Interview with Terra Virtua CEO and Co-Founder Gary Bracey
On 30th September I published an article profiling Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT), titled Non-Fungible Tokens… So Hot Right Now. If you missed it, you can read it here. It will provide some background into NFT (aka. digital collectables).
Terra Virtua (TVK) were one of the three projects that I profiled in this article and one that has significant potential for high-speed mainstream adoption. Unlike many projects, Terra Virtua already has major commercial partnerships with several movie studios and artists.
Their token TVK is scheduled to launch in mid-December
About Terra Virtua
Terra Virtua is providing users with a deep sensory experience by taking digital collectables into a multi-platform Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) world with 2D and 3D animation, in a whole ecosystem in which users can engage with and trade.
Terra Virtua has already launched a range of digital collectables for major Movie Franchises such as The Godfather, Top Gun, World War Z, Lost In Space and Pacific Rim with more soon to be announced; Comic Book artists, Nick Percival, known for his work on Judge Dredd, Highlander, Dark Souls, Warhammer and Assassin’s Creed recently provided a range of Halloween digital collectables and they will be adding Music Artists to their range of exclusively licensed digital collectables. Announcements on music artists coming soon!
Legendary Entertainment, owners of Lost In Space, recently tweeted about their newest animated digital collectables being created by Terra Virtua.
It’s great to see partners engaging directly with their consumers in promoting digital collectables.
Similar to how games, merchandise and toys have become an integral part of a movie franchise marketing strategies, digital collectables offer an additional channel for marketing, high-level fan engagement and a potentially lucrative revenue stream.
Following are my notes from a discussion I had with Gary Bracey, CEO and Co-Founder of Terra Virtua.
What is the size of the commercial opportunity for Terra Virtua?
Gary: We don’t see NFT as the target market, which is really a sub-sector of a sub-sector, rather, we are focusing on the whole collectables, fandom and merchandise markets around the major film, comic and music artists, as well as games and sports.
Our mission is to take NFT into the mainstream. To achieve this, we need to focus on two core elements: Awareness and Education.
Awareness will be focused on mainstream adoption amongst an existing fanbase of collectors and fans.
The education element relates to educating about digital collectables, not NFT or blockchain. We need to educate collectors and fans why they should buy a digital representation of something that they can buy in the physical world, and why it may be more valuable.
There will be much less education and resistance amongst the younger demographics who grew up on games, with skins and digital virtual goods. And we expect to experience somewhat more resistance and take more time with the older less tech-native collectors and fans.
Author’s Note: According to MarketResearch.com the Global Animation Collectibles Market along is forecast to reach $6.7 Billion by 2027
Can you explain more about educating collectors on digital collectables?
Gary: We see two main components to education in regards to digital collectables:
● Digital Collectibles, as an NFT, authenticates the rarity of the item.
- Unlike in the real world where a collector may believe they are buying a certified/authenticated 1/100 item, but there is no way to verify this.
● Differentiate what digital collectables are and can do compared to the physical item. For example, in Terra Virtua, we provide a whole ecosystem and experience that enables collectables to be brought to life in 2D, 3D, animation and in AR or VR environments.
It’s important to understand that we are not looking to compete with or replace physical collectables. We want to compliment them, not cannibalise them.
“We believe that digital collectables will provide a much richer level of engagement”
Who do you see buying digital collectables?
Gary: Firstly, our digital collectables are developed under license from major film franchises and well-known artists. They are an extension of these well-known and marketed brands that already have a significant fanbase. Developing digital collectables under license enables us to take NFTs out of the blockchain ecosystem and into the mainstream as part of a much larger and established market of collectables and merchandise. This is a market with an annual turnover in the billions.
There are two market places and audiences for what we are doing:
● Collectables: These are purchased by collectors. They may pursue just one digital collectable or they may collect whole sets. Some purchase them as an investment, knowing that in the future they will make a profit on their rarity. So they are happy to pay more. This is their behaviour now with collectables and we see this translating directly into digital collectables.
● Merchandise: Fans love merchandise. They may not wish to pay a premium that a collector will pay for a limited edition, but they are definitely excited to buy a non-limited edition or replica version.
We are starting with the collectables market and over time, introducing an option for a range of merchandise to complement these collectables and service both markets.
In essence, both digital collectables may look the same, but the differences designed into the collectables can be significant, such as the functionality or engagement levels within the ecosystem. They are both NFTs, which enables buyers to know if it’s a limited-edition collectable or merchandise, which is not too dissimilar to how it works in the physical world.
Can you share some insights on collector’s versus fans just wanting merchandise?
Gary: Collectors tend to collect. They rarely buy just the one item or buy only once, but rather like to collect several pieces within a collection. And many are willing to pay a little more for limited editions.
We offer both stand-alone digital collectables, such as our Halloween pieces created by Nick Percival, as well as complete collections such as Lost in Space.
