NFTs, Gaming, & The Metaverse with Ari Meilich & Thor Alexander of Big Time Studios

NFT trading volume is exploding… and they are now on a collision course with the gaming world. In this episode of The Money Movement, we dig into blockchain based gaming, the future of the creator economy and the economization of digital games.

Joining us this week to explore this topic is Ari Meilich, CEO and Co-Founder at Big Time Studios, and Founder of Decentraland and also Thor Alexander, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Big Time Studios, and VP Production at Decentraland.

[00:00:10] Jeremy: All right. I'm very excited for our episode today. I'm joined here by RA Mileke. Uh, who's the co-founder of big time studios actually are a, maybe I'll recut that are you the founder or COVID. Co-founder with, I, I, that's obviously important. Um, uh, I'll I'll mention that. All right. Um, welcome everyone.

Excited for this week's episode of the money movement. I'm joined here today with Ari Meilich the co-founder of big time studios and also a co-founder of Decentral Land. Um, and we're going to be talking about big time studios. We're going to be talking about. Uh, what they're building. Um, but we're also going to be really, I think, exploring some of the bigger themes here that are, that are driving an enormous amount of the [00:01:00] activity interest.

Uh, in, in the crypto economy, uh, metaverse NFTs game-ify marketplace models, um, what this technology is going to do for creators. Uh, and I, and I know RA just maybe to kick things off, I mean, I think you think about this problem space and you had been working in this problem space for a really long time.

And I think you, you take a kind of platform lens here. Like these are things that other people can build on and economies can be built. And so I'm excited to explore some of those themes with you, but first of all, just, you know, welcome. Thanks for joining. 

[00:01:33] Ari: Yeah. Thanks for having us here. 

[00:01:35] Jeremy: Um, excellent. Um, you know, I think, um, uh, you know, there's a lot of places to start.

I'd love to have, have you guys just start with just a little bit of the origin story and, and how you, how you got here and, um, and you know, going back, uh, into your entry into crypto and, and, uh, and, and obviously I'll just touch on the Decentral land as well. Um, which is [00:02:00] obviously seeing extraordinary growth right now.

Um, and, uh, and then the origin of. 

[00:02:06] Ari: Sure. Uh, let me start. Um, I would say this project actually began its incubation when Thora and I, and the rest of the DEcentraland teams, we're about to launch Decentral. And, uh, we were anticipating that as we launched the good for the world to the public, um, the corporate structure was going to undergo some changes, uh, in favor of full decentralization.

Which meant solving the initial development company, setting up a new independent foundation and setting up the Dao. So as we went through that process, naturally we stepped down from the management because there was no more entity. And so her and I had very strong ideas about. What things, uh, we wanted to do differently and perhaps what things, or what shortcuts we needed to take in order to foster adoption, lot faster.

Uh, but then when we [00:03:00] were launching the central line, there were maybe, uh, 20 to 50,000 players playing so-called blockchain games were still very, very early and we experienced firsthand. A lot of the hurdles that regular users went through and all the hoops they went through as they try to play these games, um, back then, or maybe still nowadays, uh, players, uh, were looking down on blockchain games.

And then if these in general, for many reasons, Uh, started will tell you that that's similar to what happened back in the day with a free to play when most games were premium. Uh, so at that point I decided, okay. That we want to definitely continue building in the space. Uh, we saw that blockchain tech was going to be an integral part of the gaming industry.

And, um, we decided that we wanted to build a new company and start with AAA games or games for what what's called the [00:04:00] mid-core to hardcore audience. Uh, even though we wanted this to be very accessible, but we wanted to make this for people that love games, uh, would spend several hours playing regardless of whether or not, uh, there became money or the whole speculation side of things.

So haven't, if you'd like to add anything. 

[00:04:21] Thor: Uh, I think the two biggest things we learned, uh, at the central land, uh, one as everybody knows by now is there's a huge demand for NFTs, especially in gaming. And then the other one that people haven't caught on to yet is that the barrier to entry for blockchain games is just incredibly hard for the average.

So one of the things we set up to do with big time was to reverse that and knock down all those barriers to entry and make a product. It could be a mass market and allow people to get in a lot easier without all the hurdles of getting a crypto wallet or having to go out on a crypto exchange or firm to deal with [00:05:00] cryptocurrency.

