Exclusive interview with Zentry (formerly GuildFi) co-founder: Pure blockchain game unions have been falsified, and the super game layer is the future

24-05-29 11:23
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Since the GameFi track exploded in 2021, blockchain game guilds have risen rapidly. But in the new cycle, blockchain games have "lay flat", and the question that follows is, has the guild track been falsified? Is there still value for the existence of guilds?


In traditional games, the concept of "guild" originated from the online player organization after the popularity of Internet games, aiming to share members' cooperative experience and fun in the game. Guilds not only provide players with a communication platform, but also an important carrier for team collaboration to complete difficult tasks. Some guilds even provide players with resource support, including game guidance, equipment and strategies.


The "chain game guild" of Web3 is based on the "Play To Earn" business model and is often referred to as a "gold-making studio". These guilds connect game players on the chain, looking for opportunities to earn income on the basis of social interaction, and even affecting the overall order of the game. Compared with traditional online game guilds, chain game guilds have more abundant profit-making methods due to their direct economic attributes, and some guilds even directly become chain game investors.


In the long-term development, some blockchain game guilds have formed their own unique business model, providing services such as leasing of NFT assets for blockchain games, training of game skills, and dissemination of knowledge of blockchain transactions. Guilds are no longer just a bridge between blockchain game projects and players, but also generate commercial value in the relationship between them and blockchain games. The relationship between blockchain games and guilds is very similar to that between investment institutions and projects in their investment portfolios, which complement each other. Some industry insiders compare the relationship between "chain game guilds-games-players" to the relationship between "Moutai-distributors-channels", which is a bit like industrial development.


However, it is obvious that with the changes in the market, blockchain game guilds face many challenges. Now, with GameFi somewhat "lying flat", what is the future of blockchain game guilds? We noticed that the ancient blockchain game guild GuildFi seems to have its own answer.


From blockchain game unions to gaming superlayers


On April 23, blockchain game union GuildFi announced on the X platform that it will be renamed Zentry and plans to create a unified Superlayer to reward all types of gamers across multiple blockchains.


As part of the rebranding effort, Zentry launched a new token, ZENT, which holders of existing GuildFi tokens GF on Ethereum can redeem at a ratio of 1:10 through the portal. GuildFi has started the migration of GF tokens to ZENT, which started on April 25 and ends 4 months from the start date. Therefore, users must complete the token migration by August 25, 2024.



「GuildFi is now Zentry」


GuildFi has become Zentry, it seems that everything has changed, but also that nothing has changed.


In April 2022, BlockBeats communicated with GuildFi, and the GuildFi team said at the time: "We focus on community building in Thailand and have built the largest network and community in Thailand. We think it's time to further support this network. Thais love to play games, so we decided to implant the concept of GameFi into their games and use the guild model to support them." Related reading: "Dialogue with GuildFi: New Developments in Game Guilds in 2022"


Today, the rebranded Zentry focuses on building a "Metagame Layer" to bring the experience of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) into real life. Basically, anything connected to the game super layer will become part of the larger game, allowing players to upgrade characters, earn rewards, upgrade, and more in Zentry.


Zentry does this by launching customized consumer apps for different audiences. For example, Zentry released Nexus, a social finance app that gamifies social interactions on Twitter and Discord, while covering Web3 culture like staking and DeFi. The upcoming app Radiant will gamify activities in Web2 and Web3 games. Ultimately, Zentry aims to bring everyone together into the world's largest shared adventure world.


Prior to founding Zentry (formerly GuildFi), Zentry CEO and co-founder Jarindr Thitadilaka was a team lead at digital asset exchange Bitfinex, and a senior software engineer at OMG Network, Ethereum's first financial scaling solution.


Jarindr Thitadilaka


In 2021, Jarindr Thitadilaka, 28, from Bangkok, was able to earn at least $2,000 a month by collecting digital pets playing Axie Infinity.


At the time, Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines had become one of the hottest gaming centers in the world. So in July 2021, Jarindr Thitadilaka and his friends decided to form a "guild" in gaming terms, and founded GuildFi, one of the earliest and largest web3 gaming guilds, allowing those who wanted to play Axie Infinity for free to use their NFTs without investing in assets, and taking a cut of any winnings in return. GuildFi raised $140 million in financing from investors such as Binance Labs, Coinbase Ventures, and Animoca Brands.


