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Meet the Future of Gaming

Updated: Sep 29, 2022



Note: transcription provided by Otter.AI, which is a technology company that develops speech-to text transcription and translation applications using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So welcome, everybody to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians Podcast. And I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as you know, we talk about four different types of freedom: time, location, emotional and financial freedom. And so I'm always out there looking for guests, entrepreneurs that are doing things on the cutting edge so I can bring you the information and materials so that you can be empowered to live your best life. So, today we have an entrepreneur who is the founder of PLAYN, Matt Lobel. And it's going to be a really interesting conversation because we're going to talk all about Web3, crypto and games, Metaverse, NFT's, which is really a fascinating subject. I know the markets now aren't reflecting that. But there's a lot of potential for this field. So Matt, welcome.

Matt Lobel: Thank you very much. I appreciate you having me on. Yeah, it's an interesting time to be in crypto, is it not?

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: You look at the prices and you know, most coins are down 80, 90%. Bitcoin over the weekend crashed to 18k. Ethereum under like, it was 800 or 900. So it's really, you know, when these drawdowns happen, they happen fast and quick.

Matt Lobel: They do and, you know, historically this is probably pretty close to the bottom. So I keep telling people, don't be scared. This is like a Black Friday sale on crypto, just be discerning on what you think you want to get into.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, yeah, there's a lot of asymmetric opportunities. And one person was telling me, be careful. But you know, there's tremendous upside.

Matt Lobel: There is, I mean, you never want to say it can't go lower, can't get worse, because it certainly can. But when you look at the Bitcoin drawdown of 60% of its value, 66% from its high, I mean, it's going to bottom out here at some point. And while I'm not necessarily saying hop on the Bitcoin bandwagon, there are certainly some opportunities. I know that I've gotten myself heavily into Cardano. Because I really believe in that platform. And, and so this has been a buying opportunity for me because it's dirt cheap, and I believe it's gonna go much higher.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: I know, you know, I know your backstory but tell the listeners, you know, your background, your story, how you got started, and we'll go from there.

Matt Lobel: Yeah, that sounds fair. I'll give you the 60,000 foot flyover from the beginning to now and then we can shoot into anything you have an interest in talking about.

But basically, I've always been an entrepreneur my entire life. Actually, as a kid, I would have told you I wanted to start a business when I was as young as 12. I started my first business at 18. I was going to Berklee College of Music up in Boston and I started a sound company. Moved down to Tampa, Florida. And in Florida, I started my business that I currently operate. That was about 29 years ago. And that was Sparrow Enterprises Incorporated, because I had no idea what I wanted to do. And so I needed a super generic name.

I wound up working with Advantis as my first client, because I worked for them as an employee, and they were a subsidiary of IBM and they were cutting personnel and I said, fire me and then hire me, and they did.

Wound up creating one of the first 500 commercial websites and existence and yes, that does make me old now. And I did multimedia for them. And then that transitioned into e-learning. I did e-learning for IBM, TNT AutoNation, America Online, a bunch of big Fortune 100 companies. And then outsourcing hit us and our business went away in a six month time span because our largest customers outsourced to India, branches that they had. And I wound up transitioning over to media and started The Narrator Files which is a company still or I should say it is a brand because it's still under the same company umbrella. It's still in existence, and that is stock photography and voiceover production.

And so then fast forward to where we are now, I've started PLAYN. And we have an MVP game that has been developed. It's right now, why would I consider pre alpha because MVP can be a lot of different things. It's pre alpha, it's playable. We have a small community built, and we're growing that. And it will be the first game on the PLAYN ecosystem. And the PLAYN ecosystem will be a blockchain based game ecosystem with API's that will allow the transfer of assets and currency between games. And it will all be based over a metaverse. So there, I've taken you on the F16 flyover of my life. And you tell me where you want to drop in?

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, definitely. You know, this is fascinating, because you're on the cutting edge. Especially now, these times, it's great to be a builder, developer, entrepreneur, especially in this space, because all the weak players go away. And so the, you know, the real people in this space, the best ideas come out of these bear markets.