[00:05:01] Jeremy: Yeah, no for sure. And, and, uh, and obviously for a full disclosure, I think, uh, we, we also just announced, uh, you know, circle and circle ventures is an investor in, in big time. And we're, we're really excited to be supportive of, of what you're doing and, um, and, and a partner as well in, in, in trying to connect crypto infrastructure and traditional financial infrastructure, you know, into the world of blockchain games and, and try and create those more seamless.

Onboarding experiences for people, which is really key. So first of all, I'm really grateful for the opportunity to, to work with you guys in, in, in multiple ways. So, uh, you know, thank you. Um, I wanna, um, maybe, maybe dial back a little bit, um, you know, there's so much hype right now. Um, incredible amounts of hype around the metaverse, uh, there's hype around Anaptys, um, there's hype around blockchain games.

I mean, just at a level that I think surprises probably all of us [00:06:00] to some degree. Um, maybe not you guys, because you you've been like believers, uh, in, in, in this for, for so long and building in this for so long, but kind of zooming out. What is like the mega trend, like in your eyes as people who've invented some of the critical, um, you know, examples of this in the world today, you know, what is, you know, what's the big thesis, um, about what's happening with, uh, you know, People and how they spend their time and how they, and how they participate in, in, in this form of content and, and these realms.

Um, you know, I, I think there's like simplistic, you know, descriptions of it, but, um, as, as practitioners that have been at it for a really long time, I'd love to, I'd love to hear you zoom out a little bit and just talk like you're, you're no pun intended your meta thesis. 

[00:06:55] Thor: Yeah. I guess what would we be pitching?

Um, I [00:07:00] think that what we're seeing is the intersection of three trends that are changing the way all this works. Um, the first is around ownership and that's really, uh, what the blockchain has really supercharged is the ability for people and that corporations to own their assets. And then the second one that's following closely behind that is.

Um, where you can own your identity instead of Facebook donate it, um, to their chagrin. Um, and then the third one is the one that people get really excited about, but we need the first two before we can get there, which is interoperability between the diverse worlds. Um, so eventually where we're going to be, isn't this cool place that Saifai authors have been writing about for decades.

Um, where you have your virtual identity that can follow you for virtual world, the virtual world. And then you have your virtual assets that now you own that some corporation and their database, um, that you can also take from [00:08:00] world the world. Um, and it's kind of baby steps to get there. And it's cool to see that everybody has gotten really excited about it.

Um, you know, we've got a lot of plans about how this comes together, but they're very long-term and right now, We're trying not to put the cart before the horse. Right. And, uh, keep things as simple as possible and build things in the right order. 

[00:08:24] Jeremy: Yeah, absolutely. 

[00:08:27] Ari: Yeah. I mean, adding to what Thor said, um, there are probably some changes in.

The consumer, the consumer behaviors, uh, with regards to games, like it's always been expected that you will buy assets and after you bought them, uh, you will have very little control over them. Uh, for example, in the real world, you can lend a book to our friend or resell, um, your. You're album or whatever, but a individual world that has not [00:09:00] been possible until fairly recently, even though they're happy next time.

That were pre blockchain about, uh, peer to peer economies, such as Second Life. But with blockchain, it's a lot safer for the players. I mean, the items are more secure. You have more transparency into their properties and there's a sort of common standard for how these assets can be interchanged and transferred.

So the fact that people are now buying assets that. Uh, they can see how many copies please assets have. Uh, and you know that in the future, you're going to be able to transfer it whether or not the game developer wants that I think gives people a lot more confidence when purchasing, so people are. Maybe spending a lot more than what they did, uh, in traditional games because they foresee that it's not going to be all a sunken cost, but rather, um, they know that the volume will stay [00:10:00] with them.

Uh, and in some, in some cases they may even appreciate this call it. 

[00:10:06] Jeremy: Right. This, this sort of ownership, digital ownership is a huge piece of this and that, like you said, it's, it's, it's existed in, in, in sort of forms, but in an open opera interoperable liquid way, obviously ownership is sort of taking on.

Um, what about the, the sort of broader, the sort of phenomenon of, of, uh, play to earn and, and real economies, quote, unquote, um, you know, finding their way. Um, where do you see that in, in the, in the, in the games that you're building, um, to what degree do you, do you feel like blockchain games are actually going to be a place for people to make a living?

