Here’s How Cryptocurrency Will Disrupt Southeast Asia’s Gaming Oligopoly
Originally published at www.forbes.com on October 10, 2017.
The mobile games market is on fire. In 2017 alone, 1.14 billion gamers in Asia Pacific are set to generate $51.2 billion for the industry, an impressive 47% of the overall market. Southeast Asia is ripe for mobile games developers, thanks to increased mobile penetration and a high level of engagement amongst local players.
Even though the gaming industry is experiencing positive growth, it faces a few key issues to its continued success. The industry has started to become more and more of an oligopoly with the top 10 game companies dominating more than half of the global revenue. New game studios are finding it hard to access funding and resources to launch their new games to exploit this growing market.
Managing the end-to-end process of mobile game development — from localization to distribution — is a challenge for any developer who’s just starting out or unfamiliar with the region. For example, the competitive nature of the industry at present means game studios must pay high fees to marketing platforms to market their games.
“Cryptocurrencies can transform how payments are made within the massive gaming industry”, says Kin-Wai Lau, CEO of iCandy Interactive.
Nitro is a new blockchain-based platform which seeks to democratize the gaming industry by making it easy for users to participate in the video-game economy.
By participating in this blockchain-based platform, promising game studios can gain access to alternative funding options rather than participating in traditional funding methods. At the same time, these studios will be able to connect with gamers earlier on in the cycle. Gamers having interactions with game-makers earlier in the production process will greatly improve the quality and variety of games produced.
The tech-friendly nature of gamers makes them ideal early adopters to blockchain technology. Gamers and game developers are more likely to understand and see the potential that a platform bound by a crypto-currency can provide, allowing them to fully participate in an integrated gaming economy.
The Nitro cryptocurrency token is based on the Ethereum platform and will enable token-holders to participate in the video game economy by voting for the new games they want to provide funding for. The platform will also be used for engaging with game producers and promoters in the games marketplace, using NOX tokens for in-game items/currency. Finally, game-titles funded by Nitro will share a portion of their revenue with Nitro and NOX holders stand to receive rewards for participation and contribution to the Nitro network. In turn, gamers will be incentivized directly by game studios to try out the new games with perks.
There will be up to 60 million NOX available for sale, raising up to 75,000 Ethereum (ETH), which carries a value of approximately $20million at today’s prevailing Ethereum price.
Nitro is the first blockchain-based cryptocurrency project in the world backed by a publicly traded company on an internationally recognized stock exchange, according to Nitro’s Whitepaper. Nitro’s partnership is with Southeast Asian mobile entertainment group, iCandy Interactive Limited. The ASX-listed company is the first to unite game studios in a group collaboration system in Southeast Asia — currently, no other mobile gaming authority is attempting to consolidate the ecosystem and link across markets in the region. The endorsement from iCandy Interactive is important given the group’s clout in Southeast Asia and in the mobile entertainment industry.
“iCandy Interactive believes that the Nitro project will be an important game-changer to the video-games industry. Nitro will connect the fragmented and disconnected value chain of the industry, envisioning an inclusive and holistic platform, where all parties are able to contribute to and benefit from the growth of the video-games economy” says Lau.
In line with the mobile games market boom, Southeast Asia is rife with opportunity. The fastest growth in the area comes from emerging markets such as the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Thanks to the recent prevalence of internet access and smartphone penetration, these markets are experiencing dramatic growth in the number of gamers, making them prime pockets of potential.