At a recent event for BetaKit Patreon supporters, Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida and Horizon Blockchain Games co-founder and chief storyteller Michael Sanders discussed how NFTs could change the world of entertainment.
Sanders and Maida are trying to leverage the blockchain to create better experiences in gaming and music, respectively.
“I don’t think artists and creators can afford not to take advantage of this technology now.”
Maida acknowledged skepticism about the technology, citing the “vitriol” it has garnered for some of its applications. “It’s a space that is still yet unproven, and I think somewhat sullied by all the PFP [profile picture] stuff going on and and it being so speculative,” he said, referring to the speculative nature of the sector as “very toxic.”
Where Maida does see potential, however, is in the chance for musicians to engage directly with their fan communities and provide them with items that carry real-world value and result in a better fan experience.
“What we’re trying to do now, and what I’ve had to convince the band of is like, ‘Hey, this is about Web3, this isn’t about making a big bag of money as an NFT or a PFP, like this is real world value,’” said Maida. “People always want to buy music.”
For his part, Sanders acknowledged that there is a group of gamers who have become “very disenchanted” with the notion of combining Web3 and gaming, “in many cases, for good reason.”
One of those reasons could be related to the recent hack of crypto game Axie Infinity. In mid-March, a hacker breached the blockchain that powers Axie and stole more than $600 million USD worth of cryptocurrencies from users’ accounts.
Sanders, who noted he knows Axie’s founders personally, called the situation unfortunate. “Things like that are further reminders that things like this are incredibly serious,” he said, noting that Horizon Blockchain Games has focused on security from the start and uses Polygon for its blockchain needs.
“Running blockchain is very hard,” said Sanders, adding that Horizon Blockchain Games chose a different security route than Axie specfically because it wanted to leverage companies with existing expertise in that field.
Also speaking to the general Web3 gaming experience Sanders stated, “most Web3 games that we’ve seen thus far are—they’re crap, like they’re bad experiences. They are financial tools masquerading as a game.”
According to Sanders, a good Web3 game needs to involve a quality gaming experience, which entails thoughtful game and economy design, and can take time to ensure—as evidenced by Horizon Blockchain Games’ development process for its Skyweaver game.
“It took us over four years to get Skyweaver into an open beta state where we were playtesting rigorously and ensuring that it’s a quality experience, independent of any economic or blockchain factors,” said Sanders.
Maida said that convincing other artists to do what Our Lady Peace is doing is “hard,” but hopes others follow suit, in part given how many new fans the band has gained through its drops.
“Not to sound dramatic, but I don’t think artists and creators can afford not to take advantage of this technology now,” said Maida. “You could find and own your community. It’s big.”
Those who wish to view the full conversation, which also touches on the opportunity Maida sees to apply Web3 to concert ticketing and the importance of Web3 accessibility, can do so by becoming a BetaKit Patreon supporter.