Um, not just speculate our own and enjoy, obviously the entertainment and enjoyment is hopefully the principle thing, but, um, where are those boundaries? Where do you think those boundaries should be? Um, it seems like a lot of people are [00:11:00] going after that. Cause there's been some hits and people want to try and replicate the model.

Um, and, and maybe, you know, as, as you think about where that makes sense from a game perspective, I I'd just be really interested, 

[00:11:15] Ari: I guess, with, uh, freely transferable assets. Uh, you have, you can get economies. Have a, there are more innovating on the flow of funds side of things, whereas, sorry, generally. I mean, the model was for the publisher or the game developer to sell items to the players and that was it, uh, with more open or play around the corner.

Uh, you get more vibrant peer-to-peer trading, uh, where you can exchange items for real money or time for real money. And I mean, it's only expected that at some point, I mean the flow of funds, it's not going to be only from the players to the [00:12:00] developers, but also if there are a lot of people. Pouring time and money into a game.

There will be other players who are not, uh, involved with the development company or the publishing company who are also, uh, receiving funds. There's like a super trend in the online world where, uh, each time more and more people are trying to make a living online. For example, if you look at, uh, influencers that are maybe 50 million of them, Um, making content in social media to make a living.

It's like, uh, one of the most sought after professions, these days for kids and teens and in video games. Uh, I think there's a lot of pent up demand for that. You have a very small and elite group of. Let's say the e-sports athletes who make money by playing, but when you have three to 4 billion people playing video games in such a tiny portion, making a living [00:13:00] online, um, there's obviously a lot of demands for more of them to, uh, pick up online professions.

I'm not saying that the future of gaming is. Like merging play and work. It's just that more of that it's gradually going to happen. Uh, because a lot of people are, uh, like expect, uh, spending a lot of time. So it's natural that you're going to want to hire people online, or you're going to outsource some tasks to other people.

And so. 

[00:13:32] Jeremy: And mean, I mean, just the scale of the economies are, are, are huge. And the, and the amount of, of, of activity. It's interesting. Um, th this is a total tangent, but I'll bring it up. Um, you know, this morning that the, uh, labor force participation numbers were announced in the United States. And so they look at, you know, kind of the number of people, um, you know, non-farm payroll increases, right.

And said that the news was, there were 200,000. [00:14:00] You know, new, new, new people on payroll. And one of the, um, one of the people actually, it was, it was the chief economist of LinkedIn was on a television program. I was watching and she was saying, That she just thinks it's just way off the mark, because she's the, the amount of, of, of kind of hiring activity and new entity creation activity.

There's all these start-ups forming at a record rate right now in every sector. And they don't show up in like the W2 payroll data, right. That, that people would typically get. And, you know, it's sort of like how much of the real economy. Uh, people are earning, you know, earning a living, but they're not getting a W2, W2 payroll instrument from an online game, but they're making a living in, in the crypto economy.

Um, it obviously can, could be bigger and bigger and it sort of says more about, you know, as you were saying kind of digital lifestyle and, and things like that. Um, I guess, um, maybe, maybe kind of connecting back to, to, to what you guys are building. Um, [00:15:00] the concept of, you know, a AAA rated, you know, high production value game, um, in some ways as sort of the anchoring of the platform that you're building.

Maybe talk a little bit about first, just as you think about this as a platform, as you think about this as a platform for other creators beyond. Uh, your studio, so to speak, um, you know, w w what do you envision becoming possible this game interoperability? A marketplace of inter-operability is sort of the, certainly like in, in the vision, um, how far away do you think that is?

Um, and, uh, and maybe just bring us a little bit into, um, you know, what, what you can share at least publicly about kind of your own roadmap. 

[00:15:45] Thor: Sure. 

[00:15:46] Ari: Um, I would say, well, we've got started with big team studios. Uh, he was at a time when most blockchain companies were trying to do a platform play and there was a bit of a scarcity [00:16:00] of a successful applications.

Like back in 2018, 19, everyone was still looking for killer blockchain applications and the same that translated to. I guess blockchain games where you had a lot of blood firms, but everyone was trying to sell a big on shovels to game companies that didn't exist. So we knew that the opportunity was in building content first and as we started talking to more traditional gaming companies, that high was definitely way too.

