Competitiveness in the digital age- how ready is Play2Live? (Part 1)

Play2Live is a start-up in the gaming and eSports streaming arena. It has successfully completed an ICO, raising its hard cap of $30 million. So, it has the funds to convert its technical ideas into reality and a beta version is due in July 2018. Its whitepaper predicts 10 million monthly active users (MAU) by the end of its first year of operation and doubling in the second year.

But the question it faces right now is how to break into the market that is dominated by Twitch (owned by Amazon, and with more than 100 million MAU) and YouTube (owned by Google). Facebook Live and Microsoft’s Mixer are rapidly gaining traction. Steam is the distribution platform owned by Valve, the developer of multiple games, including Dota 2. In August 2017, Steam had over 67 million MAU and 33 million daily active users, and, by January 2018, it had 150 million registered accounts.

Is there a place for a new player in the market? And what techniques can be used to break in?

We will look at this question in 4 articles. This one, Part 1, will look at how well Play2Live meets the traditional recommendations for breaking into saturated markets.

Traditional “top tips” on how to find room in a saturated market.

One piece of advice from Entrepreneur magazine is, “There’s plenty of room, no matter how crowded the market. You’ll just have to use your elbows.” This means that if you have a great idea and a brilliant business plan you might be successful if you add plenty of chutzpah and have no fear of playing with the big boys!

There is a number of sources giving advice: “Three ways for a start-up to break into a saturated market”; “Five ways to penetrate an already saturated market”; “How to succeed in an over-saturated market”; “Saturation means there’s strong demand” ……. In fact, Google Search turned up 856 000 responses to the question.

The typical tips include:

1. Stay on top of and capitalize on trends

2. Find or create a niche and dominate it. Clearly differentiate your business from the competition

3. Solve problems within the industry — find out what customers are complaining about, and fix it

4. Offer something better than the competition

5. Add value — what rewards and incentives do you offer that the competition doesn’t?

6. Tap into change

All of these tips are probably valid for Play2Live, and it is useful to unpack their business model to highlight how they meet these requirements. Read more about the model here.

How does Play2Live measure up to the requirements?

Stay on top of and capitalize on trends

Play2Live capitalizes on 3 major trends: the growth of demand for video on demand, the growth of gaming and eSports and the move towards blockchain.

Consumers in their droves are moving away from traditional cable or satellite TV broadcasts to video-on-demand (VOD) and over-the-top (OTT) internet services. Live streaming is more and more popular with millennials — 40% are said to have created their own live videos. There are more than 100 million subscribers to Netflix. In fact, there are more subscribers to Netflix in the USA than to the top 6 cable companies combined. Sling TV, which offers “skinny”, limited packages of TV content, has 2.2 million subscribers. The VOD market is predicted to have a value of $61 billion by 2019, which represents a CAGR of 19.4% from 2014.

The gaming industry is also big business and growing. It is predicted to reach $115 billion by 2018 and $130 billion by 2020. Video gaming is the biggest entertainment industry in the world, and eSports viewership has overtaken viewership of traditional sports. Audiences are also growing, with more than 650 million people regularly tuning into Twitch and YouTube. Audiences for single major tournaments are heading towards 50 million, and prize pools are more than double the size of those for major traditional sports such as the US Golf Open.

The list of banks, finance, insurance, health, public and resources sectors moving to decentralized, blockchain-based systems is growing by the day. Play2Live is the first full-blown decentralized streaming platform for gamers and eSports fans. It has a native utility coin (the LUC) which can be used for all transactions on the platform, while also being easily convertible to other cryptocurrencies or to fiat currencies.

Establish a niche and differentiate your product

Blockchain and tokenization are central to the Play2Live business model. They allow for a unique mixture of interactive features, monetization options and security not available on existing streaming platforms.

The interactive features are highly prized by the core millennial community that gaming attracts. The research is clearly showing that this community looks for engagement and connections via social media and they respond best to user-generated content.

So, the platforms that provide the highest level of interaction between viewers and streamers will attract and keep the highest number of millennials. (Read more about this here.)

Solve problems within the industry

Play2Live solves multiple problems, the foremost of these being that participants want to move beyond being passive viewers towards interacting directly with the games and players, with better personalization and more control over a content generation. There is also a call for better monetization of interest and input. Importantly, there is a growing dislike for being bombarded with advertising, with cheating in the games and in the betting around games, and with the risk associated with the trading of skins and in-game digital assets.

Offer something better than the competition/ Add value

While there a numerous projects and platforms offering services for gaming and eSports, each one tends to offer a fairly narrow solution to a particular problem. There really is no single competitor for Play2Live, because it offers such a full suite of services on its platform.

The current top platforms — Twitch and YouTube — are not really competitors because they do not operate on a blockchain, and it would be inordinately expensive for them to change their current systems to include it.

