New Account for Splinterlands Posts & My Goals / Thought Process
I have set up this new Hive account @yabapmatt.sps to post things related to Splinterlands and SPS governance proposals. Even though I haven't posted anything on my main @yabapmatt account in years, I do still hold out hope that some day I will have time to blog about various non-SPL topics so I thought it would be good to separate out Splinterlands posts to another account. Anyone can easily verify that this account was created by @yabapmatt on any Hive block explorer and be assured that it is really my account.
As mentioned on a recent Town Hall, I would like to start submitting some SPS governance proposals personally, as a player and community member, rather than on behalf of the Splinterlands organization for two reasons. First - I see myself as a player and community member first and foremost and I try to make sure I always approach product design and changes from that perspective rather than from a "business" perspective (although, in the long run I think those perspectives should align). Second, my thoughts are not always reflective of everyone in the organization (many of whom are also very active players and community members), so I don't want to presume to speak for them or make them feel pressured to support proposals that the organization is making.
With that being out of the way, before I post anything else I would like to talk about my overall vision, goals, and how I think about growing and improving Splinterlands in general. Hopefully that background will help in discussing future ideas with the community, which I would like to do more of going forward. Again, this is me as a player and community member, and when I say "we", unless otherwise specified, I mean everyone who is part of this community.
To start, I want to be very clear that my ultimate goal and absolute top priority is to bring as much demand and utility as possible to all Splinterlands assets, sustainably, over the long term. I believe the path to achieving that goal is through building the best possible products and being very careful and realistic about how we - the entire community - allocate our limited resources. That is what I spend the majority of my life thinking about and working on, and that is what guides my decisions and thought processes that I will discuss below.
Tokenomics vs. Gameplay
In order to succeed, we need to be very realistic and honest with ourselves about why people play Splinterlands and spend money in the game rather than the multitudes of other games on the market.
Even though many of us might like to believe otherwise, I believe that the reality is that it's more about the tokenomics than the gameplay. By tokenomics, I don't mean how much ROI you can earn every month, but more generally how players can gain value for themselves sustainably over the long term by participating in this ecosystem, and having fun while doing it.
That doesn't mean that gameplay isn't important, though. Gameplay is very important. Splinterlands absolutely must be a fun, engaging, and challenging game for it to be successful, but we have to understand and clearly acknowledge that gameplay is not what gives us our edge. It's not our defining thing. It's not the thing that makes us rise above and stand out amongst the hundreds of thousands of other games competing for attention.
What makes Splinterlands different from every traditional game, and from even most other blockchain-based games, is our tokenomics. I believe we are ahead of nearly every game in the entire world in this area, but we need to be constantly experimenting and improving in order to stay there.
Long term success requires both great gameplay and great tokenomics. Gameplay is the product that drives value to the tokens (both fungible and non-fungible). Tokenomics without a product is unsustainable. The question then becomes how to split resources between those two things.
Blockchain-based game tokenomics is an entirely new field in which we are still very early and just barely scratching the surface of what is possible. We need to experiment and figure out what works and what doesn't and we need to do it before anyone else does. On the other hand, creating fun and engaging gameplay is a very mature field with plenty of resources and examples of exactly what works and what doesn't.
I have seen a number of blockchain-based games take the route of focusing mostly on gameplay because they know how to do that and it's easier. It's not hard to find game designers and developers with decades of traditional game experience, but it's nearly impossible to find any with decentralized tokenomics experience. What ends up happening in those cases is that you get a decent game (often a clone of a popular existing game) but with basic tokenomics sort of bolted on top of it, which makes for a clunky and disjointed experience overall.
I believe that we should take a different approach. I think we need to build the gameplay and the tokenomics to fit together and support each other from the ground up. I want Splinterlands to be the first real game that fully embraces the decentralized, web3 ideology at its core with an economy that fairly spreads value among all participants. Part of that means having a fun and engaging product - the gameplay - to support the tokenomics, and I recognize that. I am a gamer and I am here to build games that I love to play and not defi apps.
I know that the Splinterlands team absolutely plans to constantly improve the gameplay and add new types of gameplay when and where they can, but that is only one piece of this project and I think it's important that it is prioritized accordingly. That is what I feel is realistically the best way to achieve our long term goal.
