Immutable’s CSO Justin Hulog Talks about NFT Games and the BlockchainSeptember 5, 2022
- Immutable Chief Studio Officer Justin Hulog discusses their projects with us such as their games, Layer 2 platform, the blockchain and many more.
- Gods Unchained is their Trading Card Game that allows players to collect NFT cards as well as allowing them to trade with other players.
- The Layer 2 platform is built on top of Ethereum which allows users to transact without having to pay for gas fees.
- Immutable Studios’ differentiates the Play and Earn and Play to Earn. Play and Earn focuses more the fun aspects of the game while earning as opposed to play to earn which is the main focus is playing the game to earn.
- Gods Unchained announces its Daily Play and Earn that has launched on August 31.
We’ve had a chance to sit down with Immutable Studios CSO and former Riot Games Southeast Asia General Manager Justin Hulog to discuss with him their projects at Immutable Studios, the pioneer of the world’s first NFT trading card game, Gods Unchained and the soon to release NFT RPG Guild of Guardians.
Gods Unchained and the Blockchain
Immutable started as a games studio and developed Gods Unchained which is the first NFT trading card game that lets players actually trade their cards with other players as opposed to just buying packs like most online trading card games. It is the first of its kind as most common online virtual TCG does not allow players to trade their with other players and the only way to earn new cards is buying packs or in-game rewards.
The game’s unique implementation of the blockchain presents new challenges. In regards to balancing, Justin says “When you’re designing a blockchain game, part of which you have to think about is what’s essential to be on the blockchain and what’s not essential to be on the blockchain. In this case, the decision that we made was to say the ownership, the card, actual sort of code that’s tied to the NFT will be on the blockchain but the balance and what that card actually does will be mutable, will actually be subject to balancing.”
Justin also did not shy away from discussing patching and even removing things from their NFT games saying that “Will we remove things from the game? The answer is probably yes. But I think it’s how you remove it that matters. Like you just nerf a card so that it doesn’t matter to a player and that all the work that they put into it is not worthwhile? That works in a free-to-play game because you didn’t really pay.” He continues, “When people commit to buying assets then you have to start thinking differently about how you balance them because you don’t want to create a system where people feel bad.”
Layer 2 Platform
Immutable chose Ethereum mainly from the simple fact is that is, “Where all of the action is, where the NFTs are sold, Ethereum is kind of where it is” according to Justin Hulog. Unfortunately, Ethereum has expensive gas fees and that’s what sets Immutable apart from other NFT trading marketplaces is their platform has $0 gas fees which means there’s no added fees or taxes you have to pay when buying the NFT. Gas fees are such a pain because sometimes the gas fee is even more expensive than the NFT itself. Their Layer 2 platform solution for Ethereum is built on top of Ethereum which enables users to have $0 gas fees when making transactions.
Utilizing their Layer 2 platform are their games, Gods Unchained and the upcoming Guilds of Guardians. As both uses it as a solution for the game’s economy.
Play and Earn
Justin emphasizes that their games are not Play to Earn but instead Play and Earn. He adds “This is an important distinction. All of them are Play and Earn and I know that that sounds like a marketing word but it’s actually really important to understand because I think your fundamental motivation is different. I think when you’re playing to earn, it’s really about playing – earning comes first.” then he continues “I am not interested in making games to pay out. I am interested in making games that are fun to play first.”
Guild of Guardians is playable instantly when it is released and if you decide along the road that you want to engage in the blockchain aspects of the game which includes guilds, crafting and marketplace and if you decide to engage with those aspects, the player can also do that. Gods Unchained is also designed this way where you can get starter decks for free and you get to win more packs. However, if the player decides to sell their cards, they can do so by engaging the marketplace that is connected to the blockchain. Engaging in the blockchain aspect is not necessary if the player chooses not to.
Daily Play and Earn with Gods Unchained
What differentiates Immutable Studios from other NFT games out there is that their games are Play and Earn as opposed to Play to Earn and now with the new daily Play and Earn Feature, you’ll be able to earn $GODS from Gods Unchained. Play up to 10 Ranked matches a day and you can generate Fragments which you can convert into $GODS and the first 3 wins of the day will give double fragments. You can find more details of how you can Play and Earn from Gods Unchained here.