The Play2Live goal is to create an ecosystem where every participant, including the viewer, the streamer and the eSports tournament organizer, is part of an interactive system. Everybody can be part of the peer-to-peer interaction and everybody — even the viewer — can earn money. The platform will have 25 modules, with revenue options from 15 of them for Play2Live, and 11 of them shared with other participants.

Streamers will have 11 revenue options — compared to 5 on current streaming platforms.

Comparison of potential revenue streams for streamers

The Play2Live ecosystem has been set up to create the most favorable conditions for streamers. This includes monetization as shown in the table and also includes the ability for them to alter aspects of the economy to suit themselves and their viewers better — eg choosing subscription fees rates or allocating a percentage of advertising revenue to viewers. This is a vital part of attracting streamers and their viewers from current platforms to Play2Live.

Viewers have 5 revenue streams — including the options to be paid for watching advertisements, for being part of consensus voting, for winnings from the in-built betting and gambling systems and for sharing computer resources via a P2P CDN service.

Play2Live offers high levels of interoperability, encouraging other partners, products and users to join its ecosystem, rather than competing with them. This includes providers of games, skins and in-game items, app developers, major tournament organizers, ticketing systems and bookmakers.

No other platform offers the total gamification option, the crowdfunding and escrow services for organizers, the P2P CDN option or the wide variety of interactivity and income options for streamers and viewers that are available on Play2Live.

In addition, up to 10% of the LUC generated as revenue for Play2Live will be allocated to user rewards, to be distributed to users who are most active on the platform.

All of these benefits to participants are likely to drive the growth of the platform and the value of the LUC token.

Tap into change

Play2 Live is doing more than tapping into change. It is leading the way, with its diversification options into various market segments, including

1. eSports and gaming

2. Betting

3. External items exchange

4. Live and VOD broadcasting of game content

5. Virtual reality

It is also leading the way in growing the number of cryptocurrency users in the world, through its use of the LUC as the medium of exchange on the platform.

It further aims to develop P2P CDN services to cut costs and improve video quality. It will reduce the cost of VOD storage through the better use of decentralized cloud storage technology.

The Play2Live ecosystem has been set up to create the most favorable conditions for streamers. This includes monetization as shown in the table and also includes the ability for them to alter aspects of the economy to suit themselves and their viewers better — eg choosing subscription fees rates or allocating a percentage of advertising revenue to viewers. This is a vital part of attracting streamers and their viewers from current platforms to Play2Live.

Viewers have 5 revenue streams — including the options to be paid for watching advertisements, for being part of consensus voting, for winnings from the in-built betting and gambling systems and for sharing computer resources via a P2P CDN service.

Play2Live offers high levels of interoperability, encouraging other partners, products and users to join its ecosystem, rather than competing with them. This includes providers of games, skins and in-game items, app developers, major tournament organizers, ticketing systems and bookmakers.

No other platform offers the total gamification option, the crowdfunding and escrow services for organizers, the P2P CDN option or the wide variety of interactivity and income options for streamers and viewers that are available on Play2Live.

In addition, up to 10% of the LUC generated as revenue for Play2Live will be allocated to user rewards, to be distributed to users who are most active on the platform.

All of these benefits to participants are likely to drive the growth of the platform and the value of the LUC token.

Tap into change

Play2 Live is doing more than tapping into change. It is leading the way, with its diversification options into various market segments, including

1. eSports and gaming

2. Betting

3. External items exchange

4. Live and VOD broadcasting of game content

5. Virtual reality

It is also leading the way in growing the number of cryptocurrency users in the world, through its use of the LUC as the medium of exchange on the platform.

It further aims to develop P2P CDN services to cut costs and improve video quality. It will reduce the cost of VOD storage through the better use of decentralized cloud storage technology.

What must Play2Live do now to break into the markets?

The benefits of the Play2Live platform are fairly obvious, provided people know about them.

The skill for the team will be to undertake a massive marketing campaign to raise awareness of the upcoming launch. The token sale will have attracted the seed user base. This base can be grown through a streaming service, featuring video broadcasts of gaming and eSports content.

A significant portion of the proceeds from the ICO has been allocated to negotiating exclusive broadcasting rights with popular streamers and with obtaining the rights to broadcast major eSports tournaments. Funds have also been allocated to supporting the first streamers and tournament organizers to the platform.

Details of these activities will be publicized once the beta version is launched in July 2018.

It is clear that by all the measures traditionally applied to evaluate whether a new entrant will be able to break into a busy or saturated market, Play2Live is particularly well-placed.

In part 2 of this series, we will look beyond the traditional approaches and analyze competitor strategy in the digital age, to see how well Play2Live is placed there.

Stay tuned!

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