Each digital collectable has their own unique actions and animation, and we are also exploring enabling additional unique animation and features that only come to life when items are part of a collection. This will increase engagement and discoverability within our ecosystem and also offers something that cannot be experienced with physical collectables.
Will Terra Virtua enable mods* to create their own FanCave and ecosystems?
Gary: Interacting with our community enables modifying with feedback immediately. Mods go several stages further then community feedback. Mods can create content themselves with the Terra Virtua ecosystem. We have a roadmap that incorporates this level of engagement and contribution. However, it’s not an immediate thing. As many of our team have all come from gaming we do have this on our radar for the future.
It’s all about engagement. We will provide the tools to promote engagement.
*Author’s Note: A mod is an alteration made by players or fans usually of a video game that changes one or more aspects of a game and the environment, such as how it looks or behaves.
Do you see digital collectables being an integral part of a Franchise’s branding and business strategies?
Gary: In regards to film licensing into gaming, I was involved with the licensing for Robocop, which changed everything. It was the first 1M unit selling game and it totally changed the landscape where movie companies realised that they can earn revenue from another genre.
We also did Batman and Jurassic Park which opened up video games as a major profit centre for licenses and in particular movie studies. It is very early days but I see the exact same opportunity with digital collectables.
In the last 6 months, there’s been a lot of hype in the NFT category. What separates Terra Virtua from the others.
Gary: As I mentioned earlier, Terra Virtua is after the mainstream market and developing digital collectables under license from major film franchises and artists. So we are targeting this existing collector and fanbase.
There is a science behind licensing and making a product from that licensing. We work very closely with our partners and we understand the process involved, especially where approvals come into play. We instinctively set the bar high in regards to the quality and integrity of the products we are making, as well as the ecosystem in which they exist.
What are the benefits for early adopters?
Gary: Currently, the market is small. Buying an item that is a limited edition 1/100, even in a small market, it has a fair market price. Over time as the market size grows, that 1/100 becomes more valuable as it becomes rarer within the context of the market size; especially as digital collectables become mainstream.
Also, the value can be impacted by the license itself becoming bigger, such as how Lost In Space has a growing cult following. This further increases the value of limited editions.
How will fans buy Digital Collectible if they are not crypto-savvy?
“A part of this education is also ensuring that their user experience to attain these digital collectables aligns with their current digital experiences.”
Gary: We are from the consumer mass market. We realised, when we looked at the NFT landscape, how difficult onboarding is for the general public who know nothing about blockchain. So, we avoid talking about blockchain unless it relates to security and authenticity.
We knew we had to make the user experience as frictionless as possible and replicate the user experience seen with mainstream sites such as Amazon. When you buy your first digital collectable, we create a wallet for you. If you are a crypto native you can still use MetaMask and buy in crypto, but if you’re not, you don’t have to. We take care of all of that behind the scenes.
This is key to our mainstream philosophy; it’s not just the product, but also the process of how to interact, buy and sell your digital collectables that are key. The user experience is fundamental and critical, and it will continue to evolve and improve as we go more mainstream.
Can you share an example of how a music artist can leverage digital collectables?
Gary: If you go to a concert or festival in a specific location, anyone in that location can be airdropped and receive a digital collectable, or get access to a digital collectable. It would be exclusive; a limited edition to people only at that concert on that date, and promoted as a rarity, as well as the experience of acquiring them.
How has COVID affected you
Gary: One of the spin-offs of COVID is that movie companies have been affected badly, so they are more enthusiastic to look at new avenues to promote and new revenue streams.
I am sure that digital collectables will become part of their marketing process in time because it helps market the movie or artist as it is so immediate.
Fortunately, COVID hasn’t affected our team or timelines too much.
What do you see as the ‘tipping point’, or FOMO point for mass adoption?
Gary: The challenge is how to get companies to understand the value of what we’re doing and also to educate them that users are likely to pay more for an NFT generated digital collectable than for physical goods. We are still at a stage that requires a leap of faith, as it’s a whole new world to explore. But like gaming back when it started, this opportunity is huge. Once adoption starts, it will accelerate and we will see more franchises coming on board and more collectors adding digital collectables to their collections.
Anything else that you’d like to share that I didn’t ask?
Gary: Yes, our team. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by the talent to help me realise we can do this. The quality of our team and the diversity, experiences and expertise of our team is unparalleled.
Many of our team, myself included, have come from the gaming world where we worked with major studios on licensing. We are all in this for the long haul. The management team vesting period is 2–3 years, so all decisions are long term strategic, not short term token price. Same with investors. All have vesting periods and a gradual release of tokens.
It’s also an opportunity to build a legacy. I’m of an age now where I’d like to leave a legacy. I think that in Terra Virtua, we are building an opportunity to disrupt and change business and how users interact with the movies, music, art, games, even the sports teams they love. It’s a whole new world, and that is truly exciting.
Terra Virtua Details:
Terra Virtua token: TVK
TVK is scheduled to launch in mid-December
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Disclaimer: My research and articles are for educational and information purposes only. My views are my own. This is not investment advice.