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Why this Popular Web3 Esports Game Was Designed with a Play-to-Earn Model

The Chief Product Officer of MonkeyLeague discusses his company, why monkeys are all the rage for NFTs and gaming, and his advice for developers.

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After a long run at Playtika, Raz Friedman wanted to get back to making games. So he did. Today, he's the Chief Product Officer of MonkeyLeague. Friedman sat down with Jessica Abo to discuss his company, why monkeys are all the rage for NFTs, and gaming, and his advice for developers.

Jessica Abo: Raz, you had a very successful run at Playtika. Why did you decide to leave?

Raz Friedman:
I was missing the hands-on experience. And as a game maker, I really wanted to go and create games. The opportunity of going and creating games on the Web3 new wave coming was really something that was calling me. I really felt the call for being a pioneer again.

I would love to know a little bit more about your company MonkeyLeague and why monkeys are all the rage in NFTs and in gaming right now.

Friedman:
Think about MonkeyLeague as soccer meets chess. To understand NFTs and Web3, I would ask, what is the meaning of Web3 in relation to games? So Web1 was the phenomenon of reading the internet. We saw many websites like Yahoo and many other sites where we could really just consume the data. The Web2 concept was read and write. We had MySpace and Facebook. And Web3 is about read, write, and own. The fact that we can own parts of the internet allows us to create player-owned economies.

The thing about playing chess soccer in MonkeyLeague, when you have the NFTs, you actually own the characters that you play within the game. When you play with the characters, they grow. If you grow them, they have a more valuable price in the market. You can also sell the characters. And this is a unique positioning for this industry that you couldn't see before. Monkeys are really good characters. You will see our character is of high production value, they look eye-to-eye with you, so they are really easy to fall in love with.

Now players can make money with your game. Why was that important for you to add instead of just letting your players have fun?

The thing to understand is that in the future, people with skill that will invest a lot of effort and will have skill in the games will be able to make money, but it's not guaranteed. Today people pay for entertainment. When you play some other games, you will not see a penny back. And in this new genre of Web3 games, it's all related to the amount of skill and your success in the game. It only changes the perspective of being part of the economy. It's not that the money is the issue in the game. Still, people will want to play in order to be entertained and to be part of this entertainment environment. But it will allow the players the ability to have something that is also preserving their economical positioning in the game or even gaining from having good results in the game.

Considering your years of experience working as a Chief Product Officer, what advice do you have for the game developers out there?

Friedman:

So there are a lot of elements to our game design and creating games. There's a narrative. There's the art. There are a lot of things. It all matters, and I'm into all of them. But the one thing that matters in Web3 game designing is creating stable economies. It means that you will have the monetary need to control stuff that sometimes when you own the entire economy, it's in your hands. Creating a player-owned economy is like managing a country, in terms of economy, demand, supply, and stuff like that. Put as much attention as you can to the long-lasting economy that you build and deliver that you're going to have in order to control the monetary economy.

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