Blockchain and gaming combined - that's what you get at the Berlin company Spielworks and its platform Wombat. Adrian Krion is the company's Managing Director and, together with his colleagues, wants to bring the use of blockchain in games closer and accessible to gamers. The big goal: to fully integrate blockchain into the vast world of gaming. With the recently realised financing round, Spielworks has come a step closer to this goal. In an interview, Adrian Krion explains how the concept and the Wombat platform work, what plans the company has and how he sees the future of Berlin as a gaming and blockchain location.
You have recently realized a new, seven-figure financing round, congratulations! How did the financing come about and what are your goals?
Thanks a lot! We are happy and also quite proud. In addition to our long-term partner Volksbank Mittweida we wanted a strategic partner who values the growth of the ecosystem. We achieved this with Finlab and its EOS VC Fund.
We have more than 130,000 users at Wombat so far and are one of the fastest growing blockchain applications. Now we want to show that our concepts are suitable for the masses and that we can make the topic of blockchain-based goods accessible to a wide target group in a playful way, so to speak.
With Spielworks and the Wombat platform you combine gaming and blockchain technology. How exactly do the concept and the platform work?
In essence, the aim is to use blockchain to turn content from games into real possessions of the players. In a game like World of Warcraft, if I have the proverbial sword, in the classic world it's not mine, it belongs to the owners of the game. So if I want to sell or give this sword away, there is currently no official way to do so, and there is no way that the game operators really support it.
With Wombat, we now make it possible for users who have never come into contact with blockchain to hold, manage and use their digital goods. The core function is the administration of the so-called private keys of the users, which are needed for the use of a blockchain - and this in a way which as far as possible manages without technical terms or complicated processes.
The integration of blockchain in games is not seen too often. How did the idea come about? How was your team formed?
Swen, who founded Spielworks with me in early 2018 (then still under the name CHAINWISE), was looking for the next technology hype after selling his cloud consulting company. At that time, I had already been deeply involved in the topic of blockchain and cryptocurrencies for some time. We spent the year 2018 using consulting to explore the market and find out in which areas blockchain technology would be adopted most quickly. Gaming emerged as a result of the fact that gamers are generally already very much used to digital goods and blockchain gives them the opportunity to use these goods outside of games.
Your game Chain Clash started in April this year. How has it been received since then?
The game very much occupies a niche position as regards its design, thematically we concentrate on the cryptoworld. There the game is extremely well received, we are in the top 5-10 of the worldwide blockchain games market by active users.
How do you think the gaming industry will change in the next few years? Will monetization play an increasingly important role?
The gaming industry is already a huge industry with over $120 billion in annual turnover worldwide. In a world which is becoming increasingly networked and in which - also due to the current corona pandemic - more and more people are spending more and more time in digital worlds, more and more value creation will also take place in digital space, including games. The resulting digital goods will therefore also become ever more valuable and important, so they need to be protected by appropriate technologies. We see blockchain playing a key role here. Imagine that game objects, for example, can also become investment objects which are then traded on stock exchanges, such as art. In our view, gaming is therefore only the beginning of this development.
How do you experience Berlin as a location for blockchain technologies?
Berlin describes itself as one of the centres of blockchain technology development, and rightly so. Some of the largest and most influential companies from the global scene are based here. However, from our point of view there is (still) too little attention paid to the development of products which already provide their users with real added value here and now. Berlin can certainly still catch up, especially since regulation in Germany is quite strict, but has in the meantime become reasonably deterministic.
How well networked is the gaming scene in the capital? What do you wish for the next few years?
Berlin has an amazing number of small and medium-sized development studios, and the German Games Industry Association is also based here. But the really big players are based somewhere else. In many countries, above all China and South Korea, gaming has a completely different status than it has here. I would like to see more social acceptance of gaming, even outside the hobby element, for example in e-sports. I would like to see some impetus from the political side as well. There is no stopping the wave, so we should rather try to keep up with it by creating exactly the right conditions for the market to develop.
Many thanks for the interview.
This interview was first published on Projekt Zukunft and can be found here.