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Bored Elon: Sharing Invention Ideas to 1.7m Followers, Blockchain Gaming, Diligencing a Gaming Investment and AI in Multiplayer Games

Dec 5, 2021 · 66 min media

By Tom Shaughnessy

The Delphi Podcast Host and GP of Delphi Ventures Tom Shaughnessy sits down with angel investor and pseudonymous online persona Bored Elon Musk. Bored started out as an Elon Musk parody account and has grown to having over 1.7M followers today. The two discuss the journey of growing a pseudonymous account, traditional gaming versus Web3 gaming, effective integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into multiplayer games, and much more.

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01:00 • Tom
Hey everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. I’m one of your hosts, Tom Shaughnessy. I’m one of the co-founders at Delphi, and I help run our ventures division. Today, I’m thrilled to have on Bored Elon who has definitely risen to fame on Twitter and really excited to have you

01:11 • Bored Elon
Yeah, thanks • Tom. We’ve been chatting for a while, and I’m happy to graduate to second base and move it to voice chat. 

01:18 • Tom
Now I’m questioning what third and fourth base are, but I don’t know if we’re there yet.

01:22 • Bored Elon
If you play your cards right, you’ll find out. 

01:25 • Tom
I’m excited. Do you go by Bored or do you go by Elon? 

01:29 • Bored Elon
I usually go by Bored. I’ve been slowly trying to differentiate myself from the wonderful, real human being who inspired this account, so Bored works for me.

01:38 • Tom
Did you ever have any interactions with the real Elon?

01:40 • Bored Elon
He’s tweeted at me a couple of times. One of the most notorious tweets he put out there was him acknowledging that he runs this account and that caused a lot of confusion. Now, about 25% of my followers think that’s true because they don’t understand sarcasm. And, I try to clearly course correct. I never want to claim that I’m him. Obviously you can hear my voice that I’m not him (unless I have a very fancy voice changer). But, yeah, we’ve tweeted back and forth. That’s about it. His mom used to follow me on Twitter. I recently found that she  doesn’t anymore, so I must have upset her somehow. 

02:11 • Tom
I mean, a high-end voice synthesizer is something Elon Musk would do, so now I’m more curious.

02:16 • Bored Elon
That’s exactly what I’m trying to imply here. 

02:23 • Tom
Well, if it’s really you, man, it’s exciting to meet you. Your account on Twitter is pseudonymous. People don’t know who you actually are, right? How has that journey been for you? You’ve taken it from a place of really engaging the community to getting really involved in the gaming and angel investing side. How has that journey been on the pseudonymous side? 

02:43  • Bored Elon
It’s definitely been a feature. I think that part of the intrigue and the fun is that people don’t know who it is. In a way, I think a pseudonym  can be a representative of everybody, right? I’m not connected to a real person with certain biases or intentions, I’m just  a blank slate and I can just put thoughts out there and people can associate with it. I think it’s given me personally, the person behind the scenes, a bit of freedom to experiment and not be afraid to look stupid or get canceled for saying something dumb. I put myself out there and people have responded very well. It’s been about eight years since I started this account. Thus far, it’s been going quite well. It’s created a lot of opportunities for me, as you said, to get into investing, to starting companies, to doing really cool partnerships. 

03:34 • Bored Elon
A lot of it all just  came together accidentally. The whole pseudonymous thing was not intended. The point of the Twitter account was just to be a parody and a comedic outlet. What happens often in Web3 is something starts as a meme and then it becomes a very real thing that has real potential. 

03:51 • Tom
I know it’s a crazy journey for you. Was there any one event or one tweet that really propelled you forward? Or was it just the consistent, making people laugh, building the community that drew that attention? 

04:01 • Bored Elon
It was 100% consistency. When people talk about the 10,000 hour rule, I just kept at it. For the first six months or so, I had 10 followers and I was just tweeting silly or sometimes clever inventions. Usually my tweets were solutions to problems, but like really complicated, Rube Goldberg-style solutions. That  just tickled a lot of people in Silicon Valley, and then a bunch of notable investors somehow found it, retweeted my stuff, and then it just  blew up from there. It went from basically zero to 500,000 followers in a month, and then it blew up after that. I’ve  leveled off, but I’m very fortunate to have the following and the distribution that I have. It didn’t hurt that real Elon’s tweeted a couple of times about me. Him and his 60 million plus followers… naturally, some of them spilled over to me. So I’m very grateful for that. 

04:51 • Tom
That’s incredible. You’re near two million followers, so it’s definitely an amazing feat to have.

04:55  • Bored Elon
I’m still pretty lax about what I post. I forget sometimes that, when I hit the send button, this is going to get seen by a lot of people, but it doesn’t phase me anymore. Back to that point about just being pseudonymous, I don’t care as much about what I say. Sometimes, if I post something on the account that is just silly or doesn’t really resonate, I delete it. I probably delete a quarter of the tweets that I post if I see that they’re not getting a lot of engagement. I really want people to see the best stuff when they come to my account for the first time. So, I’m pretty good about pruning the shitty tweets, if you will. 

05:28 • Tom
The curation is key. People get annoyed if you delete tweets, but that’s only when it’s like project specific or a fight or something.

05:34  • Bored Elon
Right. I don’t delete tweets that made me look stupid or where I had to admit that I was wrong. They were just things that were  duds. Every comedian goes on stage and does a bunch of shows. By the end of the season, or the end of the hundredth show, they’ve  gotten rid of the bad jokes. So, that’s basically the same model. 

05:51 • Tom
That’s awesome. I’m wondering how many businesses you started just with your parody, inventions. They’re actually complex tweet ideas you had. 

06:00  • Bored Elon
I know people have built Chrome apps and small applications based on some of the concepts, and I’m all for it. I’m not a technical person myself. People come to me and say, “Hey, I really love this tweet, and I want to create something with it,” I’m like, “It’s all fair game.” Genius is 99% perspiration, right? So, if I had the idea, I don’t really care if someone takes it. 

06:22 • Tom
That’s awesome. Tell me about the transition from building a mega audience into crypto. What was the transition or path for you there? 

06:30  • Bored Elon
Like a lot of people who are in the space today, I dabbled in crypto back in 2013-2014. I remember buying a Bitcoin for $80 and then selling it for 10x that and thinking how smart I was. Of course, that didn’t prove to be true if I had held onto it. So, it was really just light dabbling. About 12 to 18 months ago, the power of crypto really dawned on me. Until that point, I hadn’t made the connection that I could leverage this distribution I had built to actually create businesses and invest in businesses. Using crypto, that helped me protect my pseudonymity. In the past, you’d have to sign real checks and dox yourself by receiving payments in U.S. dollars or whatever your local currency might be. That was problematic because I didn’t want to lose the magic of staying mysterious. 