Uh, to try to support their poaching gaming. And there were speakers, there were none. So we realized that in the process of, uh, becoming a first party content creator ourselves, we're going to navigate all the challenges that the game companies that we're going to support in the near future. Uh, we're going to encounter.

And master, uh, the solutions to those issues. So we've been pretty focused on building big game and the game alone. For the most part, even though [00:17:00] we knew that as we developed the game, we're going to Polish a lot of tools and understand the processes that would serve useful to external companies. Right.

That's still the worst now focused on the game. And the game is coming out in April, approximately, uh, as an early access launch that initially going to be for about 12000% people, those who bought the early access passes, uh, for big time. Um, and we've been of course in conversation with. Various games, studios.

Um, what's happened in the past maybe six months, uh, ACCE broke out and became a giant, uh, and maybe the central and, and sound books to some extent as well is that, uh, traditional game developers, uh, started having a more positive outlook for the blockchain gaming could entail and understand also that the opportunity was pretty loud.[00:18:00] 

Um, so I think the timing is very good for us because we've been developing for over a year and a half. We are maybe less than half a year away from our own launch or launching the marketplace in a few days, uh, in partnership with circle, uh, and. Basically right now, we're about to start, uh, being ready to onboard other game developers and maybe give them the tools and our expertise and, uh, our marketplace liquidity.

Uh, we already understand. What challenges are going to be facing on many fronts on the tech front and the game design and economy front on the regulatory front, which is non trivial. There are ways to design assets so that, uh, they're compliant with all regulations. Uh, so we're trying to be working with, uh, those studios that are, uh, trying to follow the same path.

And I think most importantly, also, [00:19:00] who are developing with gamers inside, uh, developing a game takes. At the very least to three years, uh, sometimes a lot more. So, I mean, we're trying to partner up with developers whose games, uh, can stand up on their own. Even if we are in a, in a bear market as the one we had in 2018, uh, where there were no like quick gains as you see today and the.

[00:19:28] Jeremy: Yeah, that that's, that's exciting. And when you, when you think about, I mean, yeah, totally like just the, the amount of awareness, uh, from, from creators, traditional game developers, et cetera. I mean, we've, we've seen that we've seen, we've seen that just in, in our own business, just the interest in this problem space.

When you think about what are the tools that. A game developer needs to build blockchain games. What are the critical pieces of, of that, um, that you know, are [00:20:00] common, right. And where, you know, th building on, on, on, on something that, you know, give some interoperability w you know, where do those things make sense?

And what are those, 

[00:20:12] Thor: um, 

[00:20:13] Ari: 30 minutes tickets.

[00:20:17] Thor: I kind of think of it, um, abstracted up a level from that as in here's the playbook that we've developed on how to successfully make, um, blockchain games or better yet games for the blockchain. Um, and this is similar to what we did with social games and MMOs before that, where there's a existing way that everybody's doing things and then a disruptive force comes along and you have to change up your game and figure out.

Um, what's the secret sauce to make things work in the new medium. Um, and that's like, our big advantage is coming out of decentral land and party already made the first-generation blockchain game. So we're now onto our second generation with all those. Um, and that's a big thing, uh, [00:21:00] that we offer to people who partner with us and come onto the platform is really a, a jump start on everybody else in terms of, Hey, here's a bunch of things you could do that kind of turn out so well for you.

And more than just that it's like, here's the why? There's the big secrets that we learned, the hard way doing this, and we can help people avoid those pitfalls.

[00:21:24] Ari: Uh, answering your question more specifically, some things that come to mind that people are people need is someone that really knows how to be signed for these types of assets. Like gaming economies are different now than they were before. There was very firebox car city, and before people could freely transfer the assets, the business models to change slightly because it's not one to many.

Like many players spend two, one anymore. There's more and more open economy. And when we think about the type of players [00:22:00] that we want to be able to on board, you need a way for them to easily access the game. Like what I learned. I got the central plan is that when you go outside the small niche that the blockchain industry is, most people don't understand what a wallet is.

They don't understand meta mask. They don't understand self custody. So even though. I am a power user myself. And I use that all the time. Uh, we're trying to be signed for people that are just not going to accept going down that route. And who wants someone to take care of the security of their assets on their behalf?

And this has been sort of taboo in the blockchain development. World, because it could break, uh, like those principles in, in like, uh, according to many, like you couldn't, uh, transition to assist them where you were holding assets on behalf of fathers. [00:23:00] Uh, where you were not a censorship resistant among other things.

