The video gaming industry has continually been at the forefront in applying and adapting new technologies to advance the market, but for decades the overall video game distribution model is one area that has not developed or progressed…until now. The hammer that is helping break this mold is blockchain technology and newly appointed Chief Strategy Officer, Mr.Edward Moalem has provided us information on how they are creating an unbiased ecosystem by implementing this into their game publishing platform, ULTRA.
1) Hello Mr.Moalem, please give us a glimpse of your background and experience in the video gaming industry.
My career spans more than 28 years in the technology and gaming industry, but I originally worked in the toy industry. I was hired by a small company in Israel in 1991, which was my stepping stone into the gaming industry. This was followed by four years at Nortel where I brokered the first DRM deal with Disney for their PC version of Disney’s Magic Artist, while simultaneously working with MS Office group to encrypt and distribute Office 2000.
I joined Apple in 2000 as the Senior Manager of Consumer Games and held positions at leading gaming companies and major corporations, including NewsCorp and GameSpy Tech, where I brokered the first networking deal between GameSpy Tech and Nintendo. While working at Adscape, an in-game advertising company, I initiated and brokered the deal whereby Google acquired Adscape and, in the process, I became the Senior Director of Content Acquisition at Google.
Since Google, I’ve gone on to work directly with the Korean and Chinese governments, brokering major games deals throughout the region, including Wargaming, Hawken, Guild Wars 2, and Offensive Combat. All of these roles have put me in a unique position to understand not just content, technology, and the applications thereof, but the specific regional requirements for games distribution.
2) Congratulations on your new position at ULTRA! What was it about ULTRA that made you want to make the move?
There were a number of factors at play which influenced my decision to join the Ultra team. First and foremost, the strength of the technology blew me away. As someone who has spent the best part of 30 years immersed in mainstream gaming, the idea of blockchain and the potential it has to transform video games as we know it really struck a chord.
As we know, blockchain is still in its infancy and we are still looking towards it becoming more formalised. But as a company, Ultra is built on strong business fundamentals, which is why I believe it will work. Ultra is grounded in reality and what we are trying to accomplish is realistic and applicable to video games, as well as to other industries.
3) Please tell us what key responsibilities and tasks you will be having at ULTRA?
I initially joined Ultra as a Partnership and Strategy Advisor in March 2018, after meeting the team and seeing their pitch at GDC. In July, I was appointed as its new Chief Strategy Officer. As CSO, my role will focus on developing relationships through all areas of the industry, making sure my team focuses on the right places to connect with, and engage, game developers, publishers, influencers, and players. We believe content is king and are working to ensure we have high quality games which will launch on our blockchain-based platform.
4) How is ULTRA better than the competitors out there in the industry? Are you all competing with STEAM?
The success of Steam, Google, and Apple’s app stores over the last ten years has been unrivalled, and while some developers have thrived, many others have struggled. Ultra aims to be fairer to developers by charging a significantly lower commission fee, getting money back to developers more quickly, and giving publishers and developers access to their communities. We are also providing effective marketing tools, introducing new revenue streams, and establishing a rich token-based economy which will be easily accessible by any developer or player.
Setting it apart from other gaming companies on the blockchain, Ultra facilitates not just micropayments but also nanopayments, instantaneously and at no cost, making Ultra Coins usable directly within games, as well as for virtual items or services in the Ultra ecosystem.
5) How is blockchain integrated into ULTRA and what benefits will the integration of blockchain technology bring to the users and developers?
Ultra provides a solution which allows anyone to build and operate their own game distribution platform or virtual goods trading service. These third party services still require Ultra Coins to operate, and our core platform features, such as multi-level referral programs, are enforced across all shops through our blockchain.
Even though the platform runs on blockchain technology, developers get access to our easy to use UI that allows them to seamlessly publish their games without having to know anything about blockchain. They will benefit from immutable transactions, the ability to operate business with 3rd parties without the need to know them or trust them, as well as increase their revenue by introducing new micro and nano transaction business models.
6) Which games and types of games will you be presenting on your platform? Are there any big game developers or publishers that have signed on?
