The Convergence ecosystem is a great deal more than the sum of its parts. Convergence is the inevitable natural progression of the technological merger of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Simulators, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Consumer Games, and Out of Home Entertainment. You get so much more by merging them all together. We want to knock down the artificial walled gardens that separate console from console, cell phone from arcade machine, theme park attraction from PC and standard screen interfaces from AR and VR Interfaces. We will make it possible for all of these devices to interact with each other in the same experience. We want to let players log into their account from any device and have their full inventory from all of the games they play at their disposal.
The Convergence team has intuitively been working toward this unavoidable neXus of technologies for more than 25 years; separately and Individually, consciously and at times unconsciously we have been developing what we are now calling the Silica neXus project. Based on what we are seeing in the entertainment industry, it seems that many others have been moving in this direction as well. You may have noticed the overlap growing through the years to this critical moment. All of the pieces are in place, and the technological capabilities of hundreds of millions of users is now at a level where we can finally implement the CORE, a set of tools and core infrastructure that will make this interaction possible.
What brought this team together — The Catalyst — occurred in 2014 when Facebook bought Oculus and the world turned its attention back to the promise of what VR could bring. We knew that reviving the head-mounted display (HMD) was not enough, it is after all, just one interface into a virtual world. We have been there and done that before. In the mid 90’s, my company, Alternate World Technology (AWT) was the world’s largest non-military HMD purchaser because our number one competition, Virtuality (W — Industries out of England) made their own custom HMD. Our VR machines appeared all over the world and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas became our crown jewel location. We learned that the HMD technology can excite the attention of the public, but CONTENT IS KING. Moving content from the mass market to VR will get a small fraction of the market, but if you really want to make an impact, you must have a great story and interactive game play; these crucial elements are a million times more powerful than cool technology. We also learned that where content is king, distribution of that content is GOD ALMIGHTY.
What we knew back then was the future would become this multi-verse, or meta-verse, with many different types of devices interacting into the same experiences. It is nearly impossible to describe a complex personal experience to someone that was not there. The sights, the smells, the feelings, the emotions, the joy, the exhilaration, the fear you get the first time you experience the unimaginable. In VR the saying goes, you just have to try it to understand it, that is even more true with Cross-Reality (XR). The best articulation of what we know the future to be was captured by Ernest Cline in Ready Player One.
Reading that book for most of our team was like Ernest lived and worked with us over the last 25 years. It was spooky to read it. Hats off, bow down, great job in showing the future! The funny part is, all of the hardware in the movie and the book exists today. People live their lives in World Of Warcraft (WOW), Second Life, EverQuest, and other video games just like he describes they will in the Oasis. The only thing that does not exist yet is a core infrastructure that will bring everything together into one combined launching portal where all the various planets or zones are the different games, genres and stories; and tying it all together is one global currency and marketplace for items across all experiences.
This operating infrastructure will grow not only from video games, but from evolving the internet into the ExperienceNet. In 1996, the few companies on the Internet were struggling with making their static web pages work. My team at Agora Technologies were developing the infrastructure for the future multiverse.
We created technology (as seen in our patents “Method for Managing the Simultaneous Utilization of Diverse Real-Time Collaborative Software Applications” US6941344B2 & US7237006B1), that evolved into a cornerstone for the modern day internet. But that was just a start. We need to go further into Contextual Based Interfaces and Blind Device Communication Theory, as well as, find THE way to have the masses adopt this technology because they love it, not because we made it.
In his book, Ernest describes that the Oasis started out as a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), however, it expands into educational, industrial, and medical worlds. People LIVE, WORK, LEARN and PLAY in the Oasis and unplug only to go to the bathroom, eat and sleep. This is very similar to the effects of the Internet and smartphones today, and it is not going away, only evolving. Today — in real life — medical, industrial, and educational VR and AR apps are all built with Video Game Engines like Unity3D and UnReal. This demonstrates that Ernest was correct in his description of how the future metaverse will evolve. As he writes, “People come to the OASIS for all the things they can do, but they stay because of all the things they can be”.
There are powerful advantages Convergence will gain by marrying the consumer game industry to the out-of-home entertainment industry. This will reduce the most difficult hurdle that any game developer must face, User Acquisition.
To give an example, Machine Zone built a game called Game of War: Fire Agein October 2012 to a mid-level response. It had cost roughly $200,000 in R&D to build. To change this, they spent $44,000,000 in 2014 for user acquisition to make it a hit regardless of its initial game play experience. That is 99.5% user acquisition costs. Admittedly a bit extreme, but “Player Acquisition Costs”, to get and retain players, run above 85% for most titles.
