RAWG – Cross Platform IMDB for Games

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For the last few years I’ve been stuck to a few games. Primarily now, I only play Hearthstone regularly. However, there was a point where I was using Steam a lot to discover new games and play them in my off time. I really loved Steam because it had a vast catalog of games which could be acquired for next to nothing if you waited until seasonal sales kicked in. The problem though is that my Steam account was limited to my non-gaming MacBook. The games I would play on it were vastly different to the ones which I liked for console and mobile. In fact, there was no real connection between the two platforms and what I liked on console came as recommendations from other friends who had purchased them already.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I met Dasha and Gadji from RAWG in the fall of last year. They had already developed a gaming outlet called Kanubo and wanted to take what they had been developing and learned and apply it to a new project. The project, fully evolved is RAWG, a cross platform IMDB for games, something which is dead simple and I can’t believe it had not already been created before. Each individual siloed game store keeps all of your achievement and played game data, meaning that if you have both an XBox and PC, you can’t share your data between Steam and the XBox live store to determine the best game recommendations for your tastes. RAWG solves this by taking all of your data and compiling it on one platform.

Before I get too much further, go sign up for the platform right now and get registered for the airdrop. It’s extremely easy, I did it today. Here is my profile.

More than 50k gamers have already added more than 2.5 million games, with the average user adding around 180 different game instances to the library. Pretty damn good for a first initial push. By next year they want to have 200k games in their library, making it the largest repository for played game information in the world.

As it’s a blockchain project, it will have a token, RAWG, which will be given to gamers for completing certain achievements. No other platform has rewarded gamers for simply playing, until now. From the RAWG whitepaper they list the following projects that “pay” or reward gamers for their time.

  • SwagBucks is a service where a player can receive rewards for games from the catalog
  • PlayAndWin is a service similar to SwagBucks, but only game-specific.
  • Exodus 3000 is a multiplayer browser game that offered to reward users for various actions in the game: extraction of resources, attacking opponents, etc.
  • Corporationmaster is a multiplayer browser game where a player can earn money, spend it on game bonuses and exchange for real money.
  • Second Life is a multiplayer game, a life simulator in which a player can get a virtual job or set up a business, earn money in game currency and exchange it for real money.

However, none of these titles allow you to take your earnings to other platforms, but with RAWG tokens being a cryptocurrency, they will be tradable and exchangeable to other digital assets.

This model depends on its advertisers to have long term value. Obviously, this kind of player data is going to be extremely valuable to advertisers, who will have to use RAWG tokens to purchase all advertising on the platform. The starting price to purchase advertising on RAWG will be $3 per 1000 views. Similar sites charge $20-55. It’s a novel approach, the advertisers pay for ads, and then those tokens are distributed as rewards.

Gamer rewards are based on the difficulty of completing a certain achievement. The more difficult it is, the more tokens a player receives. Additionally, tokens are distributed on a token cycle, which lasts around 2 weeks. The token cycle ensures that those gamers who recieve tokens are active and are contributing game data to the platform. If a gamer stops playing, he will no longer receive tokens in the next game cycle. Tokens are distributed based on Karma amounts, which increase as gamers complete harder achievements.

The token model is simple. The website is easy to understand and it’s why I’ve been helping the team in getting to market. They have a product which every gamer should be using to record their game data. They then can be approached by advertisers to buy games or use the recommendation engine to find new and interesting games. It’s a deeply needed system and I believe they will provide a significant amount of value over the next few years.

TOKEN SALE

With a hard cap of 10 mil USD, RAWG is a very middle of the road raise. The funds which are to be raised will mostly be used to attract new users to the platform through social networks, advertising, partnerships and other influencers. In order to succeed, RAWG is going to have to attract a global audience, their whole revenue model is based off of advertisers using their coin to purchase ads. If the platform cannot add a significant amount of users, the volume for the token will be quite low. However, if they can build a user base, which they seem to have done slightly so far, they would have good cause to attract advertisers to the platform.

Based on their whitepaper RAWG plans to spend their 10 million in the following way:

  • 4 million for user acquisition and community building
  • 4 million for product development and growing the team
  • 1 million for IT security and protection against hackers
  • 1 million for back office and other assorted fees.

Given that the project is based in Russia, the burn rate of the 10 million should last them 2-3 years before they would have to reach out for any additional funding. I would assume that they are expecting their advertising revenue to carry the company by that point, negating the need for further capitalization under sub-par circumstances.

Token Distribution is as follows:

The stabilization fund raises some red flag for me, however a quick search of their telegram group showed this:

“Stabilization fund will be utilized for stimulating development of the RAWG platform by the users. These are the tokens that will be converted from karma.

Token accrual period is set up to last up to 3 years minimum.

Besides the aforementioned, the stabilization fund will be used as a preventive measure against speculative attacks that would target the fundamental value of the token as a payment method for the advertising. All preventive uses and aggregate balance of the fund taking into account cryptocurrency exchanges as well will be automatically be registered in blockchain, non-target use of funds will be completely excluded”

You can’t fight speculators, it is a losing battle. Best thing is to build a solid company rep and put out good products.

TEAM

Co-Founders Dasha, Alexey and Gadji have a long history of building out successful tech companies in Russia.

As listed above, Gadji built Kanubo, a Russian gaming outlet from $0 to $9 million and then sold it to Rambler, a leading Russian tech company.  You can check out his website in the link above, but it’s a new site for games, similar to Kotaku. He also was the head of advertising and PR for Sibilant Interactive, a game development company. They created the game W.E.L.L. Online which is described as follows:

“W.E.L.L. Online was a 3D fantasy MMORPG from Russian developer Sibilant Interactive. The game featured a deep storyline where players’ actions affected the world and a sandbox character advancement system with skill-based leveling and different paths including military, police, criminal, and businessman. It offered several races such as Humans, Zvergs, Sidhe, Lizards, Kelebras, Arrawns, and Tenqui, and featured a “controlled PvP system,” in which detective players could investigate PvP cases to catch guilty parties.

Dasha worked for Svaznoy, which is one of the largest tech and mobile retailers in Eastern Europe. She ran the mobile company VAS.

Alexey also worked on Kanubo and was Project Manager of Game Insight.

Conclusion

I like RAWG a lot, they are building a easy to understand and use platform. I’ve already signed up, you should too. The token sale is pretty straight forward and the value of the platform will be based on the number of users who sign up and use it. So far they have received 3 million in funding from Crypto Bazaar, a blockchain focused VC fund in Russia. This leaves 7 million left for the private and public sale. I expect them to be able to fill this out, but a lot will depend on market conditions going forward.

Check out RAWG, sign up for their service and look forward to the upcoming token sale.

 

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