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Gabby Dizon's Thoughts on the India Opportunity
"We want to deliver that same opportunity (crypto gaming) to millions more people around the world"
Yield Guild Games’ (YGG) has been at the forefront of the play-to-earn phenomenon since late 2020, when Axie Infinity became the first breakthrough NFT game, and its huge popularity sent prices of its NFTs soaring. As a result, many of the people who could benefit most from the opportunity to earn rewards through playing video games could no longer afford to get started.
YGG responded to the challenge by acquiring large volumes of the game’s most in-demand assets and lending them to its guild members under a reward-sharing model, known as a scholarship. With no upfront cost to the scholar, and no risk to get started playing and earning cryptocurrency rewards, the model quickly became a success. By year’s end 2021, YGG had already onboarded more than 10,000 scholars around the world.
Today, many more NFT games have entered the space, offering more opportunities for gamers to receive rewards for their time and skill spent in-game. Adoption has overwhelmingly come from developing countries that were hit hard by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We saw first-hand the positive impact that play-to-earn had for so many everyday Filipinos,” said Gabby Dizon, co-founder of YGG. “Now, we want to deliver that same opportunity to millions more people around the world, especially in places where the minimum wage is even lower than the Philippines — where I’m from, and where NFT games really took off in 2021. Because traditionally, people have always needed some capital to be able to get started with crypto. But now, with a play-to-earn scholarship, you can enter the space through a community and be rewarded for contributing your time and skill, instead of money being the determinant,” added Gabby.
The opportunity for play-to-earn gaming in India
With a population of more than 1.4 billion people, India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world and is expected to be one of the top three economic powers over the next 10-15 years. However, barely one in five Indians in the labor force is “skilled” with around 42% of all workers engaged in the agricultural sector. India’s national-level minimum wage is around US$2.80 per day (which is approximately. US$62 per month), and while this is above the international poverty line at $1.90 a day, these people are dangerously vulnerable to fall below it.
For India to truly level-up in the world, it must equip its workforce with the skills needed in the new digital economy. With more than 400 million gamers in the country, and the $1.8 billion Indian gaming market expected to triple in size by 2025, video games have been identified as a pathway to deliver that training and education. Seeing the opportunity to onboard these Web2 gamers to the open Metaverse and help them develop a range of Web3 skills via play-to-earn games, YGG began to look for a local partner with a deep understanding of crypto, gaming and India.
IndiGG: A YGG subDAO for India, by Polygon Studios
“There is literally no better partner than Polygon Studios,” said Gabby, of his decision to establish IndiGG in collaboration with the NFT, Gaming, and Metaverse arm for all projects on the Polygon protocol. IndiGG is a subDAO — a dedicated group under the YGG DAO — that will introduce the YGG scholarship model to the local market, making play-to-earn accessible to the people of India. SubDAOs help to create a more nuanced sense of community within the broader YGG landscape and can operate more efficiently by localizing operations and streamlining processes that tend to vary from game-to-game, from country-to-country, and region-to-region.
“As a guild, our approach to getting play-to-earn and crypto towards mass adoption is by actually going town to town, village to village, city to city, to onboard these communities to Web3. But this is not something we could do on our own. SubDAOs like IndiGG allow us to continue that grassroots adoption,” said Gabby. “What we wanted to do with subDAOs was to create a cloned version of YGG that is very specific to a certain market. Think of it as a fork of YGG, but we have a guild manual for how we build communities, and onboard scholars, which is shared to IndiGG.”
Siddarth Jain is heading up the IndiGG partnership from Polygon Studios under close consultation from Sandeep Nailwal, founder of Polygon Technology (formally known as Matic). From the Polygon head office in Bengaluru they have been developing Ethereum-based scaling solutions since 2017, which has since underpinned the much of the rise in Web3 gaming with titles such as REVV Racing, Aavegotchi, Arc8 by GAMEE, and Fancy Birds all having launched on Polygon with multiple AAA titles in development with support from Polygon Studios.
“When I heard the vision that Sid and the Polygon Studios team had for the next wave of Indian talent entering the Metaverse, I knew YGG had found the perfect partner for India. I’ve known for a long time that they have the deep technical knowledge and blockchain game experience, but it was then that I know they also had the vision and determination to make it work. Their vision is exactly aligned with what we’ve seen with the Philippines, and what YGG strives for across the globe - an open metaverse that allows every individual to build themselves a future.”
Gabby Dizon, co-founder, YGG.
Onboarding the people of India to the Metaverse
IndiGG has already established partnerships to offer a selection of assets in a wide variety of play-to-earn games that are appealing to its own market and playerbase. It will also provide opportunities to the IndiGG guild via bootcamps hosted by rising stars in the Indian play-to-earn ecosystem, delivering education in local languages to ensure that blockchain gaming is made more approachable to the Indian community. IndiGG also plans to form local partnerships with esports teams, content creators, crypto exchanges and other locally-focused services that are suitably positioned to address the community’s needs.
By building a platform for Indian gamers to explore play-to-earn games, and also create new economic opportunities, IndiGG in partnership with YGG and Polygon Studios strives to make a positive impact on the lives of millions through the simple act of playing games.
IndiGG is building a platform where gamers will discover the future of gaming and embark on a journey into virtual worlds to create economic opportunities for all participants.