Interview with PlayHall CEO
Hello, Eugen! Please, tell us about what your life was like before PlayHall. Which university did you get your degree at? What interests do you have?
Hello! I got my BA in automated information-processing systems, with honors, at The Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics, Minsk. After that, I received my Master’s in technology and then began my PhD studies there.
In 2008, I founded an outsourcing company for developing computer software called EKA-Soft. As the company grew, we had to spend more and more time on administrative work, taking away from the time we could spend doing product-related work. That’s when I started losing interest in business. Seven years later, I sold the company, and turned my full attention to IT products and startups.
I spearheaded the Startup Grind (Google) international startup movement in Minsk. I was investing in startups, visiting international IT conferences, and adding to my business contacts. It was about a year ago, at one of the game conferences in London, when I was first introduced to the intellectual game platform. There, in London, we created a team right away, the same team which is still in charge of PlayHall.
Before PlayHall, you had other projects, and most of them proved to be fairly successful. Could you please tell us more about how they were carried out and also the approach you employ toward implementing large projects, which helps you to succeed?
Making a quality product is always my top priority, and I love to work at rapid pace and at full capacity. I am lucky that all my colleagues ー both as early as the projects I’d worked on before, which are still continuing to progress steadily without my supervision, and my current team at PlayHall ー support this approach. The secret is to attract inspired and energetic people to your project.
My previous projects have helped me master a number of management tools, such as a goal-setting and implementation monitoring system, financial planning, and a highly structured communication system. These things help utilize resources more efficiently, avoid unnecessary actions, and succeed in meeting deadlines.
It is critical to remain inspired in order to achieve the best results and believe in your mission, meanwhile stoking the fighting spirit of your staff members and partners by providing the right encouraging feedback.
The mobile game industry does not have a lot in common with your previous projects. How did you come up with the PlayHall idea? Was it like an epiphany or did you come up with the idea that the gaming niche was missing this type of platform step by step, before deciding to take the lead in creating such platform?
The PlayHall idea came to me at the ICE Totally Gaming conference in London, where the first vision of the platform was presented. We came up with the idea that there is something the esports industry was missing. For instance, if you play shooters, what counts most is pretty much your reflexes and muscle memory and a relatively low level of reactiveness to other players’ actions. If your favorite genre is strategy, there is certain room for creativity to play a role, but many things are still mere, mathematically verified algorithms and the largest possible number of precise mouse clicks. There is no room for an intellectual challenge.
We analyzed the market and came to the conclusion that the intellectual games niche, where the results depend on people’s minds and skills, was virtually untapped. That’s when we realized it was time to act.
Later on, we coined the term Smart Gaming, because with the development of the blockchain and decentralized platform systems, standard server software solutions, which are used in online Skill Gaming, are no longer very relevant.
Could you please describe in a few words, why is it that the mobile games industry has such a need for platforms like PlayHall?
I believe that people should monetize their time and skills, and the platforms that are currently out there do not provide this opportunity. In addition, there is a huge market for people who hold cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency is mostly used as a means of accumulation, but people are not aware of how promising effective management of the these crypto assets is . Let’s say you’re a good chess player: with us, you will be able to win cryptocurrency in chess matches. Cryptocurrency is what young, forward-thinking, tech-savvy people use to play games and take risks. Cryptocurrency, as an element of our platform, is a convenient tool for monetizing your abilities.
Who is the project’s target audience? What are the fundamental problems that the target audience is currently facing, which the platform can solve?
The existing platform users are people playing intellectual games without being able to monetize their skills, with the exception of a limited prize system. We, however, introduce a tool to reward users for their abilities demonstrated during the game. Our users are also holders of cryptocurrency, who are looking for ways to use it in their everyday lives as well as, possibly, a way to multiply it.
Today, there are a lot of projects out there that feature Token Sales. What is it that qualitatively distinguishes your project? Which ingredient, so to speak, or which component, do you believe, will lead your project to success?
