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6 Questions for Simon Davis of Mighty Bear Video games


Simon Davis is the co-founder and CEO of Mighty Bear Video games, a multiplatform recreation developer in Southeast Asia creating accessible multiplayer experiences in Web3.

Davis has spent virtually 20 years working within the gaming business, however he by no means deliberate to really work on this subject.

Earlier than crypto, he was an expert guitarist who made ends meet by enjoying in steel bands and canopy bands and by educating guitar. However after his cash dried up one summer time, he scored a six-week gig as an expert recreation tester — and he’s by no means appeared again.

Davis’ ever-growing guitar assortment. (Simon Davis)

Throughout his time within the gaming business, Davis has held administration and product lead positions at gaming corporations together with King Digital Leisure, Ubisoft, Bigpoint, AKQA, Empire Interactive, and Laughing Jackal. 

In 2017, Davis teamed up with some mates and fellow business veterans to launch Mighty Bear Video games in Singapore, the place they supposed to give attention to creating conventional video games — earlier than pivoting to blockchain in 2022. And in 2023, the agency launched an open beta for Mighty Motion Heroes, its first Web3 gaming title.

Davis, who additionally goes by “Papa Bear,” stated each Mighty Bear worker receives a “bear title.” A few of Papa Bear’s staff embody “Arty Bear,” “Bear-Abel,” “Excel Bear,” and “Bear McNumbers.”

Why the pivot to blockchain gaming?

I used to be fortunate sufficient to sort of get into Bitcoin by chance in 2015, so I’ve been within the house for just a few years. In 2021, I began enjoying with NFTs, and I’m fortunate sufficient to be additionally based mostly in Southeast Asia, so I might see firsthand what was occurring with Axie [Infinity]. I believe, for me, as somebody who lived by the transition to free-to-play, it felt very very similar to a second, sort of like when Farmville got here out on Fb. 

I believe that for reside service titles [games like Fortnite, League of Legends and Apex Legends], a dominant enterprise mannequin goes to emerge to revolve round player-owned and operated economies. As a result of I don’t imagine you may have digital worlds with out digital property rights, primarily.

And I believe that does allow quite a lot of new issues that we’re actually beginning to scratch the floor on. So, I believe that basically was the pull issue.

What format do you suppose serves as one of the best ways to draw customers to blockchain gaming?

The Mighty Bear Games team
The Mighty Bear Video games staff. (Simon Davis)

I believe cellular gaming goes to be the dominant platform due to geography. You see this in the event you have a look at the charts for the international locations which have a fantastic slope of curiosity in crypto or Web3. They are typically international locations the place present fee rails usually are not tremendous developed.

Individuals are largely unbanked in locations like Indonesia and Brazil. These markets are mobile-first. Like, folks within the Philippines and India usually are not essentially utilizing high-end PCs. 

So, you want to go the place the customers are. And this can be a little bit of a spicy take, however this is the reason I’m very bearish on folks making tremendous HD high-end Web3 video games as a result of it’s simply not the place the markets are immediately. So, you see quite a lot of these groups elevating, like, mega bucks to make console-quality titles, but when nobody can play them, then they aren’t going to do very a lot.

What do you suppose the present hurdles are for large-scale blockchain gaming adoption?

Lots of people speak about it when it comes to silver bullets, proper? Like, “Oh, we want one good recreation,” or like, “We have to clear up the pockets drawback.” I don’t suppose it’s any a kind of issues. I really suppose it’s simply quite a lot of lead bullets, quite a lot of small issues that have to occur. 

What I’ve skilled immediately continues to be fairly horrible, and scary, like social restoration. And it’s beginning to grow to be a factor, however that should grow to be loads simpler.

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I simply suppose, typically, it must be as simple and as brainless to make use of as a Web2 expertise. And so I believe there may be an inherent battle immediately with how folks take into consideration Web3, you understand. They are saying issues like, “Oh, you want to educate the customers,” or, “Practice folks to carry their non-public keys.”