Matt Lobel: Absolutely. It's kind of a winnowing effect.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, exactly. Tell us why Web3 is the next entrepreneurial playground?

Matt Lobel: Yeah, so the big draw with Web3 is trustless. Like you're gonna hear trustless done 1,000,001 different ways. But the essence of it is that you don't have to feel like an organization has everything in their control, if you will, you're going to own things. Now, in the Web3 gaming space, the GameFi space. What that means is that assets within games should be owned by players and that players' time that they invest in the game is actually valued and reimbursable in some way. It means different things in different spaces, though, like in social spaces, the Web3 social sites are ones in which you own your identity. And if the company wants to use your identity, they have to get permission from you. So, there's an environment that's been set up where distributed environments allow the users or in my case, the players, more control, more input and more value than what they've previously seen.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: That's really, that's really interesting. And I'm really curious, especially with scalability. How is blockchain gaming the future of the gaming industry?

Matt Lobel: Well, it comes down to again, valuing the players time, like if I was to tell you, and you were a player, if I was to say, hey, you've got two games, and each of the games are going to be fun. But this game, you're going to be paying a bunch of a bunch of money into it. And in this other game, you have the potential to earn money. I mean, which are you going to go for? It's pretty, the cat's a no brainer, right? I mean, it's like one of those things where you go: Really, is that a question?

So that is part of the reason there's a future in it is that you have the value of the player's time. But there's also the aspect of what we're building, which is kind of unique, and that is transportability of assets. So previously, if you were in a game, and you got a really cool skin, and for those listeners that may or may not be aware of what that would be. In a game, a skin is just the way a character looks. So you got skin. And then you decided I'm really not into this game anymore. And you decide to play a different game. Well, this skin that you got, and you probably paid for it, it's gone. You have no way to recover that. there's no transportability, there's not even ownership. Like you own it, it's in your account. But that's it.

In the games that we're creating. First of all, any asset within the game can be bought and sold by players inside the game. So if you've got that skin and you're like, hey, I really don't need it, but it is a cool skin. You put it in the auction house and you sell it to another player. They then own that asset. And let's say that they say you know, Darklin Wars, which is our first game, Darklin Wars, is cool, but I'm kind of done with the genre. I want to go into first person shooters.

You take that asset and you could sell it, you know, and then just take the money out of the game. But you could choose to transfer that asset and maybe it goes into a first person shooter game where it transforms a little bit most likely because we want to keep game integrity. We don't want to bring a skin that looks really radically odd in the game, but you could then use it in another game. All of our game objects are going to be usable in the metaverse so you could bring it into the metaverse and show your friends who don't play Darklin Wars. Hey, check out the cool skin that I got. And that's really revolutionary for games.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, yeah. It's quite interesting, because they say that gaming is the dark horse, because, you know, there's so much talk about games. And then I think I think it may be early and you know, we have like early adopters and developers such as yourself.

What are the various issues that need to be overcome within the blockchain gaming industry in order for it to reach like an iPhone moment or just like mainstream adoption?

Matt Lobel: So that's a great question, because it's kind of what we're focused on with PLAYN.

There's a $180 billion market. I mean, wrap your head around that for a second. It's a lot of cash. $180 billion gaming market, it increases every year, there is no, there is no bear market for games.

Crypto games only account for four to 5 billion of that. And when you reflect on what I said earlier, which is, it's a no brainer, like, why would you rather pay than earn? You’ve got to say, well, there's a reason, right? I mean, it's not like this was invented yesterday, it's been around for a few years. And we've identified several pain points. There's technological barriers.

So if you're to play, let's say, Axie Infinity today, which is the largest crypto game that's out there, the very first thing you have to do is to install a Wallet. And a lot of folks, gamers included, are going, a wallet? What's that?

So there's a technological barrier right there, put right in front of you, and then there's a financial barrier, the same game, your minimum investment would probably be a couple hundred dollars to get the little characters you fight with. To get a competitive team, you're dropping $1,000. So without ever playing the game, it's asking you for money. So there's a financial barrier.

