SiGMA’s Kamil sat down with one of Malta’s gaming tech leaders Wesley Ellul, a prominent face amongst SiGMA’s events, to discuss a new era in gaming and tech
Wesley Ellul is a serial entrepreneur who has worked in various different industries. He was one of the first digital entrepreneurs working in tech in Malta. Since 2005, Ellul has opened up a number of companies including businesses like Untangled Media, Keepmeposted and TicketLine. He currently has 13 ongoing running businesses.
His latest venture is Quizando. Quizando is a brand that lets players play classic quizzes, anywhere, anytime. Although he’s in the gaming industry he focuses on the area of skill games and later got heavily involved in the blockchain industry.
“I’m a guy who sees opportunities and see how we can develop them and make better industries for everyone.”
Speaking about his venture Quizando, Wesley says that the idea behind it is that it’s knowledge-based. He describes the idea of Quizando being a skill game as a happy point for him. “The fact that players playing are doing so because they believe they can win, made it less of a gambling site” Ellul explains.
At Quizando there are games of various levels allowing people to compete in different tiers. When the initial version was launched in late 2016, beginning of 2017, during a three to six-month period, it was doing so well, that its servers were crashing, making everyone involved in this project aware that they were onto something good he goes on to further say.
“Quizando has now turned into a social gaming platform where the games are skill-based, and communities engage with each other.”
It has evolved in various different ways, it’s no longer just about you playing against a diverse group of people, but you are now part of a community playing against a community and seeing who’s the best at what you do.”
Quizando has been evolving drastically. The first major evolution was, between 2018 and 2019, when the team was building its scaled-up platform. This is a platform that can hold around a hundred thousand concurrent players playing the same game at one time. Apart from this, the brand also started looking into anyone who has a sort of audience to expand further.
YouTubers, celebrities, and charity organizations opened up to Quizando’s reverse version of Twitch where, instead of everybody watching someone play a game and then chatting about it, the exact opposite began being executed.
YouTube creators host the game and players are actively playing the game rather than passively watching and commenting about it.
He says that this really changes the dynamic of the community bringing players closer together and engaging them much more in the long run.
When asked if people adapted to this new playing model easily, Ellul replies saying that everyone who’s tried it has loved it so far, so they’ve been working with various different communities on this. The biggest community Quizando has worked with was in India.
Working with a world wildlife fund and a thousand schools across India, their largest game was 50,000 players strong. Having 50,000 kids across all of India playing 2 million games over the course of the next seven days after the gaming event took place.
“So people do adapt to it very quickly. They get into the whole concept because the idea is when you’re playing and you can see that you can do something, it pushes you to do a little bit better each and every time. We mix this with education, and even just social gatherings making it very easy for people to adapt to.” The numbers and achievements have been quite satisfying so far he claims.
The adoption of tech in the gaming industry
Being in the tech industry since early 2000, the interviewee has seen a drastic change in the community. When he started building up, Web 2.0 hadn’t really started.
He describes the web as being just a one-way communication system, where people would visit your websites to either look for information or throughout the beginning of e-commerce buy an item online.
There’s been a sizeable change in the way people communicate and market items to their clients. The whole idea of distributing a product and asking for a client to buy it is over and, it is now time to start conversations and create a narrative to make people feel like they are part of a community, where they belong.
It was at this point that clients felt like they had the opportunity to feel welcomed enough to go and try your product and, engage in being part of your community. “So there’s been a very big change in how you bring your clients on board, although the core of games has stayed the same.”
The element to achieve your highest score or win a prize during a game has stayed the same Ellul further clarifies , that the only thing that has changed is how to attract people and make them feel like they are part of a community. “The way we take care of this community is by keeping them with us.”
With iGaming communities constantly growing, what we are seeing right now is a merge. In the past, we had a traditional gambling community where the players played slots, poker, and other various casino games. Wesley says that over the next three to five years we are looking into witnessing mega growth where the video game communities are conjoining with these communities making the industry even more competitive.
Speaking about the change in the reward system that games are adapting, Ellul states that games are now being looked at as something that can actually give value back. Whereas before we used to play for fun, coins that converted to nothing and a higher ranking on the scoreboard, today games are moving into rewarding the players with a prize system where after playing, the achievements you make can be taken out of the game. We’re looking at witnessing a convergence between what was the traditional gaming community as we know it, ‘the gambling community’, and the traditional video game community.
“As in the metaverse, we’re going to be seeing people coming closer and closer together over the next couple of years, where the two worlds might be almost indistinguishable, through the merge. With the metaverse coming in, we’ll be seeing a much bigger gaming community being part of the picture.”
Games fostering the mass adoption of the blockchain
There is a community out there of 60 million players who are playing quiz games alone every day. Instead of trying to bring players out to a different world, what Quizando is doing is bringing it to them.
These players are already sitting down and consuming their time online and your job is to give them something new that they can experience inside their game. Whereas before they had a token in the game itself, try to come up with something new that they can take out and sell. Giving them a token as a reward means you’re getting these new players in a different space, opening up this new world for them to explore. This changes the whole education of things Ellul explains.
Wesley explains this in easier terms stating “The same way we gave children money as a reward which they, later on, used to buy toys from a store, this technique can be adapted to gaming and tech. People in gaming already understand the concept of the toy store and with the new rewarding system, we’re leading them to where they can spend it. I believe gaming has been and will be the big push forward.”
For more fun discussions in relation to anything gaming, check out the entire SiGMA podcast here.
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