Meet the metaversers: Jon Radoff
Jon Radoff is an author, entrepreneur and game tech expert taking his company Beamable straight into the metaverse. Find out about how he’s utilising his wealth of gaming development experience to build within web3 and his views on the highly anticipated future of tech!
Tell us a little bit about your work at Beamable. How did the company come about?
I've discovered that my purpose in life is to amplify creativity across the world. In the past, that meant helping non-technical creators publish to the web at my company Eprise. More recently, I got to help some of the largest fictional universes - Star Trek and Game of Thrones - launch games for millions of players.
While working on these games, I started seeing some of the same problems and opportunities that existed on the web: an explosion of creators, a desire to make it far less technical and "direct from imagination" to the screen. I realised that I could fulfil my purpose and multiply everyone's creativity by equipping them with a platform that lets them build live, online game experiences.
With your valuable insight, how is web3 likely to change the gaming space?
There's a tremendous amount of centralised power over distribution, infrastructure and marketing. That power translates into high rents and constrained options for creators. It's already extremely hard to make a successful game, but when you add those factors it makes it that much harder to build a sustainable business. The ambition of those of us building for web3 is to move more of the power back to the sort of decentralised infrastructure and open platforms that the web was originally built on.
The challenge is that the fragmentation of decentralised technology and open systems results in much greater technical complexity. But if we can solve the user experience and systems integration problems in elegant and simple ways, then it will be highly disruptive: far more of the financial rewards go back to the game makers, and whole new categories of games - including those that were not financially viable in the past - will get made by smaller teams.
What are you most excited about within the metaverse?
When we talk about the metaverse, it's the new wave of experiences that people will be having - and are already having - that most excite me. That's more interesting than trying to declare specific feature sets or technology requirements.
The new wave of online experiences draws upon things like live music, social activities, theatre, self-expression, entertainment, travel and education. These experiences are informed by games and are usually built on top of game technology. But they aren't really games. They're something new. They're bringing people together through the shared joy of artistry, of community, of live interaction. They're digitising and dematerialising existing experiences, while also transforming and amplifying our connection to art and to each other.
What has been a career highlight for you?
Being able to create and launch a game built on Star Trek was like the realisation of a childhood dream. The biggest challenge was capturing Gene Roddenberry's vision and making a game that incorporated the type of storytelling I think he'd have appreciated. I'm proud of what we accomplished with Star Trek Timelines.
If I can bring a bit of the creative energy that made Star Trek Timelines possible to millions of other game makers, I think I'll have changed the world for the better.
If you could share one bit of advice about all things metaverse and web3 what would it be?
Be curious. I see a lot of cynicism out there, and curiosity is a scarce resource. Web3 and the metaverse are enabling whole new types of experiences and communities, and this is going to evolve into forms way beyond 'stuff we already have, but with crypto'. Yes, there are large technology and user experience challenges to solve, but we humans are great at that type of problem-solving. Let's learn the ways each one of us can participate, create and help.
Can you tell us about any exciting projects that you're currently working on?
I'm most excited by our customers at Beamable. Over the last year, we've seen a huge influx of developers trying our platform. This is a business that requires patience because we get involved at the earliest stage of a game's development - and then we need to accompany our developers through that journey. Each game has been a learning experience for us. I've been able to watch as some of these games go from idea to soft-launch. And now some of them are going global. What could be more exciting than seeing our customers become successful while fulfilling my purpose of amplifying creativity throughout the world?