together. Talk to me a little bit about your market research as a game developer. What have you identified as some of the big challenges when it comes to getting those uh more traditional gamers to understand what's happening in the web Three Space? Yeah, it's tough games today is there's such a high bar, that's the problem and that's a good problem to have for us game developers. But at the end of the day, it's highly competitive. So what I would like to say is that uh what we are doing as an industry is that we're trying to get people to not only build with the greatest tools out there, but also just give people a chance to explore and join communities and actually engage with the behind the scenes stories of like where these projects come from. So that's where I came from when I fell in love with games. And I learned my passion in programming and where things have essentially grew from me, joining a community, learning how to program and like connecting and making money in this space. Hopefully people will be able to do the same in the web three game space. And right now, I find that people are referring people to these new projects and actually checking them out and getting not only as like an investor perspective, but some of them become actually engaged to get a job in these new communities, which is pretty interesting. So, right, now, I think that's where we're at in terms of a builder phase and soon it will go more mainstream once these games are much richer that they'll actually join and be able to just casually play and have fun. So it sounds like the referral part is maybe what you're thinking is the secret sauce. And the reason I ask you that is because I know that traditional gamers have expressed some concerns about web three over the years. Some of those concerns come from the volatility of different cryptocurrencies that maybe not understanding NFTS the concern for uh the climate. These are all things that I've, I've heard come out of the various different uh gaming conferences. Do you think that referral piece starts to build uh trust because it comes from, you know, uh people who gamers might already trust in their networks? Yes, for sure. So where I learn my favorite games is from my brothers or my good friends. Tell me like, hey, I played something awesome. You wanna hang out this week and check out this new project? That's all it is that it literally starts with a referral. I don't think I, I can't name an ad or like some sort of thing other than like GT A like Grand Theft Auto or something like that, which works for a decade on projects and build these awesome ads to like be able to attract me. But in on average, it's about connecting with people who like a particular genre or a particular community and they get into a project. So I think just referrals in general is very powerful thing in the web three game space. And for us that's where we've cultivated our community and that's where we're cultivating other communities as well. Um So yeah, I would definitely say referrals, I would say is the secret sauce to our growth today. Uh But once you get somebody to show up, you gotta be able to show a good project to keep them around, that's for sure. Are there any great projects or great games out there that you would recommend for people who want to try a web three game that they are for people who haven't tried web three games who want to try web three games? I think it's still early. I would say like if you're like a hardcore gamer, you should just go to an alliance and look at the sea of games that we have. So there's over 3500 games within the feed that we have and there's 24 about 2600 games. Now on the game directory, we try, we try to create a Netflix experience where you can just hover over see quick 32nd shots of what game content has to offer. Like, one of the things that I wanted to see in this space is not the floor price of a project, but what is actually the current state of projects today in this space. And that's what we built to be able to help people get quick decisions to see if they're interested in a particular project. So I would say like if I were to name drop, a few of them magic craft is definitely on the top of my list. I'm a League of Legends fan. They have a three V three mobile out there that's playable on mobile. Um So I would say that that's the closest thing still a lot of work to go. It's not League of Legends, but it shows promise for what could be uh the early uh like era of web three games, Shrapnel Dead Drop. Definitely on top of my list. And I would say probably one of the most popular projects in our group is champs and uh probably sunflower land. I'm not a huge farmer, but for whatever reason, farming is a big thing in our community as well. So I'll definitely say that those would be the top projects. I love a good sunflower. OK. Coop, I gotta ask you, you're, you're joining us from the future. You're in Hong Kong. Um A lot of gaming news coming out of Asia Hong Kong especially why are you choosing to build um on that side of the world as opposed to uh over here in North America where I'm sitting? Yeah, I mean, I'm originally from California. Born and bred, lived everywhere in Bay Area, Central Valley Los Angeles. So I've just, I'm Californian is like what I like to say. But I met an awesome uh awesome lady who became the love of my life with two kids over here in Hong Kong. So left uh California about 10 years ago and I visit as often as I can because my family, friends are still there. But that's the main bread and butter of why I'm over here today. But the beauty is that web two gaming is here like a Infinity. Was born here in Asia. It was out of Vietnam. Yes, there is a mix of Vietnamese and American co-founders actually out of that