A pioneer of NFT games in Japan talks about the future game ecosystem and NFT/blockchain

NFT, blockchain, cryptos. We are seeing more and more of these keywords on the Internet and in the business magazines that line bookstores. Why NFT now? We interviewed Mr. Ueno, the representative of double, a pioneer of blockchain games in Japan.

Speaker Profile

Hironobu Ueno

CEO, double
He has participated in building the infrastructure for numerous financial systems at Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Previously, he served as an executive officer and technical fellow at mobcast Inc., where he led the design and development of platform and game servers, and the development infrastructure for smartphone games.
He founded double in April 2018.
The upper tier of its chasm is aware of NFT, but only a few is actually owning and operating them, what do you think is needed to make NFTs and blockchains more commoditized?
There are a number of things that need to be done to cross the chasm, but it still takes time to increase user literacy. thanks to the attention in 2021, the awareness of the term NFT has increased dramatically, but it took a few years for the term NFT to be recognized. Even if there is something new and interesting, it is hard for people to work on something that requires a learning cost.
In general, I think the game world is an industry where new technologies are relatively easy to accept. However, even so, when it comes to mass adoption, people tend to learn the technical literacy of the new technology only when they find out that a work they are very interested in (a major IP) will be adapted to the new technology. Then, after the literacy level has been raised to a certain extent, users will finally buy the product to try it out. Once they buy the product, they get used to it, but I think it takes time for them to take this first step.
In terms of corporate examples, I believe that many companies are interested in and working on this under the surface, but Japanese companies in particular are very precedent-oriented, so if some major company discovers a successful business model as a pioneer, I believe that many companies will work on it at once.
Although we know that if we succeed as a pioneer, we will be able to create a great advantage, many companies are unable to take the first step.
Your company has been working in the field of NFT and blockchain for the past four years. Why did you decide to specialize in this field?
Around 2017, as a game creator, I started to feel closedness in the social game industry. It was the period when you could make a hit with a simple idea on a small scale in a short period of time had come to an end, and the industry had changed to an era where profits were generated by distributing large, high-quality games with a lot of budget and time on a global scale.
At the end of 2017, when I felt that it was more interesting to have a global impact even in a small market, a game called "CryptoKitties" became popular. This inspired the concept of NFT. It was just a game of collecting cats, but when I saw how enthusiastic people gets, I thought it sounded interesting and founded the company in April 2018.
I felt that NFT had a future, but to be honest, I didn't expect it to come all at once like last year. I think the reason for the sudden spread of NFT's fame has something to do with the fact that COVID-19 has increased remote work and communication over the Internet.
Why do you think blockchain and Metaverse and fashion are a good match?
We all know that 80% of fashion is about how does your face and body shape look like to others. In the world of the metaverse, face and body are just parameters. If you want tweak your face and body shape, you can. In the real world, the days of distinguishing people by their faces, body shapes, and hairstyles are over, and in a world where faces and body shapes are similar, clothing is the key to identity.
In the digital world, people will dress a little more conspicuously because it is difficult to distinguish between them. Therefore, I believe that this is where people who are really interested in fashion spend their money. They start to choose conspicuous fashions that they could not challenge in the real world to form their identity in the world of the metaverse.
It's a world where any fashion can be worn immediately at the touch of a button, and I expect more people to spend their money here.
Thus, the fashion industry will probably be larger in the digital fashion market than in the real fashion market, in the context of the metaverse, NFT.
In that sense, will there be more platforms in the metaverse?
The metaverse is a bit of a buzzword right now, but each business will come up with its own metaverse, and I think the result will be a world of multiverses. While there are many different metaverse in the world, of course, you don't stop at one metaverse, but you go back and forth between multiple metaverse. In such a situation, it is necessary to have a neutral position as to which company certifies that the avatar wears the same clothes as the brand in the metaverse produced by each company. This is where the blockchain comes to life as a neutral database. If the blockchain database stores which brand of clothes you are wearing, any company can refer to that information and link the clothes you wear to your avatar.
So, the more metaverse is put out by different companies, the more blockchain will be used to determine who will manage that neutral data. NFT as a hub for the multiverse is probably the right way to look at it.
Do you think there will be new companies that are not existing GAFAs?
Of course, GAFA will continue to play its role, but I feel that it will be divided. There is a dilemma of innovation, and the question is whether to profit from the so-called Web 3.0 world or the Web 2.0 world, but in reality, I think Web 3.0 and Web 2.0 will coexist. In reality, I believe that Web 3.0 and Web 2.0 coexist in the same world. For existing major web 2.0 businesses, the right way to do business is to use the new concept of web 3.0. On the other hand, web3.0 alone will not make things happen, and the decentralized entity of web3.0 will also use the tools of web2.0. So both web2.0 and web3.0 will be using each other.
About double
NFT・ブロックチェーンゲーム専業開発会社として、2018年4月3日に設立。「My Crypto Heroes」「BRAVE FRONTIER HEROES」などのブロックチェーンゲームの開発や、大手コンテンツホルダー向けにNFTの発行販売やゲーム、メタバース連携を支援するNFT事業支援サービス「NFTPLUS」を提供。複数人で秘密鍵を管理できるビジネス向けNFT管理サービス「N Suite」の提供・開発を行っております。

Writer's Comments

Tracing the history of NFT, found out that the idea originated in Japan. Perhaps it is the language barrier, but I can't help but feel gap when I see the current global NFT boom and the excitement in Japan. In such a situation, Mr. Ueno is looking at this industry from the same perspective as overseas players. He started developing NFT games several years ago and is now a leader in the industry. After listening to Mr. Ueno's talk, I would like to pay attention to the new consumer behavior that will unfold in the new ecosystem that combines games, the metaverse, and NFT.

Interviewer Profile

Natsuko Mitsugi

Pivot Tokyo
Director of Pivot Tokyo. Founder of D2C Summit, and NFT Summit Tokyo. She also runs an English preschool called GKCors to encourage more people from Japan to take on global challenges



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