Kieran Warwick is the co-founder of Illuvium, a start-up that is developing web3 gaming technology using blockchain and NFTs. In this interview, Kieran discusses the company's mission, the challenges of developing new web3 gaming technology, and the future of the company. We are excited to be talking with him today and hope you enjoy our conversation.
Illuvium is an upcoming fantasy role-playing game created on the Ethereum blockchain. The game was initially announced in January of last year as "a decentralized, NFT collection and auto battler game built on the Ethereum network." With various collection and trade functions, Illuvium, often referred to as the first AAA game on Ethereum, aims to appeal to both casual players and die-hard DeFi devotees.
Kieran describes the game this way, “So Illuvium is a game and it starts with Illuvium Zero, an industrial city type builder. You can play it on your phone. The idea is that you'll go in there to extract resources from the land you own. You then take those resources and either sell them for a profit or go into the overworld, which is one of the games within this universe. You can also start using those resources to heal shards. Shards are what you use to capture the illuvials. Once you have the illuvials, you can either sell them or keep them. Illuvium has meshed together this interoperable universe of AAA quality games. In terms of the auto battle style, it's very similar to Pokemon, but with the battle systems of TFT.”
With Illuvium, players can earn NFTs, crypto assets and rewards. The game is based on blockchain technology. The concept of Illuvium is simple: Players will play the game by earning points that they can use to purchase virtual goods and other items in real time using their cryptocurrency wallet. These tokens are then stored securely on the Ethereum blockchain where they are tracked via smart contracts.
Kieran Warwick, along with his brothers Aaron and Grant, created the play-to-earn game Illuvium — all siblings of DeFi maverick Kain, the founder of Synthetix. Illuvium is a platform for web3 gaming and NFT-based gaming.
The company was founded in 2018 by Kieran Warwick (co-founder), He got his start in the crypto world at his brother Kain's company, BlueShyft, which in 2015 made Bitcoin and crypto exchange payments available over-the-counter at over a thousand physical retailers across Australia.
Illuvium is creating a completely decentralized game that is best described as a cross between an open-world RPG and an auto-battler. Illuvium closed its Balancer public sale in March 2021 with a record volume of over $90 million traded. The funds will be used to rapidly expand the team and bring the game to market as soon as possible. The game currently has over 3,000 active gamers in the Beta version and it is set to open up to onboard additional 5,000 gamers.
You might be wondering why Illuvium decided to build on Ethereum and not another blockchain. Kieran provides the answer: “The reason why we chose Ethereum is because we think Ethereum is going to win out in the end, right? Like all of these side chains and other scaling solutions and stuff like that on, you know, different networks. Eventually, we think that the noise is going to end and it's all going to come back to Ethereum. And so, Ethereum has the most network effects right now, the most amount of devs, the greatest number of projects, all of that kind of stuff. But we think that's going to only increase further and further as it builds out, and we get to ETH 2.0.”
Gamers may not like crypto (yet), but they do like games. There's no reason why web3 gaming should be an exception — we just need to get past the stigma.
While the concept of in-game trading is not new, blockchain games have struggled to gain traction among the traditional gaming community. Onboarding to blockchain games is typically confusing and time-consuming, and the gameplay quality of web3 innovators comes up short of AAA web2 blockbusters.
Traditional players, backed up by equally sceptical gaming media, are generally wary of web3 games, expecting to be ripped off at the first opportunity. Many people believe that the promise of web3 gaming is too good to be true — and the games aren't all that entertaining.
Many factors contribute to the success rate of onboarding web2 gamers to web3 games, including a positive user experience (UX) and high-quality, user-friendly UI (user interface). Furthermore, simplicity is an integral part of this. If you've worked with blockchain before, you'll know that one process that needs to be simplified is how to onboard web3 users. Kieran says, “If we can make the onboarding process simple and frictionless, we will gain more users and our web3 games will be more likely to succeed.”
Keiran had this to say about how Illuvium has adopted a frictionless onboarding process, “Literally, there's an onboarding process into our game because it's free to play or you can pay money and start playing and earning. But essentially, there's an entire onboarding flow where you don't need a wallet. You don't need to pay anything. You don't know that you're on a network. You're literally just playing a game on a client and that is it and that's how we think we're going to get to actual adoption here. Like, our goal is to bring web two gamers to web three games. Right. And to do that, you need a frictionless experience across the board.”
Illuvium is a game that is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. It has a marketplace built in, so players can buy and sell assets from each other.
The first thing you need to know about Illuvium: it's not just another collectible card game (CCG). It's also an immersive 3D experience that takes place in an alternative fantasy universe where players are able to interact with each other through their characters' own unique skill sets and abilities.
IlluviDEX is the decentralized exchange (DEX) built into Illuvium, where players can exchange their illuvial assets. Each sale generates a 5% commission, which is added to the ILV stakers' rewards pool.
Illuvium also inherits the security of the Ethereum blockchain, and the network is also strengthened by Immutable X (IMX), a layer-2 solution designed to scale apps that use NFT features.
Illuvium has created a platform that allows players to play the game and get entertained, the game is the first AAA quality game in the web 3 space, additionally the game has allowed players to earn and trade NFTs in the game. In this way, players have been incentivized to continue playing your game instead of going elsewhere for their entertainment needs. Kieran had this to say about why web2 gamers will eventually onboard into the illuvium game, “I'm just happy to be building this game and being in this space and kind of pioneering the first AAA game to be built. It's a lot of fun and it gives players ownership of their assets in a verifiable way.”
The future of blockchain gaming is bright, and Illuvium is here to help you navigate it. Since the launch of Illuvium's staking platform, the game has gained a lot of interest, traction, and trading volume on crypto exchanges. As a result, ILV's market capitalization has steadily increased since its inception in the DeFi world.
Kieran sees the future of blockchain gaming in a broader context.
"I believe most games will migrate to web3," he says confidently, explaining that the benefits of the new gaming in the metaverse or web3, which is "giving power back to the players," are so numerous that it is a necessary upgrade due to consumer demand. “Unlike most web2 games, where players are generally unable to sell in-game items or monetize their achievements, web3 gaming means that players now have a choice.” says Kieran.
We believe that Illuvium will be a premier game of choice for future gamers, who want to play games on the blockchain. We are excited about this opportunity and are looking forward to seeing the game and the community grow.
Learn more about Illuvium: https://www.illuvium.io/
Follow Illuvium on Twitter: https://twitter.com/illuviumio
Join their Discord: https://discord.com/invite/illuvium
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.
Kieran is a proven serial entrepreneur. Working alongside his brother Kain Warwick in e-commerce, Kieran was exposed to Bitcoin and Ethereum early on. His enthusiasm for the crypto space led to joining Blueshyft. While there, Kieran successfully onboarded major Australian Exchanges and started the world’s first OTC cryptocurrency exchange.
At the same time, DeFi was quickly growing, and Kieran and Kain (Synthetix.io) wanted to explore the uncharted areas of opportunity. With his background and interest in trading penny stocks, Kieran wanted to pioneer a DeFi project that would be a game-changer (pun intended) for the industries it represented. With this in mind, he tapped his brother Aaron (Co-Founder/Game Designer) to develop what will be the first AAA gaming title on the Ethereum blockchain, and Illuvium was born.