07:21 • Bored Elon
So, when I realized that crypto was an avenue for me to monetize, I thought about all the different paths I could take. One of the biggest ones, especially at the beginning of this year, was NFTs. I did really benefit from being able to  create digital assets that people thought were interesting, that helped them connect with me, who they’ve been following me for a very long time. That path that I took then led me down about a thousand really unique roads of starting to be an advisor for startups, founding a few small organizations or DAOs, and I’m on the verge of launching a new product, which I can’t reveal today, but you will hear about it very soon, • Tom, in the early 2022. The new product focuses on gaming because that is part of my professional background. It’s going to be a mix of gaming NFTs and some other very special stuff. 

08:14 • Bored Elon
That is all to say that crypto has been a life-changing bridge for me to take this distribution that I’ve built and turn it into a really wonderful opportunity. 

08:22 • Tom
Last question for you on the pseudonymous side, before we go into gaming: what is the most important benefit that you get by being pseudonymous? Is it the fact that you’re able to say whatever you want? And trust me, I’m very jealous of that on Twitter. I wish I could. Or is it more the legal/regulatory side? Or is it more that you respect your privacy? What would be the biggest feature there?

08:44 • Bored Elon
A little bit of everything. In proportion, I would say that the legal/regulatory thing isn’t as big of a deal. I have a very expensive set of professionals who helped me from a legal and accounting standpoint. I do everything by the book because I realized that as a pseudonym, it makes you a target for regulation. I encourage everyone to follow the rules of their local jurisdictions. That’s not so much an issue, although I do appreciate not being scrutinized by the public, in terms of my financial dealings. Secondly, there is the freedom of being able to say what you want and not get in trouble for it. I’m not super provocative on Twitter. Anyone who goes through my feed will see I’m not really political. I’m not really somebody who is a provocateur. It’s pretty casual, silly stuff. But that said, as we’ve seen over the last few years, it just takes one tweet to get dug up that might ruin you or ruin your reputation, right?

09:42 • Bored Elon
I do have a reputation to root to lose. I am a pseudonym with a built following. I’m not anonymous where I can just delete my account and go off and troll somewhere else. As you said, I’ve got close to two million followers and they trust me. They have given me credibility. I am careful about what I say, but, nonetheless, it adds a layer of protection that helps me out, which I appreciate. The most important part of it is the creative freedom. I think that, honestly, a lot of people don’t experiment and don’t try things creatively because they’re afraid of looking stupid. I was never a person who really was that afraid of it. I would try stuff with my government ID and put myself out there and post things on the web and write blog posts. I didn’t really care if I looked stupid or not. 

10:24 • Bored Elon
That was a real gift, because for all the things that failed, it also led me to start projects that succeeded. Now, add a layer of pseudonymity on top of that, and you’ve got even less fear of looking stupid. As a pseudonym, who is it that’s looking stupid? It’s just a character, it’s a fiction. That has been a real superpower. It’s one of the reasons that I encourage everyone to experiment with creating a pseudonymous account or even multiple ones, just to practice being a good writer or putting your thoughts out there and not just having the societal filters that sometimes stop you from trying new things. It’s super powerful. I unintentionally built myself a largely followed pseudonymous account without realizing how valuable it would be in 2021. But, that’s where we’re at today, and I think that what I can do is set a really positive example for how it can work well and hope that others follow suit. 

11:16 • Tom
One of our thoughts inside Delphi is: if you really want to understand something, write a report on it and you’ll realize what you don’t know. Tweeting is pretty similar like that. It takes me a long time sometimes just craft one tweet. One of the other things I like about you is that you’re using your platform and your followers for good. You’re not just shilling garbage to your millions of followers. You’re actually here to build. Do you have any thoughts on you versus other users who have large followers? As in, actually being a builder versus just chasing quick money? Obviously you’re here to build versus some large accounts that just shill.

11:51 • Bored Elon
What I’ve noticed from folks who build a decent following is that they try to cash in too soon. They hit 10,000 followers or 100,000 followers, and they start getting approached by brands and shitcoins and other people who want them to promote on their behalf. That’s really appealing because it’s a chance to monetize some hard work, but, if you do it too soon, you really lose the opportunity to build something bigger. On my end, I went basically seven years with borderline tweeting without monetizing in any way, mainly because I just thought it was a fun side project and I didn’t necessarily think of it as a business. But, I held off quite a bit. If I do now partner with anybody or promote something, it’s largely because I’m either an investor or I legitimately think it’s a really cool product. Once you start making the balance of your content too heavily weighted towards shilling and promoting stuff that you have very little to do with, or that your audience doesn’t necessarily care about, you’re costing yourself a lot of money in the long-term. 

12:52 • Bored Elon
So, it’s definitely a delicate balance. I think with my account, especially earlier in 2021, when I started going heavier into NFTs, I did get a little pushback from notable people who follow me, who would say, “I miss the old quirky inventions and memes and all that. Why don’t you scale that up a bit?”  I took that feedback in stride and try to balance it now. So, you will see that I am promoting certain things that I have a stake in, but at the same time, I don’t want to stop the content that brought people to me in the first place. Long story short, if people are  going down the path of building up a following, don’t cash in the chips too soon, similar to how I should not have sold my Bitcoin at a thousand. I should have probably ridden that wave a little bit longer.

13:39 • Tom
I’m with you. That’s great advice. Totally agree on not selling out too early. 

I want to shift a bit to blockchain gaming. There’s a lot to cover here. I’m not sure where we should start off. One idea that we spoke about before we got started was traditional gaming shifting toward more of a Web3-esque model. I’m interested in your take there. Frankly, I’m always  bearish on stuff that touches the traditional world a bit, because it’s not  crypto-native and high-tech and innovative. It seems like it’s shooting yourself in the foot. Not sure where you want to take this one, but would love your thoughts on traditional gaming, shifting toward more of the Web3 model. 

14:13 • Bored Elon
The concept I’ve been thinking a lot about is this idea of player owner. Right now, if you think about traditional video game, you’ve got these big game publishers like Epic, Activision, EA, and Blizzard. They put out games that cost a lot of money to produce. Players will either initially pay to play that game, like the $50-$60 which is the traditional model. They get to play that game. Or, the game is free or very cheap, and then they would buy in-app purchases and allow the publisher to monetize in that way. The hidden element, which people know who are on the business-end of a video game, is that the video game companies are spending a lot of money to acquire users. That might be through advertising or referrals. It’s through a lot of mechanisms. A pretty significant portion of money that is spent by gaming publishers is spent to buy users and keep that growth going. 

15:11 • Bored Elon
With Web3, what you’re seeing with some emerging gaming companies is that they are selling in-game items to players to actually own. These are digital assets, the same way that people can download a game from a publisher and own that game. The biggest fundamental difference from now is that, when you download a game from Steam or E-Shop or from the PlayStation Network, that gives you the right to basically own that game and play that game, but you can’t sell that game to somebody else necessarily – not without a lot of hoops to jump through. When you buy in-game items like, a gun or a skin or a vehicle, you own that as long as you own the game, but again, you can’t sell that item to somebody else, or create your own items to sell to somebody else. At least, not very easily. 