Again, the tokenomics is where we have the advantage. It's where we shine. It's our opportunity to beat the competition and become a leader not just of the blockchain-based gaming market, but of the entire traditional gaming market as well.
I also recognize that some people may not agree with this, and that's totally fine. This isn't for everyone. Splinterlands is a big experiment that is constantly growing and changing with a very uncertain future in an attempt to blaze a trail into the future of gaming. Some people may not be interested in something like that, or disagree with our plan to try to get to our goal, and for those people there are many other great game products, both traditional and blockchain-based, that may be a better fit.
I talked about us needing to innovate and be a leader in this space in the previous section, and while we are doing many new and innovative things in Splinterlands, one of our biggest innovations, in my opinion, which extends to the entire cryptocurrency space and not just gaming, is the concept of the product-backed stablecoin.
Stablecoins are an incredibly important piece of the crypto ecosystem, and all of them are backed either by other assets or by algorithms, or a combination of both. The algorithms have repeatedly failed, some quite spectacularly, and the ones backed by other assets also have their drawbacks. We are pioneering a completely new way to back a stablecoin - with products - which I believe could single-handedly bring a huge amount of attention and value into the Splinterlands ecosystem.
The only problem is that we haven't gotten it to work yet. This is because there aren't enough products that are priced in it for it to maintain a stable value. For it to succeed and have the chance to bring the attention and value into the ecosystem that I think it can, it doesn't just need to reach "par" value, it needs to have significant and constant demand so that it stays at or slightly above 1000 DEC per $1 USD nearly all of the time.
For that to happen, we need as many products as possible priced in DEC, and preferably where the DEC is either burned or is locked up and off the market. The Splinterlands organization has been doing everything it reasonably can to help make that happen, including foregoing significant amounts of revenue by accepting DEC at par for packs despite it trading significantly below that on third-party markets, but the company can only do so much due to its need for non-DEC revenue to pay employees and other expenses.
The DAO is in a unique position where it has a significant amount of products to sell, and since it does not have expenses it can hold on to any tokens it earns indefinitely. In order for this to work, the community needs to be aligned, and the DAO needs to help out. The Splinterlands organization will continue to do everything it can to drive more utility to the DEC token through in-game products, and I sincerely hope the community understands the importance of this opportunity and helps to support these goals through pricing the DAO's products in DEC as well going forward.
This entire project is basically exploring a completely new and uncharted frontier, so it's unrealistic to expect that initial implementations or initial plans will be the best way to achieve our goals - they are merely the best that were thought of at the time. As time goes on, better ways will be found to achieve the goals of growing the utility and value of the assets over the long term, and it would be silly not to implement them just because they weren't thought of earlier.
I, of course, realize that people make decisions based on how things are currently implemented or how they are announced, and it can sometimes be difficult or annoying to deal with changes, but like it or not that's just part of what comes with this type of project. Everyone who participates in this ecosystem should be 100% clear that things will change quickly and often any time there is an opportunity to improve the product and achieve the goals, and that should be taken into account whenever making any decisions regarding the game.
I would also like to note that this is not unusual. It is a common thing that many startups and organizations do when they're trying new things to give them the best chance of success. "Fail fast" is the saying and it means that you need to try as many different things as you can and figure out what has failed and what has succeeded quickly and then repeat.
Obviously, it's best to stick to what was announced as much as reasonably possible and not change things just for the sake of changing things, but whenever there is an opportunity that will likely lead to a better overall product we, as a community, should not hesitate to move forward with it just because it was previously announced or implemented in a different way.
As a player and community member I personally wouldn't want it any other way.
I want to reiterate the overall goal of driving as much demand and utility as possible to the Splinterlands assets sustainably over the long term. This goal drives everything that I do, and any future changes or proposed changes via governance proposals that I make are because I believe that they will help to achieve that goal.
I look forward to engaging with the community more in the future as a player and community member to discuss ideas and I hope that this post helps to get everyone on the same page about our goals as an organization and helps to drive the discussions in a constructive way.
Finally, I want to sincerely thank everyone reading this for being a part of this community and coming along with us on this crazy journey!
NOTE: All rewards from this post will go to @sps.dao