And then there's a gameplay barrier. A lot of these games are made by people who are not game designers. They're technology people. So they're just not fun. [laughs] I don't know how else to say it. I'm not trying to be cruel to them. But it's just not fun.

So what we're looking to do is distribute the games through traditional channels, Apple App Store, or Google Play, Steam, as well as through direct downloads. There's no financial requirements upfront, these are all going to be free to play games. And the technology barrier is removed, because we're not going to ask you to hook up a wallet when you first start playing. If you want to move funds down the road, then yes, you have to hook up a wallet and the game will walk you through the process. But at that point, you're kind of motivated to do it, right. I mean, you've got money at play now.

Here's the main gist of this. In order to hit the mass market, you've got to make everything easy, because any game developer will tell you the toughest thing they have to do is stop a player from uninstalling the game in the first five minutes. And the next toughest thing they need to do is stop them from uninstalling the game in the first 24 hours. So when you look at those barriers, and you stack them on top of what is traditionally a difficult churn rate to you basically limited yourself to four to $5 billion out of a $180 billion market.

We're gonna change that. That's our goal is to change that and bring crypto games to the mass market.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: I'm also curious, how is it really just like in terms of traditional games, because before you had like, Xbox, and now you have online and streaming. How has blockchain really changed gaming? Just, you know, it's my own curiosity.

Matt Lobel: From a distribution standpoint, is that kind of where you're heading with that?

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. Why would somebody utilize a blockchain game versus just, you know, a standard like, PlayStation 2, they can go online or Xbox or something like that?

Matt Lobel: So really what we're talking about is we're talking about distribution channels when we start talking about, you know, PlayStation, Xbox versus web based, because they're all going to have crypto eventually.

I mean, the way things are headed right now, what you see is that the big players, your Xboxes, your Nintendo's, your Microsoft's, they're all doing what I would call toe dipping in crypto, and they're screwing up some, and some things are getting right.

But big players are generally scared to go into new markets. They want to see how things shake out. And that's where this market is right now, is the big players are kind of waiting on the sidelines for companies like mine to go in. And to get it right. And when companies get it right, there's going to be probably about four or five big players that get it right, then you're gonna see Microsoft come in, then you're gonna see, you know, these other large companies come in and start buying out the companies that have gotten it right.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, it's fascinating. It's almost like, when Netflix came on, and then when they went streaming, and then Blockbuster waited, and then basically, when Netflix took off, it was too late. So it's quite interesting, it will be interesting to see how this works, how blockchain gaming really, you know, takes off and develops.

Matt Lobel: You're very insightful on the Netflix analogy, because if you think about it, when somebody does achieve mass market penetration, and let's say they capture 1%, of the 100 and $80 billion market, that is a lot of money. And it's going to be very hard for a company to come in and put an offer on the table to buy out that company, it's going to be a pretty massive offer.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. Yeah. It's almost like OpenSea with NFT's. They were like the first, they're the biggest. And then Coinbase tried to launch their NFT marketplace, but it hasn't been doing well, just because they don't have that first market advantage. So I'm gonna move on to a PLAYN, which is really interesting. So which blockchain is the PLAYN ecosystem built on as Ethereum, or Polygon or tell me more?

Matt Lobel: Well, we're actually the coins minted on Binance smart chain.

But the interesting thing here is that a lot of folks focus on the blockchain that they're built on. But really, what matters is the language the contracts are written in. So these are written in solidity. And the reason that matters is because these contracts are built on a standard that can be transferred to other ERC 20 chains. So technically, the contracts that are written on the Binance smart chain can also go over to Ethereum and can go over to a variety of other chains. And what we're going to be very careful of as we move forward is not anchoring ourselves to a single chain, we want to be a multi chain setup, so that you know, if something happens to Binance, for example, Binance smart chain, and they have deeper problems than some of the ones they've already experienced. We can say, Okay, it's time to go over to Polygon, or, you know, it's time to go over to this other chain. So there's, there's opportunities for security in the sense of, you know, what you're basing your system off of.

