Kouta OzawaCEO, CryptoGames
- After working on various game titles and game media at CyberAgent, he founded CryptoGames Inc. He has been developing and operating "CryptoSpells", the first blockchain x trading card game in Japan.
- What do you think of this trend, as a person who has been involved in NFT since 2018?
- Originally, NFTs began in 2017 with the birth of "Cryptokitties", an ERC721-based NFT; since the beginning of 2018, a series of speculative NFTs have been launched, which are too simple to be called games, and simply trade images. In the midst of all this, in October 2018, the Japanese blockchain game My Crypt Heroes was released and became the world's largest DAU on ETH. I feel that Mycrypto's achievement is to sublimate it into a game-specific ecosystem, which until now was mostly speculative. I think the key point was that we designed it so that you could not only buy and sell NFTs, but also acquire more items in the game by having NFTs, or complete more quests and get more rewards. We sublimated that ecosystem into a card game called "Cryptosperms". Compared to conventional analog and digital card games, card games using blockchain technology have advantages in terms of assets, trade, secondary distribution market, ease of starting, and scalability.
We run not only games but also an NFT market called "NFTStudio". It is legally difficult for a Japanese company to sell NFTs in virtual currency or to receive remuneration in virtual currency. In such a situation, NFT Studio is a platform that allows you to receive compensation in Japanese yen through card payment, and it is an NFT market specialized for Japanese IP companies such as LINE Blockchain and Content-Ethereum. We are also supporting other IP companies to build their own credible NFT markets.
In 2021, as the phrase "play to earn" has become popular, we believe that NFT games and FT as a reward are inseparable. Until now, Japanese companies have not been able to issue FTs as rewards and have lagged behind the global market. After sorting out the legal and tax aspects last year, Cryptogames plans to issue an FT called TCG Coin in early 2022. With that, we are now developing a group of games based on FT. The concept of TCGVerse is to create a game world that can be played with all NFTs, as we believe that it will be difficult to make a hit as a coin even if we create the same thing as Axie in addition to Cryptospells. Users will be able to actually play the game not just for its value as an image, but for its art and icons. Also, when you actually play this game, you will get TGC coins as rewards.
- You said that Japanese companies are lagging behind global companies. What are the strengths of Japanese companies in this situation?
- Japan is known as "IP heaven" and I feel that there are many IPs that can be used globally. I believe that if game companies that are conducting NFT research and development at this stage come in, they will be able to compete globally. On the other hand, foreign companies also recognize that Japanese IP can be used globally and buy Japanese companies for MG. In other words, it can be said that Japanese IP is being taken over by overseas companies. However, I think there is an innovation dilemma for large companies, as they do not want to take the risk of coming into our market even though they are making money from their existing businesses. When we announced our collaboration with Hatsune Miku, there was quite a flare up about environmental issues and so on. As such, they tend not to want to bother entering the market with the risk of losing their reputation. There is also the background that Japanese companies are not allowed to receive rewards from cryptos.
- At this stage, are most of the users of your games Japanese?
- Yes, the majority are Japanese. Culturally, there are not many native English speakers, and they play in Japanese. While overseas, the mainstream is to play for a long time, about 40 minutes per game, in Japan the mainstream is to play for about 3 minutes per game, and I have the impression that there are many people who play on the train. In Japan, a game lasts only about three minutes, and many people play on the train. This and other factors have prevented the game from adapting to the global market. The community has been built mainly in Japanese. From now on, we would like to create such a community based on English.
- NFT is currently popular in the context of art, but what should we do to promote NFT in Japan?
- I think that globalization will progress in a Galapagosized way, but I think it will evolve in a Japan-specific way, such as the LINE blockchain. In some cases, you can buy with LINE Pay, or buy with a credit card and send it via LINE, so you don't need a wallet by logging in with LINE. I believe that this trend of buying and selling digital goods without feeling like an NFT will become more widespread in the future. In addition to selling NFTs, LINE is also distributing NFTs for free through its official account. I have the impression that the use of NFTs as a means of promotion will increase in the future. However, the point that should not be overlooked is that the general public does not want NFTs very much. Basically, only crypto users buy NFTs, and I think they will gradually spread in the context of digital goods, but I don't think there will be an explosive boom in a short period of time.
- What is the ultimate goal for you?
- We haven't set a specific goal of what we will ultimately do, but since we have been playing card games for a long time, we would like to become No. 1 globally in terms of NFT x card games. Our main goal is to create a hit service like Aksy and then expand its economic sphere.
- About CryptoGames
- This venture company was founded in 2018 and has been in the NFT business for about 3 years. Initially, the company developed a game business using the cryptogame blockchain, releasing Cryptospells in 2019. Since the cards are NFT, there are less than 10 cards in the world that exist, and some of them are traded for millions of yen. In addition to games, they also run an NFT market called "NFTStudio". Using this know-how, we are also supporting other IP companies to build their own NFT markets with high credibility.
- Pivot Tokyo 主催。D2C Summit、NFT Tokyo 立ち上げ。日本からグローバルに挑戦する人を増やすため、GKCorsという英語の幼児教室の運営も。