Uh, we're actually also going to be working, uh, with gateway CA and mail checks because we want to be working with, uh, payment processing, uh, partners. And, uh, I guess, uh, that's a bit of a tipping point from where we were a few years ago, where it was sort of some sort of different hurdles. Um, aside from this, I guess to some extent, building community in blockchain is done somewhat differently.

You have to be able to take advantage of different ways to incentivize actors. Um, and I guess, uh, that's another thing that we have going on and the game companies, uh, ask for help. 

[00:23:50] Jeremy: Yeah, right. Incentive design and, and, and, and driving the different kind of network dimensions that exist there. Um, it's uh, yeah, it's been [00:24:00] interesting.

I mean, we, we work, uh, we work with dapper labs and they're trying to create a scalable model across a lot of different types of content creators for their, you know, forms of digital collectables and, and, and, and things. And I think they also had the insight. You know, and FTS, but with a user experience that makes it really, really seamless for people to get into those markets and access them with a high fidelity experience.

And, but taking on some of those things like KYC and taking off. Some of the things that are needed to do these in a compliant way, but, but really making it accessible. And we've seen that repeated with, with other major sports leagues, like the MLB and others where their partners are are, are, are building similarly.

Um, so it'd be interesting to see in particular. Games, you know, whether that becomes the norm. Right. Does, does that quality of, of experience become the norm, um, versus, you know, [00:25:00] something that is entirely just re requires like power users to get into the sort of more full, um, self sovereign, um, you know, infrastructure kind of, kind of side of it.

Um, obviously we'll see, um, uh, those 

[00:25:15] Ari: are going to be, they're going to be like, Um, projects like the central end, where there's no place for, uh, like custodian and, and projects, like big time where we may be able to reach a wider audience. Uh, but we do that at the expense of, uh, Some let's say that they're regular, the traditional principles of watching technology.

[00:25:46] Jeremy: Yeah. But I guess part of the promise of this though, is. At the core of your architecture, our blockchains, and the core of your architecture, our NFTs, and at the core of that is the promise of exchange ability, [00:26:00] interoperability, and the ability to actually ultimately kind of have people move things in that way.

And so, um, I mean, it is ultimately about, you know, people having those kinds of experiences. Um, I'm curious on that note, like how you see the market structure evolving. Around some of this, we have obviously like NFT markets. It seems like everyone's trying to launch an NFD market. Um, uh, you know, some are very, very property or, or kind of brand franchise specific in summer, you know, the proverbial like eBay or YouTube of, of NFTs.

And, um, and, and, and so clearly, like there are people taking a crack at that, but how do you see the market structure evolve? For NFTs. I mean, you see exchanges launching NFT markets and, and, you know, we'll mainstream and users be like going to like a, a giant exchange. That's got like derivatives and options and futures and all kinds of stuff to, to go [00:27:00] work with their NFTs or will they be looking for something that's, you know, a little bit more tailored to content oriented experiences?

Like how do you see that market structure evolving? 

[00:27:10] Ari: Yeah, I think as the market grows. There's room and demand for more specialized or more vertical, specific marketplaces. Um, they NFT marketplaces that exist. Now are the ones that are popular are usually focused on digital art. Yeah. Um, there are going to be others that are focused on music and FTS.

That's going to be a pretty big trend. And in the past year or two, we've seen a lot more popularity among the virtual world slash metaverse slash lurching games category. Um, that's a completely different, uh, use case. Um, I'm not such a big fan of, uh, Digital arts, for example, I mean, I've collect some, uh, [00:28:00] uh, I'm a lot more into gaming.

Um, there probably a lot. I mean, just as you see, there are a lot more gamers than there are art collectors. And even though NFTs are making, uh, art collecting a lot more accessible, probably the, the market and the need that the markets for, uh, gaming is probably a lot larger and the needs of those people are completely different.

In our case, specifically, we architects. Um, our systems so that the NFTs could be inside of the game or inside of the marketplace, but I'll play us requiring the wallet. Uh, whereas the way most existing market business are structured right now, usually you see the wallet or if they are in the, um, in decentralized infrastructure of, uh, in marketplace.

Like violences or FTX, uh, you will need to connect that to the backend of the game. So I'm not sure how that would be done unless they open up some APIs. Uh, but yeah, we built this, [00:29:00] uh, with game developers in mind so that it would be easier for them to mint the inequities and make them accessible to users, uh, as they play the game.

