NFTStudio24’s host, Andrea Ocampo, interviews Rob Carroll, the Head of BD of Double Coconut, which is a member of Blockchain Game Alliance to share his experience with Web3, blockchain gaming, and their involvement with Splinterlands.
Rob is a veteran game developer who has been in the industry for years. His extensive background working with LucasArts, Zynga, Tapjoy, and other games brought him enough experience to share his insights on game development, especially in Web3. In fact, Rob is among the early adopters of NFTs and crypto, back in 2017, when Cryptokitties came out.
Since then, he has been consistently building in both Web2 and Web3 with his team at Double Coconut. Some of the most famous projects that you might know include Heads Up, a famous game that was featured on the Ellen Show, and Splinderlands, a blockchain-based card game.
In this interview, he shares his journey into Web3, career advice, and future aspirations about the industry.
Entering the Web3 Universe
As mentioned above, Rob entered the Web3 space in 2017 when Cryptokitties was launched and the concept of NFTs was quite new. At the time, he was quite a skeptic about the new technology; nevertheless, he continued to see how it unfolded.
Later, when Cryptokitties blew up in 2020, Rob noticed a sudden surge of interest in blockchain games. Many game studios were releasing play-to-earn games and they looked quite convincing because they enabled users to have ownership over their assets.
Rob has been collecting physical trading cards and he also played Magic: The Gathering, which is one of the well-known card games in Web2. So, when the concept of NFT cards came out, he understood its value and demand in the market.
In 2021, Rob had the opportunity to work on a utility-based token project on Binance Smart Chain and later he got involved with many NFT projects that expanded his worldwide on blockchain technology.
Overall, it took him almost four years to become a believer in NFTs.
Educating masses about Web3 games
One of the biggest challenges in the Web3 gaming industry is mass adoption. Bringing people on board is quite hard because most of them think it’s a scam after they hear about the scams and Ponzi schemes within the space.
Rob believes that every industry has bad actors but that shouldn’t prevent anyone from adopting the new technology, so at Double Coconut, the team works with certain companies that simplify the onboarding process.
For mass adoption to ever happen, Rob recommends it’s important to remove barriers preventing it and move towards a smoother experience, and his team has been especially focusing on that during the game development process.
Partnership with Blockchain Game Alliance
NFTStudio24 asked Rob about his company’s partnership with Blockchain Game Alliance, which is an organization that is dedicated to educating and promoting blockchain technology in the game industry. “It’s a great organization. For game developers, it’s a community that gives you a place to announce what you’re working on to the industry.”
He believes this community is a great space for building gaming communities, connecting with people, finding career opportunities, and asking questions.
Web3 Education through Community building
Double Coconut is actively educating the masses about Web3 gaming by building communities for players. The company has its own Discord and an official Twitter account where they interact with users on a daily basis.
Rob has also been attending many podcast interviews, webinars, newsletters, and other informational channels where people are actually interested in learning about what they do.
Combating with misconceptions
Web3 is quite notorious for having bad actors but Rob believes this has become less common as scammers are now held accountable and there are many regulations being implemented by governments for a safer experience for users.
“We’ve been so much fortunate that the Bad actors are being exposed and removed from the ecosystem,” he said. “Once those are cleared out we’re all going to go into development with more transparency, control, and check balances.”
Rob is quite optimistic about the development side of the industry. Since he’s directly involved with many teams, he sees that even if the market is down, the developers are actively building to overcome current limitations and bring innovation to the blockchain world.
Career opportunities in Web3
Since Rob has so many years of experience we asked him about what career jobs are currently in-demand for young people. He shared that the industry is vast and it depends on what skills you have.
The first question to ask yourself is what is your passion? Or what’s your discipline? Once you realize your passion, you need to have a skill for it. For example, if you want to become a project manager, you can easily get a job managing a Discord community or a Telegram channel.
The key to establishing a career in Web3 is to create your own pathway of your passion and recognize the existing skillset you have.
Working with Splinterlands
Splinterlands is one of the most successful blockchain-based card games featuring NFT in-game assets. The Double Coconut team helped in the development of the game and Rob shared his experience with NFTStudio24.
He has been working with them for many couples of years and their success comes from “the thought they put into the game. They’ve built a very robust ecosystem and they have a lot of care about how they designed the tokenomics and the value proposition for users,” Rob shared.
Although Splinterlands is a challenging game for game developers at Double Coconut, the team had fun developing the tower defense game as part of its lore, according to Rob. Currently, the development has been continuously happening for four months.
“It was a great opportunity to build something for the community already there,” he said.
Web3 in 5 years
Rob shares his predictions of what the blockchain industry would look like in the next five years. He said that although the market is currently in a downturn and it will take some time to recover from the depression in value, the industry will eventually pick up once out of the economic pressures.
“Once we’re done cleaning up all the skeletons from a closet, we can start to rebuild there. It might be a six-month or even a two-year process to get things to build back up again,” he said.
When it comes to investment, he personally believes in investing in good teams with people with experience backgrounds, strong whitepaper, and a strong roadmap to bring that project to life because they have more real value. (This is not financial advice)
Future aspirations as a BGA member
Rob aims to keep building great games as a BGA member. The company isn’t looking to create its own blockchain, instead, it wants to explore new technology, protocols, and chains as partners with whom they can work as developers and contribute to the development of the overall Web3 world.
“We look forward to making really good experiences with good partners about the new technology,” He shared. “Blockchain Alliance is a community where we learn all these new features and technology that’s coming out.”
Rapid Fire questions
NFTStudio24 had a rapid-fire questions session with Rob:
Q. What are your predictions on Bitcoin prices in 2023?
A. I think it will go up. We’re at a low point of Bitcoin but it has a great store of value and I think people will be coming to it once the dust settles in the industry.
Q. Do you think traditional games will adopt NFTs in their ecosystem?
A. Yes, we’re seeing it already today. Once everything is settled, the larger developers will realize its value and incorporate it.
Q. What are metaverse games going to look like in 2050?
A. I hope it doesn’t look like Meta. I think our phones can be a great access point to the metaverse but I hope it isn’t consuming with all the VR headsets.
Q. Top 3 NFT games you like and why?
A. First would be Splinterlands because we’ve worked with them and it’s a great game. There’s another one coming out by Life Force Games that has a cool tower defense game and the stuff coming out from Yuga Labs.
Q. What is the most common utility that every Web3 game will adopt in the next ten years?
A. I think we need an easy onboard protocol for mass adoption. On the developer side, better analytics on how we interact with the blockchain.
Rob’s message to builders and creators
The interview wrapped up with Rob sharing an inspiring message for NFTStudio24 viewers.
“My best piece of advice is to go out and don’t wait for the right time. You try to time things and wait for that moment, I guarantee you will miss it if you’re waiting to start. You need to be at the forefront, you need to be creating, and if you don’t have a skillset, go on Youtube and learn. Go volunteer, join communities, talk with developers, offer your time, and build your skills with the project you think is fun.”
Rob also shared that he started off as a construction manager and now he’s a game designer, so advised viewers to go out and challenge themselves to follow their passion.
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