Hi Maurizio, can you briefly tell us about yourself and explain what GMEEZ is in 1 sentence?
- Yes, hi, my name is Maurizio and I’m a co-founder of the GMEEZ platform. I’m a business and finance director with many years of experience in multinational companies. I consider myself a curious person in general, but in the last several years I focused that towards cryptocurrencies and blockchain. I’m really interested in their applications and the potential they have to solve major problems with current platforms. This is what brought me to begin the journey with Paolo in creating GMEEZ back in 2019. Now I’m putting my knowledge in the technologies we use and my experience in setting up and managing business under the financial side. That’s why, even though I’m not much of a gamer, I understand what the problem is in the gaming industry and how blockchain can solve it. GMEEZ is in a special position to do that. The legal side is also an important factor for the project, since the platform needs to comply with many different local regulations which are always changing. I’m triple-checking everything to make sure things are operating legally. And as for that one sentence… This is how I would put it: GMEEZ is a gaming ecosystem for online gaming that acts as a meeting point for gamers to compete, discuss and earn from their gaming. I think any single-sentence description of the platform misses out on some aspect of the platform though.
So you mentioned that GMEEZ solves a problem in the gaming industry, what problem is that?
- Right, the issue is called fragmentation. Fragmentation simply means the division of gamers, whether the division is due to language, location, what game they play or the different consoles. The digital age is all about connecting with people, from anywhere. Online gaming relies on digital technology, but somehow the gaming community remains fragmented. And that’s simply because of how it’s organised. Now, I have to say, fragmentation is something that exists by nature, you can’t get rid of it. A player from Brazil won’t play on an Australian server since the delay would be much bigger. But it’s quite easy to organise competitions such that everyone can play on their local servers. It’s just current platforms are designed to work in a fragmented community, so they do nothing to really overcome fragmentation.
As you say, fragmentation exists by nature, it’s inherently there. Essentially, unless everyone lived close to each other and spoke the same language, fragmentation will always exist.
- Yes, exactly. Those are barriers that will always exist. You can’t avoid that. But you can certainly make it easier for players to meet and interact. You just have to spend some time finding good ways to do that.
So how does GMEEZ tackle that? What are the ways that you have found?
- GMEEZ gives players the tools, and a choice. On GMEEZ you can organise tournaments, talk to anyone and trade with anyone. Doesn’t matter where you’re or what you play. GMEEZ is a meeting point for all gamers. The ecosystem has different functions and all of them contribute to reducing fragmentation in some aspect of the ‘gaming experience’. Some functions are the same as on other platforms, but “conceptualised” differently so they are more accessible. Other features are new, or have not yet made it to mainstream platforms. All of these are implemented to try and create a more inclusive community.
Would you consider that GMEEZ’s biggest challenge?
- Well it’s one of them, beside the obvious technical challenges the main issue is the regulation. There are many local laws and regulations that prevent users from paying a fee or limit their earnings from the tournaments they win. This is by far the biggest barrier that I can see, at least when it comes to my tasks and responsibilities. I’m sure that other departments would say something different.
And so, how do you define success for GMEEZ? How do you define whether you have achieved your goal?
- Here at GMEEZ we say that our goal is to erase the sentence “It’s just a game.” If GMEEZ can get its users to deny that sentence, then we know we succeeded. Obviously people are still going to say it, but you don’t hear that as often with other sports or activities. We want to do that for gaming. I guess if the platform isn’t popular or doesn’t take off that’s not a complete success. But if we can prove the concept and make a platform that’s better than other platforms then we have succeeded, even though we might not have that many users as we hope.
There is quite a lot of skepticism surrounding blockchain technologies. There are technical issues like scalability and speed and regulations issues. And China recently banned all forms of cryptocurrencies. How is GMEEZ going to approach these problems?
- Well obviously regulations and technical issues are 2 separate problems. For regulations, all we can do is comply with them in any given country. Up to now, regulations don’t seem to pose an issue to GMEEZ but that might always change in the future. The banning of cryptocurrencies in China definitely impacted the market, but we’re seeing opposite trends in other countries. Many countries in South America are considering cryptocurrencies to solve monetary problems while other countries are regulating them as they would any other financial asset. We are already looking at how regulations might affect the platform, but for now our focus is developing the platform. As for scalability and speed, that’s a problem that we have been thinking about from the get-go. We are confident that GMEEZ won’t suffer from any of those problems. As a company, we will do everything possible to make sure that none of these issues impact our users. We want to provide a gaming experience that is smooth, immersive and without compromises.
Blockchain is obviously one of the main innovations on the platform. So, just to clarify, is GMEEZ a blockchain gaming platform? And what’s your general view on blockchain gaming? Do you think we’re going to see more blockchain based games?
- I’m glad you asked. No, GMEEZ is not a blockchain gaming platform, it’s a gaming platform that integrates blockchain. Those are actually two completely different things. Since GMEEZ is going to have an NFT market, blockchain gamers can trade NFT’s and in-game items through our NFT market. However GMEEZ can be used by any gamer, and most users are going to be non-blockchain gamers. I think that providing a platform for blockchain gamers is important. Blockchain gaming has potential, especially for item collection games and indie games. That’s because users can contribute by creating their own in-game content. That’s something that was not possible before. Blockchain gaming has grown a lot over the last few years, and it’s likely going to expand. Blockchain gaming hasn’t gone mainstream. I think that if there’s even just 1 blockchain game that becomes popular, the rest will follow. Hopefully GMEEZ can contribute to that.
From what I understand, GMEEZ is your first experience in the gaming industry. What is your experience working in it? Is there anything that surprised you, what was your overall feeling?
- The one thing that felt strange to me is how the market is structured, so to speak. Influencers are a huge part of the gaming industry. By influencers I mean content creators like Youtubers or pro gamers. If you want to reach out to gamers and spread your name, you don’t reach out to other companies or platforms. You have to work together with content creators and influencers. I was already aware that influencers and pro gamers had big followings, but I simply wasn’t used to doing business with individuals. Normally, when you create partnerships with other companies, you work together with teams of people. That’s a big difference. But it’s refreshing, once you get used to it. And gamers tend to be very involved too: those that already know about our platform are following us closely and really want to engage with us. You don’t communicate that much in most industries.
That’s really true, the gaming industry is quite unique in that respect. Gamers are really involved, because they know their voices can be heard on the internet. So how long do you think it’s going to take for GMEEZ to take off?
- That’s a good question. We are planning to have a substantial number of users already at launch; that’s why we’re organizing tournaments. Well, by ‘substantial’ I mean enough to have a few tournaments going on at any given time. Obviously, the more users the better. We can get feedback more quickly, and gamers will have more content straight away. The platform will take a few years to grow after the launch. It’s impossible to establish yourself in a few months. That can only come with time. But I have to say, there are also advantages with having a small community. Small communities tend to be more tight-knit and more dedicated. And as a platform that’s just starting, it’s easier to communicate with users and understand what needs to be done.
Hmm, I guess that when you’ve just started, there’s only room to grow. I have one last question. You mentioned getting feedback from users. Does that mean you might incorporate users’ feedback for the platform? There are major platforms like Steam that haven’t really had any updates in a long time. Now, GMEEZ is different from Steam, but is GMEEZ going to have major updates? Or is the final launch going to also be more or less the final version?
- I can’t disclose too much. What I can say is that more functions are going to be added after the official launch.