[00:29:11] Thor: Yeah. 

[00:29:13] Jeremy: That makes sense. I think, um, it's obviously, it's just fascinating to see, um, you know, the, the, the relationship between various specific platforms that are, that are, you know, where the NMT content is, is tied to a specific specific application, whether it be a game or, or an artist or, or what have you, and then general purpose markets, um, uh, you know, it's.

No, it it's, it's, it's fascinating. How, how, how within, in, within big time and, and, and what you're working on releasing in the spring, um, are there, are there token mechanics that are, that are kind of key to the game itself? Um, we had, uh, I had, um, [00:30:00] Michael from star Atlas on an episode, uh, recently, and they've made sort of the, the governance tokens and.

And, and, and then NFT, they have like a kind of multi token economy kind of structure to it. Um, how, how do you think about tokens in the context of, of, of the game itself beyond NFTs? 

[00:30:21] Ari: Yeah, so we actually design big time our first game, uh, in such a way that you wouldn't really need. Any crypto assets at all?

Um, maybe it's like a quick primer on what the game is. Uh, then we can expand 

[00:30:37] Jeremy: on that. Yeah. Why don't we do that, 

[00:30:40] Thor: sir? Um, so bedtime is a action RPG, kind of a homage to a older games, like Diablo two, um, where it's all about. Killing monsters getting loots and then using that route to kill bigger monsters.

And that's the core compulsion loop. So what we did is we augmented [00:31:00] that driving to formula within a piece, um, where some of the drops that come out of that are super rare, limited edition. Cool. Um, and to get around a lot of the problems that we saw, like in the boat three with our auction house, to the buckle, we drew a hard line and we said, okay, we're going to have game based items.

And then we're going to have cosmetic items. And these two she'll never meet, uh, all the NFTs or the cosmetic items. That way you're never in a situation where you have a pay to win game where people can just come in with their wallet. Unfair advantage over the non-paying players. What they, what they can do is they can come in and they can really deck out their character and make them look really cool.

So what we did is we created an arbitrage between people that have more money than time and people that have more time than money. Um, that way one side can keep grinding away, um, spending their time and then the other side, and they they're busy all week long with their job. Come in and go, oh, He used to [00:32:00] love to play these video games.

But now I don't have enough time because my job, my family, whatever. So instead they can bust out their wallet and equal the playing field and buy up the items that they would normally have had to grind and grind to see if they could get them. And that's where the marketplace comes in, um, that allows them to find the stuff they want and do it in such a fashion that it doesn't require.

Um, huge amounts of technical know-how, uh, to get in and get things done. Um, that's the core of what we're doing. And then, uh, we've augmented that beyond that core model, um, with some really cool innovations, um, in the rate tokens work, um, and also, um, thinking about guilt as a first order, part of all this.

One of the interesting evolutions that we've seen is, uh, guilds forming for games that I haven't even launched yet. Um, and figuring out their strategies about how they're going to play [00:33:00] these games to their benefit. Um, so it's really caused us to take guilds from kind of the backend of our roadmap to the front end of our roadmap and say, oh, It's really a community first kind of development here, um, which worked really well with what we're doing as far as launching an early access product.

Um, cause that's all about community building. It's all about getting people involved in the earliest stages of game development so that they're, you know, a co-developer with you. They're a partner they're telling you, Hey, these are the things that we liked. These are the things we want to try. Um, so we're really excited to be getting to the point now where we're going to be opening the doors early next.

Um, to our community development progress. 

[00:33:43] Jeremy: It is, it is fascinating to watch that the, the, you know, the fact that these are, you know, community-based and there's game economies and people are investing literally, uh, you know, that their time and money in the participation phase of, of game creation. It's, it's amazing.

[00:34:00] Um, and, uh, It's very, very different than anything I've ever seen. Um, uh, as well. Um, now that that's awesome. Um, if, you know, if, if, if you had to kind of, you know, kind of stepping back again and you know, you've been through, uh, you know, Some evolution here in the, in the blockchain space. Um, and, and in this space, um, and you look at sort of, you know, as, as a technologist and entrepreneur, I like to think about like convergent trends, right?