15:54 • Bored Elon
Web3 gaming is basically going to give you true ownership and a stake in that game. Because of that, my theory is that you’re going to become a really strong advocate for that game and refer other people to want to play that game. The marketing channels shift, right? Instead of publishers trying to acquire users through traditional advertising and marketing and communications and all that, it shifts to, “We’re going to give our players actual ownership of the stuff in the games that they love to play, and then they’re going to go out and recruit more and more players.” That’s the high level overview of where I think Web3 gaming is going. There are lots of small little details we can discuss though, if you want. 

16:30 • Tom
It’s  funny, right? It’s very obvious, in the traditional model, people are going out there and paying for something they don’t own and they’re playing with it. In this Web3 model, games are literally giving away ownership to create a community. It couldn’t be more opposite.

16:45 • Bored Elon
It’s interesting because, if you look at the path of video games, it went from a place where with old school consoles you’d buy a cartridge or you buy a CD-Rom which has a game on it. You could play it, finish it, and then you can go to GameStop and sell it, or sell it to your buddy. If you hold onto a rare game, you could even sell it to somebody else for more than you paid for it. Then, things started shifting to digital, because that was convenient, right? You could download a game, and if you ever lost your console or your game got corrupted, you could always just download the new version. People like this idea of a cloud-based ownership, but then we lost that ability to sell games the way we used to like with GameStop and other types of stores. It almost feels like we’re  doing a full circle, where Web3 is now giving people again that sense of ownership, something that’s more tangible that they own and that they control. That takes some control away and some profit margins away from the gaming publishers. 

17:37 • Bored Elon
So, publishers’ resistance to this evolution is understandable. My theory is that this idea of player ownership is actually going to grow the pie and bring more and more people into gaming. Over time, it will become a more lucrative path for traditional gaming publishers to take. It’s just that right now, they are so profitable, especially coming out of lockdowns when people were spending tons of time at home and bored, that they’re not really motivated at the moment. I think we’re a few years away from the big gaming companies getting into this space. I do think that, in the meantime, if you’re an investor, finding those emerging companies that are building new IP and developing really strong economies within a really fun game… those areas to explore in terms of investing your dollars into either startups themselves, gaming tokens, or picks and shovel companies that are enabling this type of gaming. 

18:25 • Tom
That makes a lot of sense. One of the things I think we’ve seen over the past couple of years is that there are a lot of wars between the way things are traditionally done and the way they’re done in crypto. You obviously have crypto vs. Wall Street, you have NFTs vs. traditional artwork, take your pick. It seems like in gaming, I’m trying to get a handle on whether or not we’ll see a Web3 gaming vs. traditional gaming war. In my opinion, it seems like the traditional gaming companies are well-positioned to convert over to Web3 considering these are people that have a ton of experience building legitimate games. And, frankly, on the crypto side, we need those game devs to come over here. So, I’m not sure. And I wanted your take on this. 

19:04 • Tom
Do you think that the traditional gaming companies will culturally shift and integrate Web3 and crypto, or do you think people developers, coders, and game developers will just leave the traditional companies and come to crypto to create games? I’m trying to understand that dichotomy and that transition.

19:19 • Bored Elon
I think that you’re going to have a little bit of both. My experience in the game development world is that there’s a lot of – I’ll call it ego – or just a sense of ownership over IP. There are going to be a lot of folks that do not like this idea of giving up ownership in some control to players. They are the artists that create this beautiful piece of work, and they want people to enjoy it the way it was intended. They want to control every element of it. There are more traditional video game companies that have that mentality. They’re going to go kicking and screaming into Web3, or they’re going to lose a lot of their talent to the new gaming companies that embrace it. I think that certain game publishers are starting to signal that they’re much more open to rapidly shifting to the Web3 approach. 

20:07 • Bored Elon
I’ve seen announcements from Ubisoft and from EA. Tim Sweeney over at Epic has talked a lot about this as well. I think what will happen with the larger video game companies is you’ll have a hybrid where they build their own walled gardens and ecosystems where players are given the right to buy, sell, create, trade, and have their own commerce, but it has to happen within their own platform. The same way you’ve got like, iOS, the iOS store, or like the Android store, that’s probably where things are going to net out. You’ll also have a fully decentralized set of games that are funded by players. Publishers are these decentralized organizations that take a lot of input from the players who own their tokens. You’ll have a little mix of everything, but I do see some resistance also from players and even gaming media, who are, right now, understandably worried that throwing this much monetization and power to players is going to be a bad thing. 

21:05 • Bored Elon
If every game  starts off with an NFT sale, and everything is owned in a game, there is a worry that games will become less fun, right? Because then people will optimize for how to make the most money and not how to create or experience the most fun in a game. That’s a real worry, but I think where it will end up is: there will be so many games in the Web3 space that, ultimately, all things being equal, meaning everyone has a financial incentive to play, the ones that are, in fact, the most fun will draw the most audiences and they will win. Right now, we’re going through a messy period where people are seeing like, “Oh, I can make a ton of money playing this video game, and I don’t really care if it’s fun or not. As long as I keep making money, I’m happy and I’ll do this instead of my other job that doesn’t pay me as much.” 

21:49 • Tom
That’s really interesting color. Diving into the traditional gaming model is pretty interesting. Do you think that, if these major game publishers woke up • Tomorrow, and let’s say they all added an NFT element or crypto element – like I can own my guns in Call of Duty or I can own my land in Civilization, whatever it may be – do you think that’s enough to stave off the Web3 gaming move? Or, do you think that they’re already too far behind to compete with the native games we’re seeing popping up? 

22:16 • Bored Elon
I think they’ve got a real shot with that scenario working because the reality is there’s probably less than a million people actively playing blockchain games today. You’ve got 3 billion video game players in the world. Even if 2 billion of that is just casual games, like Candy Crush and whatever, and you’ve got a billion people playing more core games, that’s still way more of an audience to work with. If you’ve got a massive player base and then you introduce these simple front ends that don’t require you to be a crypto native, I think that’s really attractive. So, I think that’s a real scenario. It’s not a zero sum game. You can have the hidden crypto backend to the Epic universe or the Activision Blizzard universe, and people can own stuff within that world. 

23:07 • Bored Elon
Many people will be happy with that. You’ll also have the more hardcore people who are like, “No, I want full decentralized gaming, and I want to be able to literally own my assets outside of the game.” You’ll have that economy as well. I think it’s going to be a combination of the two. There will be more risk in the decentralized approach but more potential gains. The other scenario of the big video game publishers being the walled garden to an in-game economy will work. They will just take a bigger cut from players and continue to monetize at a 30%, 40%, 50% rate because they feel like they’ve earned it through their investment in these really massive games. I could argue that that is well-deserved. It’s not cheap to make a big video game these days. It’s quite expensive. It’s like making a movie.