Bringing everyone together to maximize the interests of players, the name and method have changed, but the original intention has not changed. With a background in blockchain developers and experience working with leaders in the Web3 industry since 2015, "I always believe that Web3 is a catalyst for the gaming industry. It has the potential to elevate gaming from pure entertainment to a lifestyle revolution." Jarindr Thitadilaka said.


When asked about Zentry's new strategy for profitable growth, Jarindr Thitadilaka explained to BlockBeats how the team achieves profitability through various investments, pledges, infrastructure, and partnerships.


"By creating the largest gaming network from a diverse community, Zentry can turn gamification and attention to partners while capturing value exchange. This represents a new era of advertising and attention monetization. Zentry collects partners' tokens, NFTs and other assets as payment or fees as part of a user incentive and engagement strategy." In addition, Zentry actively invests, stakes, farms and manages assets, and these activities generate more than $10 million in revenue each year.


The game guild is "dead"


"The original model of the game guild relied too much on the concept of "earning while playing", and it has been proven that this is unsustainable. "


Faced with the question at the beginning of the article, "Has the blockchain game guild track been falsified? Is there still value for blockchain game guilds to exist?" Jarindr Thitadilaka's answer seems very direct.


Jarindr Thitadilaka explained that the concept of game guilds demonstrates the power of community-driven incentives, social coordination, and Web3 open economy. However, the original model relied too much on the concept of "earning while playing", which turned out to be unsustainable. This prompted the Zentry team to think about how to go beyond the "earning while playing" model. Their new theory is that games are not just entertainment, but a revolution in lifestyle. They envision creating a global player network that goes far beyond traditional game guilds, capturing all game-related economic flows in all areas of gaming, social and lifestyle.


"P2E and guild models are not sustainable, and GameFi is evolving into a new hybrid model." Jarindr Thitadilaka realized that the traditional guild model was difficult to sustain, so he decided to transform to a game platform model. "The gaming superlayer will make this vision possible."


The traditional blockchain gaming and guild models face significant challenges, which Zentry seems to have foreseen from the beginning. This is why even as a gaming guild, GuildFi was the first to create a gaming mission platform.


By providing a unique combination of infrastructure, player networks, and innovative gaming experiences, Zentry will play a key role in uniting all players (whether Web2 or Web3 players) and facilitating their entry into GameFi, and Zentry remains confident in the future of GameFi.


In order to get out of the unsustainability of "earning while playing", Zentry is leading the concept of "play economy". For this new concept that most users don't know much about, Jarindr Thitadilaka explained in detail how this concept combines game achievements with real-world benefits and has an impact on everyday gamers.


"If you are familiar with 'earn while playing', you will know its economic risks and unsustainability. The play economy is different. It combines the economies of various games and ecosystems to form a large lifelong economy."


In Jarindr Thitadilaka's narrative, the play economy does not rely on its own economy to sustain itself, but acts as a hub to capture the flow of value from activities and assets from other games and platforms. While other games may come and go, Zentry will exist firmly, taking advantage of the continued development of each field it integrates. This means that if players succeed in the game, they can earn points that can be redeemed for real-world gift cards. Through many partners, Zentry tracks a large amount of game data and achievements, providing benefits in the virtual and real world.


Under this new business model, Zentry creates lasting value and benefits for players by capturing and optimizing game-related economic flows, while also reshaping the role of game guilds.


Jarindr Thitadilaka (first from right) participates in a discussion on the theme of blockchain games


What is Zentry doing after the transformation?


In recent years, many people have become less optimistic about the GameFi industry, believing that there are only a handful of games that can survive the bull and bear markets. In such a market environment, it is particularly important to view the current development trends and challenges of the blockchain game industry.


"As a project that raised funds at the peak of the last GameFi cycle, we understand why investors are now less optimistic about GameFi," Jarindr Thitadilaka told BlockBeats.


In addition to the fact that investors may lose confidence in GameFi due to market fluctuations, Jarindr Thitadilak also believes that the reason is: the longer game development time. Games take more time to build than DeFi protocols. In the last cycle, except for Axie, most games were in development, with nothing substantial to show, or the quality was very low.


"Two years have passed, and many AAA games will be launched in the third and fourth quarters of 2024, which may trigger a recovery in the GameFi field. A hybrid Web2+Web3 approach is necessary because the gaming world is much larger than Web3 games. Many projects have already adopted this model." Jarindr Thitadilak also elaborated on some of his thoughts on the chain game industry.


In addition, Jarindr Thitadilak also believes that another challenge in the blockchain gaming industry is the distribution of GameFi, so Zentry hopes to play a key role in it. By building the largest player network, Zentry can ensure that the GameFi project can reach a wider audience and gain more attention.


