On Dec.9th (GMT+8), InnoKOL had a fascinating conversation with Mr.Monte Singman, the CEO of Miracle Universe & Chief Gaming Officer of Anarchy Games, talking about his 36 years work experience and profound insights on game business.
Jokia: How would you describe yourself in three words? What’s your motto?
Empathy, Creative, Integrity
God helps those who help themselves
Jokia: Can you please share more about your educational and professional background? And we’d love to hear what brought you to game business.
I am an American and grew up in Taiwan, I was surrounded by arcade games since over 90% of the motherboards were manufactured in Taiwan in the late 70s and early 80s. At the age of 13, I started playing arcade games and even won a championship in Taipei for Street Fighters. This sparked my interest in video game programming and I attended National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan for computer science.
In 1989, I moved to Silicon Valley and joined Sony to learn about CD format and multimedia. I was part of a small group of software engineers in the US that understood ISO-9660, the CD-ROM format, and worked on creating the industry standard. My Japanese boss, Ogawa-san, was also involved in creating the red book (CD-DA) format.
I then joined EA to work on John Madden Football as they were transitioning away from cartridges. As the lead programmer for Madden Football, I gained experience in the industry and was later hired as the technical director at Capcom. Here, I worked on the Street Fighters series and learned from the creator of the game, Yoshiki Okamoto, about game design and studio management.
After working at EA for three years and Capcom for three years, I moved to Accolade which was later acquired by Infogrames and renamed Atari. At Atari, I held the positions of producer, senior producer, and executive, before becoming the head of San Jose Studio.
In 2000, I founded Zona, the first network middleware company in the game industry. It was acquired by Shanda in 2003, and I took over the product development department of 460 staff. Shanda went public on NASDAQ in 2004 and we shipped six MMORPGs in the two years I was there.
In 2005, I started Radiance Digital Entertainment in Shanghai with investment from Softbank. The company merged with iDreamSky in 2013 and went public on NASDAQ in 2014. I licensed over 50 games from around the world for the Chinese market, including Monument Valley, Toy Blast, GardenScapes, and HomeScapes.
Now, I am involved in web3 gaming and hold positions in multiple companies across VCs, video game studios, web3 game publishing, and metaverses. I still have a foot in the video game industry while exploring the possibilities of web3.
Jokia: At iDreamSky, you successfully brought 50 more games into the China market. Could you share 2-3 cases that impressed you most?
Monument Valley, Toy blast, GardenScapes, HomeScapes. There were very famous and commercially successful titles.
Jokia: What does it take or need to start up a games studio and make it successful from your experience?
Talent cannot be trained, and a studio creates art, not source code. A software development mentality is not enough to make games. Technology is just a tool for game developers to create art. However, project management is essential and I have found PMP training to be very helpful. When a project is going well, a good producer should support the team and guide them toward milestones, ensuring that the project stays on time and is shipped on time without getting in the way.
Jokia: The gaming industry is tipped to maintain its recent rapid growth, and could be worth $321 billion by 2026, a new PwC report says. How will cross-platform gaming impact the future of online gaming?
Cross-play removes the barriers between devices and encourages social activities, making the industry bigger. The potential challenge is payment commissions, as someone could pay on PC and play on iOS, thereby depriving Apple of its share of income.
Jokia: From your perspective, what’s unique and game-changing about blockchain technology?
Ownership, decentralization, additional player-to-player secure and private transactions, communal properties, leasing, and gamer-governed game content.
Jokia: Do you favor Play& Own will overtake Play to Earn in the near future? Why?
I do not agree with the concept of Play to earn where players are paid to play a game. However, I support Play and own where players can keep the items they buy and earn from the game. These buzzwords are superficial and often people say one thing and do another. Web3 games are still games and need to maintain the same level of quality in graphics and gameplay as web2 games. Therefore, they cannot be driven by crypto enthusiasts, but must be led by professionals in the video game industry. Blockchain is a storage mechanism for video games, just like hard drives, CDs, or floppies. Video games are products and need to be built and shipped as such. A successful business cannot rely solely on loud-mouth marketers.