23:54 • Tom
I totally agree. Just taking your thoughts a step further: let’s say the traditional game publishers did shift • Tomorrow. They went fully into crypto and embraced it. What elements do you think crypto games have to compete with that traditional gaming companies can’t match other than say the distribution and the player base? Do you view that – let’s say the ability for users in Web3 games to augment or change the games themselves or have an input – do you think that’s enough of a moat or what would they actually be able to compete on if the traditional gaming companies moved in?

24:24 • Bored Elon
In terms of the game itself, giving players more of an ability to control the experience can be very valuable. You also see this with games like Minecraft, Roblox, and Dreams on the PlayStation network. When you give players the ability to manipulate a game, IP that they love, they do wonders with it. I don’t necessarily think that’s a moat. I think the biggest thing right now is more of the Web3 / decentralized games model is going to incentivize their players to recruit a lot more heavily than the traditional video games system does. In the standard video games world today, players will talk about their games with others. It’s a big area of conversation in social media. But, I don’t think they’re going to act as true amplifiers and advertisers on behalf of a publisher the way that Web3 games will. 

25:17 • Bored Elon
If there’s any moat, I think that’s it. From a game experience, Web3 has to compete with companies that have thousands and thousands of really talented people who are developing beautiful cinematic games. My biggest “watch out,” I guess, for the traditional video games world is what we alluded to earlier, which is Web3 game companies stealing talent and offering stronger incentives to the artists, the coders, and the writers who are building really amazing game experiences. If they steal those folks away from the triple A’s, then it’s going to be a much more even playing field. I don’t think either side has a really strong moat against each other at the moment. 

25:54 • Tom
It seems pretty easy though, to attract that talent, right? Like, “Hey, I know you’re earning X salary, but do you want half a percent of the tokens and potentially the largest game in the world?” You could debate the percent, but do you see any issues convincing the traditional talent to move over? One of the biggest hurdles might just be educational and explaining why it’s so important and the value that can accrue.

26:14 • Bored Elon
Everyone has a price. In the game development world, like I said, ego plays a big role. A lot of people want to be able to say that, “I was the art director on X franchise,” that is this ten year beloved franchise versus some random new IP that’s only existed for one year. This is the same as, for example, 10 years ago, game designers didn’t necessarily want to be the ones who wrote on their resume, “I helped create Candy Crush.” They want to say, “I built Halo,” or whatever it might be. There’s going to be that line of ego versus money. Realistically, the traditional video game companies are not going to be able to compete in terms of compensation with what Web3 offers. The risk is that if you’re a traditional video game developer and you go over to create something new and work for a startup, yours might not be good, it might fail, it might run out of funding. 

27:08 • Bored Elon
High risk, high reward, basically. That’s what we’re going to see play out as the blockchain gaming space gets way more crowded. You’re going to see the best rise to the top and not everyone’s going to be able to ride this wave. That means the individuals taking that leap to Web3 might not all benefit from what you’re seeing today. 

27:26 • Tom
That’s totally fair. When we’re talking about talent and actually building these games out, I think it’s probably important to  figure out what a community’s input could be and how they can actually help to build out a game. One of the hilarious examples in hindsight is Loot. For those that don’t know, it’s basically an empty drop with parameters around it. The hope was that a game would be built around it. To me, it seems like that’s like an insurmountable bridge, right? To expect a community to come together, to hire AAA game devs, to build out an expansive, global economy within a game – that just seems really hard, right? In your opinion, what can the community for a game actually do and what can they not do? Because it seems like for something like Loot, that seems pretty hard to actually nail in practice

28:12 • Bored Elon
It’s a really big bridge. When you think about the idea of designing by committee, when you apply that to game design, it’s so hard. I doubt that we will ever see a fully decentralized game where 1000+ or even 100+ people voted on every element of the game and it ended up being something that’s fun to play. It’s against human nature for that to work. I think the model that I’ve seen work well is a hybrid where you do have a decentralized organization and everyone has voting rights, and you’v also got a core team of maybe 10 or 20 people. They basically offer certain decisions up to the community for a vote. A lot of times these are like superficial  aesthetic things that are not going to impact the game. When it comes to game mechanics and the core experience, I am not bullish on trying to build something that is entertaining and unique when you have way too many cooks in the kitchen. 

29:08 • Bored Elon

For me, the idea of player ownership is not about playing a role in designing the final product, or, at least not the majority of it. It’s just having a voice and refining it, and then, ultimately, having some ownership of the future through  revenue/profits because you were an early investor in that game through a token or other means. 

29:30 • Tom
It’s interesting you bring that up. I always thought that in crypto gaming all the community members would need direct voting rights on potentially large ideas and changes,and maybe they will. Obviously though, this does not work designing by committee on every minute detail. In your view, do you think that having all the players in a Discord with direct access to the founders and the designers for Web3 games is enough? Is that what people are looking for? In traditional games, there’s no way that my idea is going to make it into Fortnight or Call of Duty. 

30:00 • Bored Elon
I think limited access is definitely enough. A lot of video game players don’t necessarily feel like their feedback gets heard unless hoards of people are complaining on Reddit and Twitter about something that they feel has gone horribly wrong in a video game experience. If you’ve got a new IP or a Web3 game that allows people to be in a Discord and have a monthly town hall with the development team or submit ideas that get reviewed, that’s far and away more access to a dev team than most people have today. And, I think that’s enough. I don’t think it needs to be more than that. From my experience in the traditional video game space, what I will say is that (having gone to big events like E3, PAX, and GDC) when players and fans get one opportunity a year to see one of their favorite game designers speak on a panel – that makes them so happy. It’s such an amazing opportunity and access for them. 

31:04 • Bored Elon
Take that and increase the frequency to once a month and make it feel more casual in a space like Twitter or Discord or whatever it might be. That would be enough for people to feel like they’re part of a game company without giving them too much power where it’s becoming more of a nuisance and a distraction from the core team that’s building something special. 

31:24 • Tom
I like that. Shifting into that community, I’d love to talk through what you think a successful Web3 game actually needs. Do you look for founders that have traditional gaming experience? Do you look for a specific type of game, like strategy versus something more expansive like an Illuvium? Or, do you look for specific token econ or an expansive internal economy? What do you look for when you’re looking at a game, either on the advising side or the investing side, to get you really amped up to write that check? 

31:58 • Bored Elon
Having experience in just pure game design outside of  the blockchain and Web3 is really important and is the hardes  talent to hire for at the moment. Crypto itself has been around for a while, so you’ve got plenty of people who have the economy background, tokenomics, and game economies down. A lot of pitch decks that I look at over-index on that part, and not so much on the fun, right? so, as I said earlier, all things being equal, assuming that every major blockchain game is going to nail a game economics, who will win is going to be the one who has the most entertaining game to play. Right now, I’m seeing a lack in quality or experience in people who truly understand how to build stories and environments and new game mechanics that haven’t existed before. Most of that talent is still in the traditional video game space and are hesitant to get into blockchain gaming. 

