S
2
—EP
4

Blockstars

Or listen on :
Amazon MusicCastbox

Show Notes:

Podcast Interview with Niko Vuori - Founder & CEO – Blockstars.

Introduction

Welcome to the podcast interview with Niko Vuori, Founder and CEO of Blockstars. In this edition of the Podcast, Jason & Jacob Interview Niko about the game Blockstars, his experience in the industry, advice for builders and what the future holds for both gamers and developers in the web3 space. We hope you enjoy the show. Let's get started!

Tell us more about yourself and Blockstars.

Niko is a serial entrepreneur who has spent his entire life playing video games, mainly management sims. His favorite game is Football Manager.  He has also been creating games for over ten years and worked with Zynga where he was the General Manager of FrontierVille and Zynga Poker. He co-founded the first social casino game with Rocket Games, after leaving Zynga in 2013 which was later sold to Penn National Gaming in 2016, and he co-founded the first voice gaming company, Drive.fm, in 2018. Prior to Zynga, he founded and ran his own venture-backed consumer Internet company, Informifi.com. Niko has an MBA from the Haas School of Business where he focused on Entrepreneurship. Niko Vuori is the founder and CEO of Blockstars.

Niko had this to say about his foray into crypto and web3 gaming space, "We launched a company called Rocket Games that was basically building social casino type experiences and kind of tapping into the free-to-play genre. After we sold the company in 2016, I became obsessed with cryptocurrency. So that's kind of where I got my early insight into space, and I thought then that this is really interesting, like this could be a thing. I can’t really say I was an investor in the space then because speculator is amore appropriate term. I'll be intellectually honest about that, but I was really curious about all these ICOs in the 2016 timeframe.

Then, of course, crypto winter came, but the nugget of like decentralization, the notion of like, you know, this is a platform in waiting on which we can build, you know, because we'd seen that from mobile. We'd seen that from, you know, social networks, and it was, it was very clear even at the time, that this was going to be a thing, but it wasn't yet ready for prime. And so, yeah, fast forward now, you know, a few years, we're at that point where it's getting close to being ready for prime time and a lot of the signs that were there for early Zynga at, you know, the social networking, you know, boom, and then early mobile, A lot of those signs are there".

Blockstars is a music management simulation game, in which players put together bands of musicians called Blockstars, who write, record and release singles, package their greatest hits into albums, go busking and gigging, put in the time and effort to improve their skills, and ultimately work towards the goal of earning enough money to start their own record label. Creating a record label in turn unlocks a whole new game loop in which players sign up & nurture the next generation of Blockstars talent.

What is Blockstars game play?

Gameplay is based on the real-world passage of time, centered around the 24-hour clock. The game is designed and balanced to allow both experienced players as well as complete beginners to compete for spots on the leaderboards, based on a variety of factors that enables competition across many varied play styles (so yes, you can of course still min-max your way to a top spot on one of the leaderboards if that's your jam, but there will be multiple different ways to compete, win and earn).

Winners of limited time events across various categories of competition earn rewards in the form of $ROC, the game's main SPL token on the Solana blockchain. $ROC is used for major game actions (such as minting, buying and selling Blockstars and other in-game NFT assets, as well as determining governance structure), and is being designed to be resilient to inflationary pressures that some other play-to-earn games have experienced through careless economy design. There is a second, in-game utility currency called $ROL that is used day-to-day for basic game actions.

Blockstars is being designed from the ground up to embrace the best of what blockchain technologies enable for gaming: true play-and-earn, true ownership of in-game assets, and a true ownership stake in the future roadmap of Blockstars.

Niko had this to say about what they are building at Blockstars and their approach to game development, "We're taking a slightly different game development approach to what we've done in the past. And again, this is all about being open to what makes the platform unique, not just from what it offers for game development, but also for community building.

You know, the communities on blockchain are fanatical, and you see this not just with the NFT PFP projects, but also with DeFi projects, and, of course, gaming projects, and everything in between. And so what we're doing right now is we're kind of developing the game out in the open. Our initial drop of 10,000 Block Stars happened in February, and we've been building the game pretty steadily since. So last October, when we picked Solana as our blockchain of choice, our approach is kind of this iterative game development approach where we're just constantly releasing new features when they're ready. Again, when you have a new platform, new technology, or new consumer shift, like the MVP, you just have to get it out there quickly and iterate to see what resonates with players."

What are the key benefits of owning a Blockstars token? What else can one do with their NFT?

