Letter to our Community
“Whenever I saw the sun, I reminded myself that I was looking at a star. One of over a hundred billion in our galaxy. A galaxy that was just one of billions of other galaxies in the observable universe. This helped me keep things in perspective.”
– Ernst Cline, Ready Player One
To our beloved community,
In September 2017, we embarked on a journey to solve the game companies’ most dire problem: to acquire, retain and upsell gamers in a cost-efficient manner. We started as a mobile-focused game advertising platform that measured gameplay time, enabling us to introduce a mutually aligned advertising model, Cost Per Installation and Play (“CPIP”). If the gamer did not download and play a designated amount of time, then we would not make a cent. While this was not a novel concept, combining CPIP with user incentives through token economics was.
We wanted to differentiate ourselves in the fundraising market by being a product ready ICO. If our goal was purely to just fundraise, then in hindsight, this decision could be viewed as regrettable. However, our goal isn’t just to fundraise, our goal is to create a game-changing platform (no pun intended) that would be at the forefront of revolutionizing the gaming industry.
In June 2018, we finished the pilot test of PLACTAL PLAY, our consumer facing mobile application where gamers would be compensated for simply playing games. The purpose of the pilot test was to validate our hypothesis that with the right gamer incentives, game advertisements (in the form of game recommendations) would be positively accepted. We were proud that the initial data suggested that our hypothesis was correct, but even more alarming was the amount of traffic and Telegram discussion centered around the PLACTAL Leaderboard. Admittedly this was a feature we did not invest much time into nor cared too much about for the purposes of the test.
Our pilot test Telegram room transformed from being suggestive about our product to competitive about how to move up the leaderboard. Testers were sharing their theories on how the ranking system worked and how they can “level up.” They would also spend a meaningful amount of time trying to match the identity of gamer A in PLACTAL PLAY with the person in the Telegram room. Some would reveal their identity and most would not. The excitement was visible and tangible among the gamers. PLACTAL PLAY transitioned from being a token balance wallet to being a gamified application.
Based on the pilot test and the proceeding discussions with our tests, we formed two conclusions:
(1) Gamers take a lot of pride in their gamer identity and prefer to keep their real identities independent from their virtual life
(2) Gamers are innately competitive and attention seeking
Immediately after making these conclusions, a light bulb went off and we went to the drawing board to integrate our findings with our original business concept. The combination, we believe, is tremendously powerful and needed in the gaming ecosystem. We are pleased and excited to introduce this evolved concept to you in this letter.
If before, we were a platform focused on appeasing game companies, we are now a platform focused on putting gamers first. We believe we can effectively address the aforementioned problems of the industry with this approach while driving excitement and engagement of our users.
Without further ado, we introduce PlayerOne Protocol: a decentralized gamer identity platform.
We are creating an identity standard for the game industry. The ID will be interoperable across all platforms and games while having functionality specific to gamers. Gamers will be able to sign up, login, keep track of their own stats across all platforms and games. Think of Facebook login with gamer specific attributes.
Many industry players have attempted to create a consolidated identity system but have failed. Failure stems from mistrust. A player’s ID contains valuable information (demographics, behavioral data, gaming history, spending data) that industry players do not want to share with each other. Mistrust equals fragmentation and prevents interoperability, convenience, immutability and functionality.
PlayerOne will utilize the blockchain to create a trustless system for valuable data to be stored. This is the only way for industry participants to entrust a third party with valuable gamer data. The blockchain not only enables data to be entrusted, but the data is now immutable. In other words, a gamer’s identity or life can now be continuous and permanent. For gamers, their ID represents a second life. According to Dr. Nick Yee of Stanford University in his PhD dissertation, the gamer’s identity is achievement, relationships and immersion into a virtual world. In other words, the gamer’s identity has shades of deeper meaning beyond being a nicknameIf we were to just create a sign up and login system, PlayerOne really would be no different from social logins such as Facebook and Google. Social logins provide convenience but fail miserably at providing vertical specific functionality. Vertical specificity enables engagement. Think YouTube vs. Twitch and chat applications vs. Discord.
Where Facebook and Google lack, PlayerOne will differentiate. With a gamer ID, PlayerOne will create a competitive environment where gamers can compare, challenge and recruit based on a gamer’s ranking. The leaderboard will be completely customizable by the player and/or skill. For example, a user would be able to create a leaderboard by high school, company, city, etc. This is based on two concepts: individuals are driven to have accurate self-evaluations and individuals in intermediate ranks are less competitive than those in the top and bottom. This was evidenced in our Pilot test, validated by services such as OP.GG and FaceIt and formalized by Dr. Leon Festinger’s Social Comparison Theory.
Ultimately, we at PlayerOne ask, can we motivate and improve a gamer’s skill and status through our identity platform? This fundamental question serves as the basis for our vision: PlayerOne believes anyone can be a star and will create a platform that produces stars. A star doesn’t mean global recognition. Instead, a star can be within a circle of friends, school, a community, etc.
IDs are not only functional for gamers but also for the entire game industry. We recently met with KeSPA (Korea e-Sports Association) and learned that the tournament application process is an extremely tedious process. An applicant’s skill level needs to be confirmed and identity needs to be matched with multiple organizations, companies and individuals. GenG, the owners of multiple competitive eSports teams and also founded by Kabam co-founder Kevin Chou, also expressed the excruciating pain in finding quality players to recruit for their developmental team. If a game ID protocol existed, this would save tremendous amount of time and money for the association and companies like GenG. For developers/publishers, our identity protocol enables gamer classification (whale vs. minnow, hard core gamer vs. casual gamer, etc.). Classification enables targeting and targeting enables efficient use of marketing dollars. At the end of the day, one of our goals is for game companies to compete purely on who makes a better game, NOT who has a larger marketing budget.
We’ve lightly touched upon the basic concepts and use cases of PlayerOne and will provide more updates on details in the coming weeks and months, but wanted to transition over to our timeline. In conjunction with this letter, we will be launching the first version of the website. In mid to end of September, we will be launching a PR and bounty Campaign titled “What is your gamer ID?” Our white paper will be released shortly thereafter. In October, the public will have the opportunity to reserve his/her own PlayerOneID in anticipation of the launch of our service.
This shift would not be possible without the patience from you all. On behalf of PlayerOne, we wanted to sincerely thank you all for taking a vested interest in us and being patient.
At PlayerOne, we are all excited about this new shift and the reaction from our potential partners and investors have been fantastic. We look forward to continue updating you with the latest and the greatest and if at any point you have any questions, feel free to ping us on Telegram.
Millions of Games, One ID