32:55 • Bored Elon
If I’m writing a check to a startup, I want to see that thoughtfulness exists or talent on the team that comes from the traditional video games world that understands how hard it is to come up with a game that is going to stand out and be fun. Right now, we’ve got an endless supply of games. If you just look at Steam as one example, in 2020 there were 10,000 new games released on the Steam store. There’s not only a massive amount of games for people to play, but they exist in the cloud. It’s not like the old days where you buy a cartridge and play it and then you’re done. Every game that has ever existed in time you can basically play today. Every day, there’s more and more games to take your attention. That means your game has to be really fun to stand out. 

33:41 • Bored Elon
The only reason that most blockchain games have succeeded thus far is because the economics part has been very lucrative, right? They’re fun games, but also, people make money; therefore, they have outcompeted traditional games where you’re just playing for fun. Like I said, as more and more blockchain games emerge, you’re going to have some folks on your team that really understand how to build a game that’s fun enough to play even if money was not involved in it now. 

34:09 • Tom
That’s really interesting. It’s hard to diligence from what they have from the get-go, right? A lot of what you see from the get-go is either a lot of marketing material or timelines or potentially limited demos. You are taking quite a risk in them getting from mini-game and animation to full-fledged gameplay. To your point, a lot of the time, I think it requires attracting that traditional gaming talent from the traditional world. Of course, a lot of these are risks, but to your point, a lot of it is attracting that traditional talent. 

34:47 • Bored Elon
The easiest filter I’ve used for due diligence when I talk to founders of blockchain gaming companies is I ask them, “What is one or two of your favorite video games and why?” Believe it or not, a high percentage of them cannot answer that question thoughtfully. That tells me that they have not spent enough time playing games themselves to understand how to make one. So, it’s a really simple filter, to be honest with you. The second question usually is, “The game that you’re building right now on-chain, what are three or four other games that you’re using as a reference that you think are similar? If you had to go after new fans that are playing another game that’s similar to yours, what would those games look like?” And, if they can’t answer that question either, it’s a red flag. 

35:32 • Bored Elon
These are simple things, but to your point, it’s hard to do due diligence on someone’s ability to make a fun game because that’s a subjective thing. It’s not black and white or zero and one like tokenomics and things like. 

35:46 • Tom
That’s pretty funny. Like, if I meet a founder and they say, “Oh, there’s no comparison,” it seems a little stuck up and not well thought out. When I hear something like, “Hey, we’re building Eve online for crypto.” I’m like, “Holy shit.”

35:58 • Bored Elon
I’ve studied every major new game that has come out in the last 10 years. If anyone legitimately told me, “Oh, well, this is really unique and not like any other game,” I’d laugh in their face. That’s like 1% of games at best. It’s just not true. It’s like movies and books. You’re not going to have a completely original story or concept. It will have uniqueness to it, but when it comes to gaming, everything will fit basically into a really neat category. So, it’s either ego or ignorance.

36:31 • Tom
A lot of it is copies. You brought up an interesting stat: 10,000 new Steam games. I always get a little overwhelmed with the number of games we see and that are out there. I’m always wondering… it’s obviously a competition for attention and eyeballs and money if you’re buying in-game assets… but in the real world, there’s tens of thousands of games. There’s a power law there: only a few are attracting the majority of the users and the money. What’s your take on just the sheer amount of games we see coming out? How do you get comfortable writing a bunch of checks or advising a lot of projects, given just the sheer number of games we see coming out on the crypto side?

37:11 • Bored Elon
You’re definitely looking for the unicorns and acknowledging that 90%+ of them are not necessarily going to become the big winners. And, that mirrors what you see in the traditional game space, especially for mobile gaming. I don’t know the exact stats, but I imagine less than 5% of games on the Apple Store are really making a good amount of money. So, your game needs to rise to the top. When it comes to blockchain gaming investments, you’re betting on ten and hoping one of them becomes the next League of Legends. It’s not going to be all of them because there’s just a finite amount of time. The challenge with video games, if you can call it a challenge, is that as a form of media it takes a lot of a person’s attention and time. 

38:00 • Bored Elon
It’s not a movie that you watch in two hours or a show that’s one hour or even a book that might take you 10, 20, 30 hours. A video game is played for hundreds of hours, potentially. If it’s an ongoing game, not a first player, beginning and end type of game, people are playing for thousands of hours. If somebody is really committed to playing like Hearthstone or League of Legends or Rocket League or Fortnight, then you’re competing with that type of experience that someone wants – like a player that wants to keep playing. Now you’re introducing them to something new. So, it’s tough to stand out. My recommendation to investors in this space is try to find the games that you think will steal some market share from the bigger players that are out there. 

38:45 • Bored Elon
Go into it just with the knowledge that the vast majority of your investments are going to go to zero or flatline over the next few years. 

38:55 • Tom
Totally with you. Definitely classic venture style investing, but I liked the context. The other idea there is that there are so many games building on different ecosystems. Are you focused on, say, gaming on Ethereum? Or, even, gaming on a specific L2 on Ethereum? Or, are you pretty agnostic to chain L1 or L2? 

39:15 • Bored Elon
It’s really hard to say in terms of L2s, how many we’re going to have down the road or which ones will win. I do think that they will be necessary. My personal experience thus far with blockchain games that are being built on Ethereum is that those will cater to a higher end audience. It is going to be a luxury product. I think that goes for  art NFTs as well. I think there will be a place for that where certain folks that are sitting on a large crypto bag will be open to this idea of paying $5,000 for a set of in-game characters. It sounds insane if you were to tell somebody this 10 years ago, but today people do it all the time. They spend tons of money on JPEGs and game items. 

40:03 • Bored Elon
I think the future is L2 because the reality of  gaming on-chain is that there are a lot of transactions and things that need to be documented. Because of that, it would be cost prohibitive to operate the game on an L1. That’s why you’ve got platforms like Polygon and Solana and others that are emerging because they’re very fast, transactions are cheap, and they solve for problems that Ethereum probably never will. What you might have down the road is Ethereum being used as the infrastructure that supports ownership of items. Once you’ve  bought the item and you own it, that then is a bridge to these other chains where in-game activity takes place. That’s one potential solution. And, going back to the conversation around walled gardens and AAA traditional video game companies getting into this space, they might come out with their own solutions that are L2s because they want to keep people in their own ecosystem. 

41:09 • Bored Elon
There might be the Activision chain or the Ubisoft chain, or the Epic chain. You can use that across all the many games that they’ve produced. You’re not going to be able to use that token or that platform for games that are outside their ecosystem. I think, ultimately, we’re going to have lots and lots of options, and that’s a bit confusing today, but that is going to be the battle that is fought over the next three years in the gaming space. 

41:36 • Tom
That’s pretty interesting. I’m guessing your take is that the large swaths of millions of gamers won’t even know what they’re playing on.