A unique feature of PlayHall is that it combines popular multiplayer Smart Gaming and gives players from all over the world the opportunity to compete and win cryptocurrency, as well as our PHT tokens. The constantly increasing popularity of the games on the platform will feature an increase in the number of players on it.
Our team comprises not only professional marketers and people skilled at starting business and making them profitable, but also excellent specialists in the gaming field as well as in blockchains. We offer an extraordinary concept and idea, together with the perfect technical solution, owing much to the work of our outstanding developers.
The platform is already running in demo mode. Anyone can test out the convenience and the potential it offers. We are not doing the Token Sale in order to learn the audience’s opinion of the concept, but rather to speed up the release of the final version of the product, which the players have an interest in already. We are not collecting funds to developing the product from scratch — but only for the purpose of developing and scaling the already existing project.
Another feature is the fact that we are bringing a project into fruition that meets the needs of both players and game developers. We provide the opportunity for more efficient monetization of their Free-To-Play games.
What obstacles would you say that are you facing? What are some roadblocks you have to confront? What could potentially hamper further development of the project? What were the difficulties you have you already managed to overcome?
Our brilliant team is working on the creation of an awesome product. I am confident in our success. The only thing that could cause us trouble is something on a global scale, which we couldn’t even currently imagine, but something which could trigger the loss of people’s interest in cryptocurrency.
What will be your first steps after receiving financing as result of the successful Token Sales?
Most of the funds we raise will be spent on marketing and increasing coverage of the target audience. In addition to that, we will work on further development of the technical aspects of the platform and hire some of the world’s best specialists to work on our team. You can find more details on this in our Road Map.
Are there any long-term ideas or plans for the project’s development, which have not yet been reflected on the website or the project’s White Paper?
We have our schedule planned for two years in advance. It is ambitious and transparent. Of course, we do have a lot of other ideas for the project’s development that are currently being thoroughly examined. Once they are worked out, we will post them online and add them to the Road Map. We are constantly devising new ideas and discussing prospects with the gaming and blockchain community. We really appreciate your feedback ー we get a lot of benefit from public opinions and suggestions!
What would you say is the finish line? What must the project achieve in order for you to be able to say “mission complete”?
The popularity of smart games and cryptocurrency will keep on growing even more rapidly than it is now. Therefore, PlayHall will continue to operate and develop as long as the Earth is spinning. By the end of 2019, we will have ported at least 200 games.
Do you have any other projects aside from PlayHall that you are currently involved in? What type are they and how successful are they?
Currently, I am entirely and fully involved only in the PlayHall project and dedicate all my working hours to it, and more.
I am also engaged in non-commercial activities aimed toward advancing product-oriented IT ecosystem in my country. As I have mentioned before, I am the head and lead moderator of the Startup Grind Minsk (Google). Every two months, I invite successful IT entrepreneurs for an interview at the studio. More than 200 people visit each event. I pay particular attention to the questions asked by the audience and conduct further networking. I believe that my events are the most successful country-wide in terms of the audience’s involvement in communication with the invited guest and networking. I already know several startups that were established and strengthened thanks to these events: entrepreneurs were able to find partners, investors, mentors, and employees. There is no doubt that this contributes to the development of the business environment in our industry. Moreover, I am a co-founder of a young, just recently founded non-commercial Business Angels organization in Belarus called Angels Band. It has the same goal ー the development of product-oriented IT and startups in Belarus, which is already famous worldwide for such successful projects as MSQRD, Viber, Apalon, World of Tanks, and many others.
Is PlayHall your “pride and joy”? You are not going to leave the team after achieving the major goals of the platform, are you?
PlayHall is certainly my pride and joy! I am going to grow it and participate in its further development. We are excited to be standing on the ground floor of an emerging type of gaming ー Smart Gaming, which will focus on strengthening the global gaming community. We believe that millions of people will play on the PlayHall platform. And we know how to make that happen.