Jokia: How does metaverse power the future of gaming?
It is a dream that has been talked about for the past thirty years, it is like the Netflix for movies, but only 100 times harder. The metaverse, a collective virtual shared space, is a concept that has been discussed for decades. It is an ambitious idea, offering the potential to be the Netflix of movies, but with the added difficulty of creating a shared, virtual space.
However, many metaverse projects are not advancing gaming, but rather just replicating the concept of Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). While MMOGs offer a multiplayer experience, they do not offer the same level of immersion and shared virtual space as a true metaverse.
To truly advance gaming and create a successful metaverse, there needs to be a focus on creating a unique, immersive experience that goes beyond just replicating existing gaming concepts. This will require a combination of cutting-edge technology, creative thinking, and the expertise of professionals in the gaming industry.
The potential benefits of a successful metaverse are enormous. It could revolutionize the way we consume media, offering a seamless, immersive experience that blurs the lines between the virtual and real world. It could also have a huge impact on gaming, offering players the opportunity to explore and interact with virtual worlds in ways never before possible.
Despite the challenges, the pursuit of a metaverse is worth it. The potential rewards are enormous and could change the way we experience media and gaming forever. It is a dream that has been talked about for decades, but with the right vision and expertise, it can become a reality.
Jokia: How prepared is Miracle Universe to play a leading role?
I thought that providing an SDK to traditional web2 game companies was useful enough, but then I realized that it is far too shallow to bridge the chasm between web2 and web3 games.
Currently, I am helping a lot of web3 game projects to design better games and outsourcing art resources to other countries. Help them secure funding, listing tokens and selling NFT.
We are growing our own communities, one member at a time, a lot of the communities in our space is all filled by fake accounts and bots. I prefer real organic traffic with real humans with hearts and souls.
36 years of video game industry experience and building products, shipping products is giving me a unique angle to help other projects.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Mr.Monte Singman sits on multiple advisory boards and serves as a mentor for four venture capital firms, as well as the chief gaming officer for several projects. Prior to Lemuria, Monte licensed Sega's Sonic Dash at JinKe Culture Industry Co. Ltd. in China. Before JinKe, Monte was the VP of international business development at iDreamSky, where he successfully brought games such as Monument Valley, Toy Blast, and Gardenscapes, among others, into the Chinese market. Monte formed a strategic partnership with Mail.RU in 2019 and licensed Gordon Ramsay's IP to create Gordon Ramsay Chef Blast with OutPlay in the UK.
Before iDreamSky, Monte worked on industry hits such as EA's John Madden Football, Capcom's Street Fighters series, and Atari's Test Drive franchise. In 2000, Monte started Zona and successfully sold the business to Shanda in less than three years. At Shanda, Monte led the 460-staff game development division until 2005.
After Shanda, Monte founded Radiance, a game studio focused on developing console-like gameplay with a free-to-play online business model. Monte pioneered the development of Western-style gameplay infused with Chinese-style monetization until transitioning to global business development with iDreamSky.
Monte is an honorary professor at Shanghai Theatre Academy and was responsible for designing the virtual USA Pavilion at World Expo Shanghai 2010. Monte is fluent in Mandarin and English and has expertise in bridging Eastern and Western gaming markets, with an in-depth understanding of both cultures' values and styles. He is an entrepreneur with expertise in building companies that focus on content and tech-nology, especially in the mobile and online game industry. Monte is also the founder of IGDA Shanghai Chapter.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Ms. Jokia Yin is the Founder of Innoverview and InnoKOL, the Vice Chairman of HK International Blockchain Finance Association as well as the Head of Media at United States of America-China Chamber of Commerce. Jokia has over 10 years of marketing and management experience, much of which has been in the Asia Pacific Region within events and PR industry. She has held key leadership roles executing market research and entry, developing sales channels and revenue generation, building marketing, finance and Operations related infrastructure for a more than 20 events related to retail, tourism, energy storage, blockchain, cosmetics domains.