We originally decided to add a Blockchain Layer to our new operating framework for XR to eliminate the rampant fraud and theft that happens when players try to “cash out” some of their video game items. Kids can have hundreds of thousands of dollars in value of video game items in their accounts, not just because they bought some, but because they earned them or traded for them over the years as they play. As life happens, sometimes players need the cash more than they want the items so they can pay bills or because of emergencies that crop up out of nowhere (like the rent, who knew it was every month?). Today, the process is list items on Ebay, under risk your account may be banned, sell to someone on the internet, meet them in the game and transfer the item, then supposedly get paid via PayPal. Paypal’s rules state that they will not return money from a transaction over virtual goods. Now why do you think PayPal would have that arbitrary rule? Probably because the fraud problem with video game items to cash is massive, yet players put up with it because there is currently no alternative.
Our team figured if we had a “universal currency” (DROID Tokens) on the blockchain that was accessible in all games, (without hurting game performance), then the blockchain could control both sides of the transaction. Fraud in its current form would not be possible over the blockchain. Then non-fungible tokens (NFTs) became a thing. NFTs are Video Game Assets on the blockchain that players can own and trade outside the game. The implications are massive when you look at merging the consumer game industry with the out-of-home entertainment industry. For the first time, video game items can exist outside the video game and developers do not have to worry about fraudulent items, so they are willing to check them in and out of their game. But why would they? Games like World of Warcraft (WOW) earn $2B to $4B for Activision/Blizzard year over year. New games have an established model and path that has worked for decades. Why change what works when, on the surface it looks like it does not let you keep control over your players? That does not help game play. The answer is Player Acquisition. All games, new and old, have one thing in common, an insatiable appetite for more players. What if you could get those players FOR FREE? That would level the playing field between established AAA publishers and the 10M Indie developers. That solves the hardest thing for all game companies, Player Acquisition.
This leads to some very good questions:
Question 1: How would we do that?
STAGE ONE requires that we provide a method for the player to acquire virtual assets. When a player gets a new item, they will want to play with it. In order to do this they will need to download the game where they can use that asset (toy, NFT, weapon, etc.).
Question 2: Where would you have access to tens of millions of new players every month?
The solution is gaining direct access to visitors of Out-of-Home Entertainment venues like Dave and Busters or Chuck-E-Cheese. There are 80,000 arcades in the world that reward players with tickets won by playing games. Players know they will be able to exchange those tickets for prizes. Winning the tickets has always been a blast, trading them in, for the most part, is a letdown. Face it, those prizes suck, and the modern generation would rather have a Fortnite item than a rubber snake for their 900 tickets.
There are over 500,000,000 players every month that trade tickets for prizes worldwide in a transient environment; they’re on vacation or visiting a place far from home. Every month these are NEW PLAYERS! Our Convergence Prize neXus will compete for those tickets. The player will be able to exchange their tickets for “Rubber Snakes” and “Plastic Vampire Teeth” OR they might prefer to use them to collect Video Game Assets on the Blockchain (NFTs). Convergence will leverage “sizzle reels” — videos of NFTs being used in the games. This will create excitement for the NFTs; the rubber snake doesn’t stand a chance. The Prize neXus is the onboarding ramp of our Player Acquisition Engine (PAE) releasing soon. The PAE also has the neXus Trade Binder App on your phone and the neXus MarketPlace on the internet which you can also access from the App.
The PAE will get players for consumer games in exchange for NFTs from those games. The most desired NFTs will acquire players for the arcade if they are exclusive to that arcade. This will load players into our PAE system.
STAGE TWO is our Silica neXus Augmented Reality App, SARA. Think Pokemon GO, but with some very important differences. Instead of collecting Pokemon, you are collecting NFTs. And quests for RARE NFTs will have you end up at our partners’ Arcades and engage you with that arcade. Now that we walk you into that arcade with our App, it only makes sense you can SPEND YOUR DROID TOKENs there to play other games or grab dinner.
On the neXus MarketPlace and in the neXus TRADE ZONE you can trade your NFTs with your friends. DROID Tokens are used as THE way to balance the trade or the transaction. As you can see, there are many unique uses for the DROID Tokens in the Silica neXus ecosystem.
Stage one and two will fill the Silica neXus ecosystem with players, developers, and location partners. These critical relationships will benefit in different ways that encourage them to stay and bring their friends to help the Silica neXus grow. Because the neXus has a DROID-Token-based ecosystem and not a fiat (dollar) based one, members are more apt to help each other, because as one succeeds, everyone succeeds. Conversely, in a dollar-bill-based system, everyone is just out for themselves because the dollar bill cannot increase in value based on its utility and number of users. However, DROID Tokens and the NFTs do become more valuable as they are adopted by more and more users. For more information on that you can read The Virtuous Circle of Token Based Investment Funds.
Once we have Stage one and two on solid ground we move on to Stage three, producing hard wired, fully XR Titles. This will give us the understanding to create the tools needed to help other developers create XR easier and faster.
Finally we will produce the CORE SDK, allowing everyone to expand on this new exciting XR virtual universe in ways we cannot even imagine.
This is JUST the beginning of the future of entertainment.
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