However you understand, my mother doesn’t wish to maintain her personal non-public keys. She does all her buying and selling on We have to make it primarily idiot-proof so anybody can do it.

I believe we’re nonetheless fairly a great distance away, however I’m seeing significant enhancements, really. I’m seeing merchandise which can be going to go to market subsequent yr that are going to assist loads. 

I don’t understand how outdated you’re, however I’ve simply turned 40 this yr. I bear in mind within the 90s establishing a house web connection on dial-up. It took me two days of calling technical assist and somebody telling me like configs. I used to be having to go in and alter manually and stuff. And now, you understand, we solved that, proper? After which, the web grew to become a mass market, after which folks might simply put a CD of their pc, and it simply labored. I believe we have to get to that stage.

Mighty Motion Heroes. (Sport web site)

Do you suppose the unhealthy rap blockchain/NFT gaming will get is an enormous challenge? 

It’s humorous as a result of gaming acquired a fairly unhealthy rap within the 90s. You understand, everybody was speaking about how video games had been making youngsters violent. There was an enormous ethical panic, identical to there was in music just a few years earlier than.

However I believe that if you begin to get this stuff in folks’s palms and expertise them, perceptions change. I do suppose quite a lot of the fame that we’ve in crypto and Web3 is deserved. There are quite a lot of unhealthy actors exploiting the shortage of regulation, however the issues that excite me: I’ve seen some video games, for instance, that permit gamers to earn small quantities of Bitcoin, And this form of factor’s retention numbers are very sturdy, just like the preliminary metrics are very promising. And I believe that’s a very nice use case.

Reddit can be a fantastic instance, proper? They put NFTs within the palms of big numbers of individuals. Lots of people didn’t even understand they had been interacting with NFTs. So then that they had their first style, and yeah — there are some stats which have come up, and never an enormous quantity of them have transacted on-chain.

However I really don’t suppose that’s such a nasty factor. If individuals are not dumping the property on day one, I don’t see that as a unfavorable. So, I believe onboarding by stealth is fairly good.

What sort of adoption metrics are you in search of along with your video games?

So, folks speak about installs and sign-ups — it’s only a self-importance metric. For me, I’m concerned with how many individuals are coming in day-after-day, how often they’re coming again, and what the expansion curve of that appears like initially.

After which as soon as we do the cellular launch [of Mighty Action Heroes], which shall be round August/September, how properly are we doing on attracting non-crypto-native folks into the sport as properly? That shall be very fascinating, and to see how they play collectively. It’s a unique angle, however it’s one which I’m fairly bullish on.

What are some concepts or tech upgrades that might assist blockchain gaming?

ERC-6551 tokens. 

Primarily, they offer a sensible contract account or a sensible contract pockets to a 721 [token]. So, you understand, a standard NFT could be a JPG with some metadata hooked up. However primarily, the JPG or the asset, no matter that’s, is then sure to a sensible contract. 

And that is fairly cool as a result of it implies that property can talk straight with one another. So NFT to NFT, with out utilizing MetaMask. And it may be appropriate with different sensible contract wallets. 

I believe the actually cool factor is that, primarily, your asset turns into a pockets and might have its personal logic as properly. So you possibly can have a base character in a recreation because the 6551 token, after which all the garments or the objects or all the pieces that that character has, the sort of sub-assets, can change inside, every with its personal logic.

As a recreation developer, you begin pondering of how your characters might evolve and how one can connect new property with out updating the core.

Then as a dev, I believe it’s actually good for fame administration as properly. Like, in the event you did a soulbound model, you possibly can have achievements, proof-of-work, proof-of-play, social id. I believe it’s fairly cool. […] It’s safer as a result of it’s not simply an asset inside a pockets like it’s on sensible contracts with its personal non-public key.

Brian Quarmby

Brian Quarmby found crypto in 2013 and immediately fell in love with the concept of decentralization. Brian has since lived and labored Asia and returned to Melbourne in late 2019. Brian is a lover of sport and artwork and is bullish on the potential for NFTs to remodel artists lives within the close to future.

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