Blockstars that are owned by players have a variety of musical abilities and can be assembled into bands. A band could be as simple as a single solo vocalist or as sophisticated as an 8-Blockstar orchestra, requiring a variety of musical abilities from the piano to the cello to the flute, and so on. Each form of band has various needs.

Each Blockstar possesses a range of other talents in addition to musical ability, each of which has a distinct effect on the game. For instance, certain Blockstars are adept at marketing, which helps to increase music sales. Others are highly skilled in social media, studio recording, and songwriting. Some people possess a magnetic quality that eventually leads to tremendous levels of renown, which enables the Blockstar and the band they are in to sell out sizable musical venues and so forth. Depending on the kind of Blockstars that a player has in their collection, there are a great number of different ways to play the game.

It is the player's responsibility to learn about the personalities of the Blockstars through gameplay because each Blockstar is entirely unique and has an own upgrading path (some Blockstars are born, or minted, with better potential than others). Every single Blockstar's personality is based on the Myers-Briggs model, therefore some have better chemistry with other Blockstars while others are total diva types who are difficult to work with but make excellent solo performers. Others are incredibly simple to work with, making them potential members of a big band.

Niko had this to say, "The game's ultimate objective is to advance by enhancing the Blockstars' abilities, assembling increasingly better bands, producing better and better music, and earning more and more in-game resources so that the player can eventually buy a record label and other virtual properties."

How will we onboard people into Blockchain based games?

The idea of using games as a way to onboard new participants has captivated the web3 ecosystem. Despite this, the majority of blockchain platforms, protocols, and games are currently difficult to use because to their inherent complexity. However, game studios are starting to appear to make it easier to interact with the ecosystem and onboard players before funneling those players into web3.

Blockchain games are built on top of existing consumer experiences, so developers can build on those user bases and use it as a starting point while they build out their game. The concepts of play-and-earn and play-and-own are already being revolutionized by blockchain games and are being discussed at large. The models have achieved their goals and successfully enrolled several new users in cryptocurrencies and web3. As the usage increases, the hurdles for web3 native platforms start to come down, the technology becomes more inclusive and accessible, and enables people who might otherwise not join the space to take a stand.

Niko had this to say about onboarding gamers into web3, "I think we all acknowledge that the biggest impediment to mass market adoption is getting over those technical onboarding hurdles. The more developers we have, the more gamers we have, the more opportunities there are for traditional developers who know what they're doing to come on board the web3 space."

What do you think about web3 gaming and the future?

Crypto based games are becoming increasingly popular. It's a new kind of gameplay, which requires players to collaborate and communicate with each other in order to win. These games bring together multiple elements from traditional online multiplayer experiences (e.g., action shooters) with blockchain technology in order to create something new, fun and engaging for everyone who plays them!

Niko believes web3 games are still in its early stages and the future is bright as new gamers, developers and studios join the space. He however thinks that web2 games and web3 games can exist side by side as the business model of each space differs. He had this to say, " Web3 gaming is not trying to take market share away from any kind of traditional gaming. We're trying to be additive and make something that's unique, that's different, for slightly different reasons."

Conclusion

We’d like to thank Niko Vuori for taking the time to answer our questions and give us insight into his platform. We are glad that he is dedicated to building an innovative game platform for gamers and other blockchain enthusiasts around the world. Thanks a lot for your time and see your next week.

HOST / PODCAST BIO

The NFT Gaming Podcast features developers building the next generation of gaming: play-to-earn NFT games. In this podcast, NFT game founders Jason and Jacob interview key contributors to the NFT gaming movement across a multitude of blockchains. Our goal is to help bring clarity to the topic of NFT gaming, build credibility for new and existing projects, and help gamers across different blockchains find new NFT games to play. Season 2 of the show is proudly sponsored by Revelar. Revelar is the NFT Game Engine, built on Cardano.

GUEST BIO

Niko is a serial entrepreneur who has spent his entire life playing video games, mainly management sims. His favorite game is Football Manager.  He has also been creating games for over ten years and worked with Zynga where he was the General Manager of FrontierVille and Zynga Poker. He co-founded the first social casino game with Rocket Games, after leaving Zynga in 2013 which was later sold to Penn National Gaming in 2016, and he co-founded the first voice gaming company, Drive.fm, in 2018. Prior to Zynga, he founded and ran his own venture-backed consumer Internet company, Informifi.com. Niko has an MBA from the Haas School of Business where he focused on Entrepreneurship. Niko Vuori is the founder and CEO of Blockstars.

Share on :

Contact Us

Thanks for your message. You'll hear from us soon!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.