41:45 • Bored Elon
That’s what’s going to onboard the next billion people – when they don’t see all the messy infrastructure. It’s like what Venmo did for payments. Nobody cares about bank routing numbers and how the money is moved in the ledger of account. They just want to send their buddy $5 for the beer they bought them. So, that’s what needs to happen with most people as it relates to crypto gaming. That’s why people will be more accepting of a centralized gaming ecosystem where they can still buy, sell, and trade, but they don’t have to think too much, or have a web wallet, or learn about crypto. And that’s okay. There’s room for everyone depending on their comfort level with ownership of their assets. 

42:24 • Tom
Just going back to timelines: in the traditional gaming world, correct me if I’m wrong here, developers go to work for years and then there’s a set date they release a game and it’s good to go. This happened two weeks ago with me and my buddy playing the new Call of Duty. The gameplay is fun…I think it’s annoying how you can shoot through walls so easily… but that’s for another podcast. But, in the crypto world, it’s obviously very iterative, right? Like, you have a land sale or a token launch, then you start to release many games and hope to attract real talent and then eventually build a full-fledged game. We’ve invested in a lot of these projects. We bought Axies early on and we have land/ Ember Sword and stuff like that. 

43:03 • Tom
We’re cognizant of those timelines, but I’m wondering your take here: do you think that these timelines for an actual, full-fledged, immersive game in crypto – do you think that will be within the next couple of months or couple of years? It seems to me like we’re still quite a ways out from having that experience. 

43:20 • Bored Elon
I will say that, based on a lot of  pitch decks that I’ve seen, people are pretty aggressive about timelines in terms of developing games, fully immersive experiences. We’re talking about traditional games like a Cyberpunk or Halo or Call of Duty. These are years and years of production, but we’re not going to see that type of game in the blockchain world probably for three to four years, honestly. In terms of more immersive experiences that are in the caliber of say  a League of Legends, I think that’s doable in the next 6 to 12 months, for sure. They don’t require the massive budgets and development teams that some of the more traditional, big budget games do. I’m pretty bullish that by summer 2022, we’re going to have 10 to 20 fairly immersive games with 100,000+ players competing against each other. 

44:16 • Bored Elon
You’ll probably see games in the strategy realm, sports, a little bit of luck. Of course, a lot of games that are just more casual to,, right? More party games in the vein of like a Super Mario Party, Over-Cooked, or something else where it’s really simple to master. I’m sorry, simple to play, but hard to master. I think those kinds of games are going to get cranked out, for sure, at a high speed in 2022. 

44:44 • Tom
That’s pretty cool. It seems like we’re  going from the basic spectrum to the full-fledged game. We have Gods Unchained. We have Parallel, which is sick, and then we’re getting more into the immersive games, like as Axies grows and Illuvium comes out and as Ember Sword goes live – there’s a whole swath of games – but to your point, it seems like we’re little bit of a ways out, for sure, but it’s cool though, right? Because the community members get to opine the entire way and get involved in the whole process instead of just being dropped a game at the end of a couple years.

45:14 • Bored Elon
Honestly, if you are a part of a gaming community, part of the development process, and something that you mentioned or something that you wanted a developer to implement in a game, does in fact end up in the final/public version, if you will, that’s going to make you such a powerful advocate for that game. You’re going to have a sense of ownership that you just can’t really experience in the traditional games world. The emerging, blockchain gaming startups right now that are truly listening and implementing user feedback – they are building some of the most powerful advocates in gaming. Those people will do two things. One: they will onboard new players to that particular franchise. Two: they’ll play an important role in educating the next wave of gamers who are curious about blockchain gaming but aren’t quite ready to jump in. If you think about the adoption curve, we are way on the left right now, the early adopters. 

46:12 • Bored Elon
The next big wave is ready. We need to go from 1 million active players to 10 million to 100 million. That is going to require a lot of education. It can’t just come from the games themselves. It has to come from fellow players because they don’t come in with a perceived bias or incentive to make a lot of money by just bringing in new players. They can be that trustworthy peer that is going to help educate people on how to do things like set up a web wallet, how to buy assets in a game, how to sell them, how to do all these things that maybe right are a bit intimidating to the average game player. 

46:48 • Tom
Shifting to multiplayer and AI gaming, it’s definitely a topic we’re talking about. I actually, I talk a lot with Aaron McDonald at Altered State Machine for this, (full disclosure we’re investors there) they give you the ability to own an AI model through an NFT, but it scared the shit out of me to begin with because of the implications of AI there, but it also seemed really cool because instead of having an AI that’s built within a traditional game, like messing around with the Grand Theft Auto players that are just messing with you in the game, you can have anybody train an AI and insert that into a game using your own model. Then, you’re playing a very dynamic version of AI in gaming that might not be a real player. The AI side is super interesting, but we’d love your take on, where we’re going to see AI in multiplayer gaming within crypto. 

47:38 • Bored Elon
Oh man, you opened up Pandora’s box. I also very much enjoy Aaron McDonald and everything they’re building. I imagine a world where you’re going to have basically two tiers of players. First tier is people who play in games that are competing against each other who are human. The second tier is going to be people who are managing AI robots that are acting as if they are human playing against other AI robots that are acting as if they are human. It’s sort of like auto battlers versus human versus human. Now, the bad part is if somehow people are able to do human versus AI gaming, because then, obviously one would assume that the AI will eventually beat the human. That is both unfair and not fun. Also, it will quickly kill a game ecosystem if that happens. I think it’s on the game publishers to closely monitor this future scenario to make sure that they’re not necessarily dismissing AI from their game ecosystems, but they’re very transparent and clear that people are either playing against an AI or they’re playing against the human to keep things equal and fair. 

48:55 • Bored Elon
The problem, I sense though, is that if gaming AI gets smart enough to be undetectable where you don’t know if it’s a person or a robot, is that, of course, people will naturally jump into play-to-earn games and just have robots do all the grinding for them while they sit back and make money. That’s going to destroy blockchain gaming. That’s going to be a really bad situation. I am very understanding of why you are scared of some of the AI tools that are being built, but I don’t think it’s something we can avoid. So, like I said, I think it’s about working collectively as a blockchain gaming industry to make sure that we have clear lanes for where it’s okay to do that and where it’s not. And, if you’re someone who’s in the gaming space, like a streamer or a top e-sports competitor, and you’ve got a reputation to lose, then you’re going to be held to a very high standard to make it very clear if you are leveraging any kind of AI to play your games, because people will not look kindly upon that activity. 

49:56 • Tom
I like your framing. AI vs. AI is fun. Obviously, watching it and potentially risking whether it’s betting or risking your assets themselves with all the experience you’ve built is super interesting. Player to player is the norm and that’s awesome too. Do you think there’s any way to combat the AI going undetected? Would that just come down to watching somebody on a Twitch stream, but that obviously impacts being pseudonymous or anonymous? How do we combat that?