group. So it's cool to see kind of all the melt, but it's seeded, it really was seeded in blooms there and then it just bursted all over here in Asia. The Japanese markets are doing great. The Korean markets, hardcore gamers are doing great. Um I hear Thailand is probably the next big move uh when it comes to web food gaming as well. So uh just to be honest, probably 60% of our users are here in Asia. We do have a, a lot of Americas, we have a lot in Europe as well, but definitely majority here in Asia. So really glad to be here and be able to do short flights and connect with communities in person and you know, run a bunch of gaming in person events and stuff like that. So, um as much as I, I miss uh my Cali home. Uh It's all happening over here for Web Three. All right. So you actually ended up in Hong Kong due to love. Not because, because of something boring like regulation nor Web Three innovation. I love that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that followed my heart for sure. Um Unfortunately not a, not a regulation story. Well, I, I want to talk a little bit about that. 60% number, 60% of your users are on that side of the world. What do you think it is about the Asian market when it comes to adopting different technologies and when it comes to gaming? Yeah, I think what, that's the beauty of web through gaming is alliance. Actually their origin story started as a, a guild or an investment side project of Ai Infinity. So I put some personal money into the space. I had about 350 people grinding ai infinity, making tons of cash. Um So it's a mix of India, a mix of Philippines, a mix of Brazil. And the thing is they were earning about $300 a month for grinding about 20 to 30 hours a week. Now $300 a month might not sound like much, you know, to the the western world, but that is a huge, huge impact. Uh when it comes to the the eastern world, I would say. Um so in the Philippines, this is life changing and it was a lot of fun, not only fun making games, but a lot of fun earning money. Um So that's how this entire space kind of started. I'm not saying that that's what the key reason of the space is. Um But it is a very beautiful start because what happened after that is that people started not only earning money, but they found their passions and maybe becoming a social media manager or becoming a programmer or becoming a community manager. Um They essentially got involved in what I call serious communities and they, I would hope find their passion or do something that actually earns money or is something that they enjoy in life that they want to spend time on? So I looked at a infinity as a gateway to passion and that's why I'm in the Web three space. So it's a very beautiful, beautiful start to like why I think this is more impactful here in eastern eastern Asia, you know, over here it's compared to the West. But I hope that this evolves um to be more of a global phenomenon as it grows in the years. Do you think the future of Web three gaming is going to look like some version of a and Vindy did in the past? So do you think that people will be playing to earn or do you think that that uh model was tried, tested, maybe not going to work for the rest of the world and there's a different business model that's gonna pop up and really kind of dominate, um, the future of web three gaming. Yeah, I think it's, uh, there's 22 stories to this one is that there's a story where I played hardcore mmrpgs and I played two years of my life and built this amazing account and had a bunch of armor and gold and all this stuff and I had to go to a black market when I decided to leave that community and sell it for about $400. Um That was against the terms of service and that's not, you know, a, a thing that you can do. But with Blockchain technology, when you have an open market or free market where you can be able to sell and trade things for fiat, um that is awesome. You're exchanging your time and your value uh to be able to give it to somebody else who might, you know, want to get ahead of the game or be able to, you know, see value in that and exit the economy. So I think as a traditional gamer for stage one, that's awesome. Um Just in terms of time and value, then the second piece is e-sports, right? E-sports is big. Twitch is big. Everybody's looking at it. It's growing. If I talked about me playing professional counterstrike when I was like 14, I won a Quake four tournament and won a computer when I was 15. Everybody's just like, oh, such a nerd. Like that's nothing like that is a big thing today and people are making millions of dollars with IP and brands and E sports. So I actually look at this as an e-sports 2.0 movement. And this is a way where if I wanted to start an E sports team, like what I did in a infinity, I don't have to get millions of dollars to build teams and be able to like aim for the stars. I can create like, you know, this the, the local basketball team or like the college, you know, football team, that kind of level of sports is kind of what I'm seeing for the E sports era of 2.0 where people could be able to create niche communities and niche co competitions um by competing through crypto games. Um So I kind of look at it as an e-sports 2.0 movement and I definitely think it will keep going and it's definitely not for everybody, not everybody has to play to earn. It's probably gonna be the most competitive people who will play and compete to earn. All right, coop, we are gonna have to leave it there. I'm gonna let you get to bed. I believe it's quite late over on your side of the world. Thanks so much for joining first mover today. Yeah, I appreciate your time. That was Earn Alliance CEO and co-founder, Joseph. Cooper.

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