A game in a game


On Zentry's new official website, Metagame Layer and METAGAME STACK are mentioned, both of which play a vital role in the Zentry ecosystem.


"The Gaming Super Layer is essentially a game within a game, transforming real life into an MMORPG overlay experience," Jarindr Thitadilaka explained. This system is powered by a full-stack ecosystem, the "Gaming Super Stack," which includes a set of consumer applications, multiverse IP worlds, and underlying infrastructure. Consumer applications like Nexus and Radiant are tailored for different audiences. The multiverse IP world brings all players together under Zentry's world to create a larger gaming experience, while the underlying infrastructure supports the technical requirements of the Gaming Super Layer, such as blockchain integration, universal identity, and Web2 and Web3 SDKs.


Zentry's Gaming Super Layer experience, source: Zentry


In more specific new products, Zentry plans to launch applications to realize the future of gaming involving deep integration with our daily lives. "We are about to launch several new products including: Radiant, Zigma and Azul, which are consumer applications designed for active user participation."


Among them, Nexus will cover all aspects of social interaction, DeFi, staking and Web3 culture, gamify related activities, become part of Zentry games, and serve as a meta-game for Web3 culture; Radiant will focus on Web2 and Web3 game activities, including real-world events, and is a meta-game designed for gamers; Zigma is an anime IP focused on games, as part of the NFT collection, more details will be announced soon; and Azul is an AI agent under development, which will also announce more information this year.


Through these applications, Zentry aims to create a seamless gaming experience that transcends traditional boundaries, integrating various elements of digital and real-life activities into a coherent meta-game. Zentry's contribution will drive the future of gaming by making gaming an integral part of everyday life, creating a world where gaming is not just entertainment, but a lifestyle.


In addition, Zentry recently announced a partnership with BEAM and the integration of the Sophon project, which will bring new opportunities and challenges to the platform. As an incubator for the project, Zentry holds a large number of Sophon tokens in its treasury together with BEAM, and Sophon's success will be positively reflected in Zentry's treasury. In addition, Zentry's neutral positioning opens the door to more cooperation, working with any project to integrate into its gaming superlayer. More cooperation means higher treasury reserves, and these values will be captured through methods such as buybacks, destruction or airdrops. In just one year, Zentry's treasury reserves have grown from $100 million to $150 million, and will ensure that these profits benefit token holders.


It is GameFi, and it is also SocialFi


Such a transformation is not unprecedented in the blockchain game guild. On October 26, 2023, Merit Circle DAO migrated from MC tokens to BEAM tokens. Previously, Merit Circle DAO developed around MC tokens, focusing on the gaming industry. And BEAM is the native token of the Beam network, a gaming network supported by Merit Circle DAO. One of the core components of Beam is Beam SDK, a flexible software development kit that enables game developers to choose between a variety of tools to drive and build blockchain elements within the game.


The transformed Zentry, combining infrastructure with a player network, hopes to become the world's largest "game in the game" Although Zentry's rebranding is very similar to Beam's transformation. Both are gaming DAOs with more than $100 million in reserves, and are pursuing greater goals through rebranding.


In the eyes of many users, this means that Zentry will compete directly with projects like Beam (infrastructure plus game development) and YGG (infrastructure plus guild). But in fact, Zentry believes that although there will be competition in the market perception of the track, it is more complementary at the business level, which is why Beam and Zentry can incubate Sophon together.


In addition, Jarindr Thitadilaka believes that Zentry is unique in that Zentry is not only a GameFi project, but also a SocialFi project. Zentry believes that there are almost no competitors in the hybrid field of GameFi and SocialFi, which makes Zentry very unique.


Zentry positions itself as a hybrid project of GameFi and SocialFi, so after the rebranding, Zentry also has new expectations for market positioning and valuation. With increased visibility, improved product quality and industry participation, Zentry is confident that it can become one of the top GameFi or SocialFi projects.


Since STEPN, it seems that no GameFi project has been able to achieve widespread market acceptance. But the rebranded Zentry is full of confidence in its team:


"We have almost no competitors in the mix of GameFi and SocialFi." Jarindr Thitadilaka said.


References:

1. "Dialogue with GuildFi: New Developments in Game Guilds in 2022";

2. "Chain Game Guild: The Hub between Games and Players";

3. "Head Game Guilds in the Bear Market: Some Grow in the Sun, Some Quietly Fall Behind";


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