Like, what are the things that are, you can kind of see are happening that are out on the horizon, which maybe in a few years are going to be. You know, more viable or, or adopted, um, you know, what do you see looking out, um, w you know, convergent, do you see convergence with new, um, you know, surface surfaces that people are interacting with?

You know, whether it be VR, AR. Um, or, or [00:35:00] in, in, in the kind of fundamental economies and how these economies developed or the markets develop, um, you know, obviously at the end of the day, right? Part of your thesis is just great gameplay and great user experience is what people care about. Right. Um, but w when, when you think about the, the unlocks that are happening, technologically.

Um, and the kind of surfaces that people have to work with. What, what do you envision, um, you know, two, three years or three or four years from now, 

[00:35:29] Thor: the really big disruptive, uh, factor coming in everywhere is machine learning and advanced AI, um, where instead of having to program computers, we're teaching computers, um, and.

I think a lot of people in games haven't even started to think about how that's going to impact games. Um, but it's going to fundamentally change the way we build games and that's happening now. Um, and certainly going to be happening in the very near [00:36:00] future in, in big ways that really shake things up.

Um, and not too many people. Uh, out there chatting about that. Um, but there's actually, um, a lot of that starting to happen around the fringes. So that's the biggest one. 

[00:36:14] Jeremy: What are some examples of, you know, how, how you see that being dramatically disruptive to the way games are developed 

[00:36:24] Thor: or experienced?

Yeah. I'll give you a good example. Um, I mean the animation side of games, um, we started off. Uh, key frame animation that we brought in from the 2d industry like Disney, um, and then that developed into motion capture, um, where the 2d animator, um, got displaced by the motion capture technology, um, to a large degree.

Um, what we're going to see now is where, um, you have game observation capture instead of motion capture, um, where instead of having to have [00:37:00] someone come in and key frame them, These character animations. Um, they're going to learn from watching people play games, and then you're just going to be able to say, oh, I'd like a character who moves like this, and that's an animation, something like this.

Um, and not only is it a huge cost savings, but it's an amazing creative savings where, you know, no longer is your, uh, development cycle so long that it's really hard to try out new things. Um, So we're going to see a lot of cool stuff like that. On the animation side, we'll see similar things, um, actually where you have 

[00:37:36] Ari: instead of 

[00:37:37] Thor: programming a character to act the way you want, you'll have someone come in and role play, and then you'll teach the machine from that.

And then you'll get really interesting behavior where it feels much more like you're playing against real people than playing against, um, some adversary that just acts exactly a designer, um, plotted them out to be.[00:38:00] 

[00:38:00] Ari: And another thing that I've already touched upon, I think is. And if T singing games, uh, accelerating this trend of technology, making opportunity more widely available, regardless of, uh, where you are geographically, like that's been a trend in the past few years. That's like the developing world gets more and more, uh, smart devices in their hands.

Uh, as I said earlier, like I think this is something that actually has proved out, you know, at some point a lot of people. Didn't, they didn't have a source of income and you look up and you're looking to the internet for opportunity. And the fact that you have this huge game economies where people are pouring, let's say $150 billion a year.

And the old model was that all the money was going straight to developers, but now, uh, transferring value among peers or among players is a lot easier. It's only expected that, [00:39:00] um, More of that money is going to flow to people that are not developing games, but rather are looking to find their place in the digital economy.

And 

[00:39:11] Jeremy: the, the, the, the concept of, you know, what's the, uh, internet gaming GDP or whatever, like, you know, an interesting concept, right. Which is one would have never really thought about maybe certain people thought about it, but, you know, it's a real thing, right? How much economic activity exists and it's not just the paying for content, uh, you know, dimension, um, or paying developers or distributors.

It's actually. The whole, the whole economy. Um, well, it's, it's, it's super exciting to see what you guys are doing and we're, we're, uh, we're excited to see each incremental step that you're taking. Um, and, and the milestones that you're hitting right now. And, um, we'll be, you know, watching super, super closely and, um, and again, really excited to partner with you guys as, as you're [00:40:00] building this.

[00:40:01] Ari: Yeah. Likewise. First thanks for having us here. And we really look forward to lunch in the marketplace. Absolutely. 

[00:40:10] Jeremy: Awesome. Thank you. All right. Awesome.

Ari Meilich
CEO and Co-Founder Big Time Studios, Decentraland
Thor Alexander
Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer Big Time Studios