Yeah, yeah, that's interesting. You have like these ecosystems like, you have like the ADAM ecosystem, and then you have the THORChain ecosystem, and it incorporates like, all of them, you know, for example, Binance or Ethereum. So I think that's like, I think we're headed towards a multi chain world. So.

Matt Lobel: Yep, I was, I was actually talking with the gentleman who's the CTO for Thor chain and was talking a lot about, you know, the multi chain protocols. And, you know, very fascinating, very fascinating conversation. That's a little bit deeper in technology to be quite honest than I go. I was swimming in my conversation with him. My CTO would love the conversation, but me, I was swimming a little bit.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. I'm also curious how the PLAYN ecosystem plans incorporate NFT's because, you know, you mentioned crypto and that's going to be like the way to pay for skins and things. I'm curious how you plan to incorporate NFT's and how they'll be used?

Matt Lobel: So that's a really interesting question, because to put it very bluntly, the way NFT's have been implemented in games to date has been a scam. And that's why you get very mixed reactions from gamers when they talk about NFTs. Here's the way I set up the analogy.

I'm going to sell you a Ferrari. But then I tell you on the back end, hey, you've got this Ferrari, but you've got to keep it in my garage. And you wouldn't buy that. It's nonsensical. But that NFT's had been set up as of right now.

If you have an NFT, you have a marker on a blockchain that says you own this. But if the person, or the entity, I should say that sold you the NFT decides to stop hosting the NFT on their servers, you have nothing but a marker on a blockchain. So it's, I mean, like I said, it's basically a scam. And the way that it's currently been implemented. So the idea and the concept is good. Like the idea and concept is, hey, you own this, and you can do with it what you will. And that's what we want instinctively as human beings. We like owning things, right?

So, what we're doing is first of all, I'm staying far away from the word NFT. I'm not trying to sell people NFT's, I'm trying to sell them transportable assets. Which is what they think they were buying with NFT's in the first place.

And what we're doing is what our graphical standard is going to be based on the USD standard that NVIDIA and Pixar created. And that graphical standard is designed to allow interoperability between the systems. So, when we create something, what we want is we want it transportable between our games. So that cool sword, the cool skin, you know, whatever that is, transportable between games. We also want to be transportable between our games and our metaverse. But I'll take that one step further. Because we don't want it just transferable on ours. We want you to be able to take things that you've gotten in our game, and go to another open Metaverse and be able to transfer those assets into that open Metaverse and use them there. Because otherwise you really don't have anything but a Ferrari in my garage.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD:

Yeah, it's been a very fascinating conversation, because, you know, NFT's are still in their very early stages. And right now, it's just for, like, you know, JPEGs, and music, but now it's been used for things like ticketing. And so it's gonna be interesting, because the analogy was like NFT's are going to be, sort of the boxes of transporting the assets and value.

Matt Lobel: There are really cool use cases for them. I mean, you mentioned, you know, the tickets and basically collectibles. But there's got to be transportability. Because without transportability, you're locked into.. if it's an NFL ticket, you know, and I saw that at a game recently I couldn't, you know, buy a NFT of my ticket. But super cool, in a certain sense, but in less that's transportable, and, you know, I know that the NFL is not going to get bored of it in five years and just delete the asset. It doesn't it doesn't have that lasting value for me.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, this has been a really fantastic conversation. I know. People may want to know, find out more about you. You know, go to websites, contact you or even work with you. So how can they do that?

Matt Lobel: I'm a pretty easy guy to reach. I even give out my email. I guess maybe I'll stop doing that if I get more than a couple 100 emails a day, which is about where I'm sitting. But anybody who wants to reach out to me can do so at matt[at] And happy to have a conversation with anybody who wants to reach out.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Perfect, perfect. So, Matt, thanks so much. And for all the listeners, Matt some resources and links will be including the show notes and that we thank you so much for your time in talking to us about this game changing technology and trends.

Matt Lobel: Absolutely I really appreciate you having me on, thanks a lot.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!


Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.


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