50:21 • Bored Elon
I definitely encourage any founder I’m talking to who’s building things in AI to make it really easy for their technology to  disclose that it is AI. Aaron’s a good example of that. He’s building something (and people should  check out Altered State Machine after this pod), but I think he’s building something that is going to make it very simple for people to understand when an AI is initiated and when it is not, but there will be bad actors who don’t take that path. I think it’s just on us as a community to root that out. Because all of this potentially is happening on-chain, I think that folks will develop a system of tools and signals that they can look for that will show that something is not human. It’s the uncanny valley effect. 

51:11 • Bored Elon
We’re getting really close to being able to basically create 3d humans that look super legitimate. There’s always like a little thing that’s off, right? You’re like, “Oh no, that’s CGI.” We’re not quite there. Something just isn’t quite right. There’s going to be signals like that and people will build AI to root out other AI. Especially when the stakes are high, when people are betting or money is involved. I think the community will police itself, and hopefully we’ll  reach a balance where this type of nefarious AI usage is squashed. I think AI in general outside of gaming is super scary and we don’t quite know the ramifications of how it’s going to change society. So, we’re talking about something that’s less important. This is not Skynet taking over the planet. It’s just people  cheating at video games. So, hopefully we’ll make it through this period.

52:14 • Tom
I’m sure there’ll probably also be ways to just slash people’s stake or experience or reputation. Also, the social impact of, “Hey, this person cheated,” is huge. 

52:23 • Bored Elon
Absolutely. It’s like a chess player if someone finds out that they were using assistance, or like a poker player who’s got an earpiece in their ear and they’re getting tips. Once you’re labeled with that scarlet letter of using AI when you’re not supposed to, you’re done. Even if you’re a pseudonym you’re done because you lose your reputation and you have to start all over and that’s a very expensive proposition. I think people will be naturally incentivized not to use AI in gaming in ways that are not appealing or acceptable. 

52:58 • Tom
That’s pretty cool. I agree. When you’re thinking through young kids gaming and a crypto Web3 fashion, it seems to me that a lot of these people will be able to just stay home, never go to college, skip high school and just make a boatload of money. Is that too utopian of a view? Obviously it has to come at the cost of someone, right? That cost might be other users or it might be native token issuance or something like that. Do you think that we’re actually going to have like a mass of kids that just literally game and Web3 crypto, earn money, and that’s their life?

53:32 • Bored Elon
I think that it is going to be a number that’s much bigger than it is today. What percentage of society that ends up being is TBD, but I’ve thought about this a lot and the societal impacts of it. Where my thinking goes is, I think about people who work for corporations right now. Packy McCormick has written about this – the idea of the great online game. You go work for a company that sells a product that is not “essential.” Maybe it’s fizzy drinks, maybe it’s luxury watches, maybe it’s really expensive cars. Maybe it’s fashionable clothing. These are not things that anyone needs to survive, right? But they are products that people demand, and there are hundreds of thousands of millions of people who work for those companies that make that stuff. 

54:16 • Bored Elon
Now, one could argue, none of them really have to do that work. They just do it because they get paid, and they get paid because people want that stuff. But, if people want stuff that lives in a game or lives in a digital format and not in a physical format, what’s to say that all those people who work in those companies that make things that no one thinks are essential – what’s to say that work can’t just shift to being in a video game? The output is kind of the same. You’re just giving people happiness and entertainment in a different way, or status in a different way. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect that. You’ll have lots of people just earning money in a game and that will be their job. It will look different than what we have today, but ultimately they’re just clicking buttons in a different way. Instead of clicking buttons in an Excel spreadsheet or in a PowerPoint, they’re clicking buttons in a video game. Ultimately, is their contribution to society any less important or respectable? I would argue no.

55:09 • Tom
That’s pretty cool.  It’s scary and fun. It reminds me of that movie Surrogates with Bruce Willis, where there’s all those humanoid remote controlled robots, and when he ventures out into the real world for once, it’s a big deal.

55:21 • Bored Elon
It’s the craziest thing because we have advanced our technology over time so much. If we had today’s technology in 1900, the work week would be like two hours. We don’t have to work as much as we do. We choose to because we want to maximize profits. The reality is, as technology evolves, we’re not necessarily going to have to do human labor as much to get the things we need. The question is, “Well, how are we going to spend our time?” That time will naturally gravitate towards things that make us money, as well. Gaming is a really great place for that to be. It might emerge in a lot of different areas in the metaverse or whatever this world is that we’re creating. I think the scenario you paint is realistic. It is very hard for people to understand today and may be scary, but I am banking on the fact that it will happen. 

56:17 • Bored Elon
I think that folks like you and I can do our best to educate people and make sure it goes down a positive path and a fulfilling path where it’s contributing to society, or at least not harming it. And, if we’re doing that, that prevents people who are purely in it for just maximizing profit or worse, causing harm to people through control or some other negative things that we don’t want in society. 

56:42 • Tom
I totally agree. One line of questioning I have for you before we hop is on monetization and participation and rewarding users across various levels. I really want to get your thoughts on play-to-earn and maybe even just the Web3 side of membership and monetization. Is there any perfect model to incentivizing your players and users and, hopefully builders and creators and coming over to help use a game and build a game, or is it really, nuanced game to game? Obviously games are insanely dynamic, so I doubt there’s any perfect play here, but I think there’s probably some guiding principles that we could look for on the incentivization side.

57:26 • Bored Elon
I  look at it as player ownership as the big umbrella term that I typically use that encapsulates where we’re going with blockchain gaming. Player ownership means that players have a stake in the game that they contribute to or participate in. Within player ownership, I think you have a lot of different subsets of monetization and play-to-earn is one of them. Not everyone has a bag of crypto or money to spend to own assets outright, but they do have time. And, if time is a currency, they use that time to grind and take certain actions in a game and eventually they reach player ownership.  I think that’s just one path, and I think it’s a really popular one right now that you’re seeing  across blockchain gaming, and it works. It isn’t going to be the only one, though. I think there’s going to be a lot of different schemes that work that ultimately give people ownership in a game. 

58:21 • Bored Elon
I personally struggled with the phrasing (I’m a words guy) and the play-to-earn phrasing troubles me only because it seems to overemphasize the ‘earn’ part instead of the ‘play,’ like earning is the outcome. For me, I think about video games as entertainment and as a form of a play, that is really also an art form. I struggle with that terminology, but I also feel like it’s really simple to understand, and it’s obviously being used quite a bit today. So, I applaud all the folks that have used that meme to bring more people into the game ecosystem. But, again, my personal thesis is that player ownership ultimately is the goal that is going to reward both the players themselves and the publishers of video games. We’ll start to see lots of different paths to that end point. 

59:21 • Tom
That’s pretty cool. What’s a game right now in crypto that you think has completely nailed player incentives? Is there any out there today that you think just absolutely crushed it? 