The Ultra platform will support a variety of game genres, including free-to-play, premium games, eSports, and single-player games, and will allow developers to earn 21% more on their sales revenue, as well as provide access to a range of new revenue opportunities for both developers and gamers alike.
7) Are there certain criteria that you are looking for from game developers to register on your platform?
Honestly, we’re looking at just about everything right now. There is so much great content out there that just isn’t getting the recognition or players that it needs to be successful, and we want to help fix that. We want to engage players of every demographic and we know that this will take a variety of high quality content. So, first and foremost, we’re looking for fun and we’re looking for compelling. If you have a game that you think would be a fit, we invite you to send gameplay video to our developer relations team at email@example.com.
8) What are some of the specialized tools that the game developers can look forward to using once they register on ULTRA?
Ultra is being thoughtfully designed for ease-of-use to developers. Our Co-CEOs, David and Nicolas, have run games studios together and immediately recognised a unique set of requirements developers have. Using that knowledge and feedback from other devs, we are ensuring that the entire ecosystem is healthy. This might mean better discoverability because marketing dollars can be spent in unique ways, which make user acquisition less expensive. Or they might find that our referral system is exactly the boost they need to spread the word about their game. Each game and each developer is going to have a specific thing they need, and we’re confident we can provide it so that making quality games can continue to be the developer’s first priority.
The Ultra platform will allow players to play games within minutes of purchase using our progressive software downloading technology; earn Ultra Coins by participating in beta tests, watching ads, curating games, and more; access third-party game services; be part of a community; and resell their games. Meanwhile, we provide access to powerful marketing and promotional tools for developers, allowing them to earn an additional 50% revenue share compared to the competition and providing them with new revenue streams.
9) We see that your Token generation event is coming up soon? How is your team preparing for this and what are some of the benchmarks?
We’re pleased to say that the team is receiving strong support from major players in the crypto community. We’ve already closed the first round of funding, allowing us to continue development at a rapid pace. Our second private sale round is in progress now so we’re able to start bringing more game companies on-board. We want to give them a good understanding of the value proposition of Ultra and how it revolutionises the industry at its core and allow them to participate in the token sale if they choose to.
10) How do you feel about the current blockchain gaming industry as a whole and where do you see the future of blockchain technology in gaming going?
Looking to the future, the video games industry will be unrecognisable in five years’ time when blockchain is incorporated into the current style of gaming. Gamers are smarter than creators and will always modify technology and games to fit their interests, and create new opportunities. Blockchain will only further its adaptability, developing games to make them more relevant due to updates over time, rewarding both companies and players in the long-term. The future gaming industry will be one with more transparency, that rewards players and helps build communities, while prioritising network performance and retaining the essence of games.
11) What lies ahead in the short and long term for ULTRA? Will the ULTRA platform be able to continually adapt to this rapidly changing industry?
In the short-to-medium term we hope to meet with a lot of developers regarding publishing their content and to gather more input. We’ll be traveling to a number of large video games shows, including Gamescom, PAX and G-star, to curate content. Feel free to reach out for a meeting at any of these. We’ll also be doing some regional travel within the US and welcome meeting requests. A calendar of our events will be available shortly so stay tuned.
Looking to the future, our aim has always been disruption. We embrace the end of the current distribution monopoly in gaming, knowing that there are several other companies working to achieve this as well. We know that to become a major player in the space, we will need to constantly innovate. In order to achieve this, we are continuing to engage and hire top tier people across multiple disciplines. I’m confident we will achieve our vision of providing developers with the flexibility of a custom-built platform, while bringing exciting innovations and financial incentives to players, making the development of a new breakthrough game distribution platform possible.
We’d like to thank Mr.Edward Moalem very much for taking the time out of his schedule to talk with us for this interview.
To find out more about ULTRA follow these links.
ULTRA Website: https://ultra.io/
ULTRA Telegram: https://t.me/ultra_io
ULTRA Twitter: https://twitter.com/ultra_io
Also we would also like to give a shout out and thank Ms.Sharmin Cheema-Kelly and the team from https://wachsman.com/ for providing their support.