59:30 • Bored Elon
I think you and I spend a bunch of time studying the space and the reality is there’s a lot of projects in progress. Full-on games are not quite there though, so there’s not a ton of examples to reference. To that, I’m quite excited about – if I can show some of my investments – one is Foxy Tactics. So, for anyone that’s played a turn-based strategy game, similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Advanced Wars, it’s like that. You own your individual characters and there’s all sorts of in-game items and tokens. It’s the ‘simple to understand, hard to master’ type game. With their game, which is launching in the next few months, you’re going to see a really great example of economics combined with fun. My favorite part of it is you can just play the game for free. 

01:00:19 • Bored Elon
You don’t have to have any involvement in ownership whatsoever. If you just want to play against the computer or other players, you can do that. However, if you want to actually invest in the platform and own assets, you can do that as well. I think that’s going to be a very common scenario where you don’t restrict anyone from playing your game which they think is fun, but you add another layer of economy that helps people who are more hardcore to participate in a more substantial way. The other game to flag is Sipherian Surge, and they’re at sipher.xyz. Speaking of memes becoming reality, their characters are Doge and cats. It’s like  a riot style League of Legends game where you’ve got different characters who are across a map and they’re trying to achieve certain goals and battle against other teams. I think they’re one of the most interesting games in development right now with a massive team and a really wonderful story. 

01:01:16 • Bored Elon
I bought up a bunch of siphers myself. I see a lot of potential there. I certainly recommend people check it out either as an investment or as a player who wants to get involved. Those two are ones I would highlight.

01:01:29 • Tom
I’ll definitely check them out after the podcast. One thing we have to cover is Meta Mars which is one of your projects that is close to launching. I don’t want to take away the subject line from you, so I’ll let you go. What has you so excited here?

01:01:39 • Bored Elon
Metta Mars is my own  gaming experience. It’s more of like a light casual game, but, earlier in 2021, I released Mars coins which were a collectible that I put out there that granted access to my private Discord so we could connect as a community. What that has evolved to is an online arcade basically called Metta Mars, and Metta Mars is going to be like a lot of classic games that people have played in old school arcades, like shooters, racing games… things like if you walked into a 1985 arcade, these types of games are the ones that you will see on Metta Mars. The beauty of it is it’s going to be a no-loss arcade. If you imagine this idea of putting a quarter in an arcade machine and playing, and then getting the quarterback, that’s how Metta Mars is going to work. 

01:02:28 • Bored Elon
However, the unique elements of it is that all the money that is being held in that arcade machine from thousands of different players is going to be earning yield because, as we know, crypto offers much more substantial yield than a traditional bank account. What’s going to happen is, the top players who are scoring the most and excelling at particular games, they are going to be eligible to win prizes composed of that yield that has been earned. Worst case scenario, you’re going to play a fun game and you’re going to get your money back. Best case scenario, you’re going to win a really nice prize pool that came from all the interest that was earned from other players. That’s  the general idea and how the economy is going to work. We’re targeting launching with a few games in the next few months and, down the road, we want to keep adding more and more games to the equation. 

01:03:12 • Bored Elon
If anyone’s interested in  checking it out and being part of the Discord as we  build publicly, pick up a Mars coin and that’ll grant you access to the Discord. We’ve got a couple thousand really awesome people in there who chat about Metta Mars but also everything else related to crypto, NFTs, and anything else that you can degen into in the Web3 space.

01:03:32 • Tom
That’s pretty cool. Is it similar to the Pool Together model where your deposits earn yield and a winner can earn that, like a lossless lottery? 

01:03:43 • Bored Elon
That’s pretty much it’s like DeFi gaming. Instead of just a lottery, it’s more skills-based so the people who are the best players will be rewarded with the yield or the pool. Instead of it being a random raffle.

01:04:01 • Tom
That’s pretty cool. So, if you have their stakes, you can punish them if they cheat or something like that. The only question is the fees on depositing into DeFi if people are only depositing small amounts of money, but I guess that’s solvable somehow.

01:04:15 • Bored Elon
We talked about Layer Two, so we’re investigating the best option for that, but yeah, 100%.  If someone’s throwing a hundred bucks into this thing, we don’t want gas fees to eat up half of that or more so that will need to be resolved for sure. 

01:04:29 • Tom
So instead of building one game, you’re going to build a giant collection of mini games?

01:04:34 • Bored Elon
Exactly. We’re going to start off with our own mini games and, down the road, we actually want to open it up for third parties to also have their games featured in Metta Mars. In a way, we want to become like an app store for mini games that are both created by Metta Mars but also by other game developers who want to be featured on the site. That’s the reason it’s called Metta Mars, because it isn’t just our gaming experience. It’s going to be connecting you to other blockchain games out there as well. We felt like leaning into the casual gaming space would make more sense because it’s more approachable for people who are not hardcore gamers and also, frankly, cost of development is just more lean. It’s easier to pump out lots of small games versus going for a very large experience. 

01:05:25 • Bored Elon
It’s a bit of a side project, to be honest. Going with simpler games that already exist and people are familiar with…it just makes a lot of sense right now. 

01:05:33 • Tom
Awesome. Bored, it’s incredible having you on, man. I think it’s just so savage that you created a meme account and you turn that into such a large following and now you’re leveraging  your traditional game experience and your following to not only invest and advise games, but clearly to create your own. It’s just really nice to see you do that because a lot of people that have mega followings, to your point, sell out a little too early, and it’s just nice to see. Really appreciate you coming on, man, and super excited for Metta Mars, and definitely going to check out Sipher and the other place you mentioned as well, man. Definitely hopping off to check them out right now. 

01:06:06 • Bored Elon
Thanks for having me and all the great education you provide to me and lots of other folks out there who are going down the rabbit hole every day and don’t know where to look. You act as a very good filter to make sure we’re spending time on things that are important. Big thanks to you.

01:06:21 • Tom
I love being in the space and appreciate it. So, until next time, we’ll definitely have you on again soon.

Show Notes: 

(00:00:00) – Introduction.

(00:02:27) – The journey of being a pseudonym.

(00:06:23) – Transitioning into crypto. 

(00:08:27) – The benefit of being pseudonymous.

(00:11:29) – Using reputation to build versus chasing quick money.

(00:13:44) – Traditional gaming shifting to the Web3 model. 

(00:18:27) – Traditional gaming versus Web3 gaming.

(00:25:54) – Attracting talent from traditional gaming.

(00:27:28) – How game communities can contribute to building.

(00:31:29) – What a successful Web3 game needs.

(00:36:35) – Thoughts on the sheer amount of games coming out. 

(00:39:02) – Games on specific L1s and L2s.

(00:42:24) – Realistic timelines for immersive full-fledged crypto games.

(00:46:49) – Multiplayer and AI gaming.

(00:53:00) – The societal impact of our next generation earning from games.

(00:56:43) – Game monetization and play-to-earn models. 

(01:01:32) – Overview of MetaMars.

(01:05:34) – Closing.