We Try to Make the Game as Social as Possible: Dirk Weyel
Tien Ma talks to Mr. Dirk Weyel, Founder and CEO of Berlin-based Stryking Entertainment in Berlin.
Dirk, tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur.
I have been an entrepreneur since 1999. I studied Economics and was interested to work in a place where I could combine my passion for music with my profession. I started in the music industry, but the golden days were already over, so I changed to the games industry, where I started in the PlayStation I period. Not long after I founded my first company with three partners which was a marketing and localisation services agency for the gaming industry.
In 2004 I decided to move back to the industry side and founded an online games publisher. At that time, we started with PC Games but we soon realised that this wasn’t the future of business anymore. We quickly moved on to Online Games and started to license Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) from Asian developers and operated, published and marketed them in Europe and the US. After some difficult times we managed to sign the game ‘Runes of Magic’ which would be highly successful. Soon the company grew to more than 200 employees before being sold to a bigger German competitor in 2011.
After a little break I founded Stryking Entertainment, where we are focussing on how we can connect brands with games and the virtual world with the real life. That is how we encountered Fantasy Sports. There is still a lot room to improve the user experience and apply our knowledge from the gaming industry as gamification levels are still basic. That is what we are working on right now with our own game Football-Stars.
You must have learned many things in your journey as an entrepreneur. Can you share some insight with everybody who is considering taking the step?
One very important aspect are your co-founders or partners. It is important to have complimentary skills and to have a trusting relationship with each other. You don’t need to be best friends necessarily, but it helps to have fun sometimes.
Also, founding is a marathon. Nobody should underestimate the amount of work and the dedication that is needed. Only very few start-ups have the luck to always grow without any difficult situations. It might take longer than you expect.
It is also important to stay focused on the most important aspects of your project and not get lost in minor details.
What are your next big plans with your current company Stryking?
Our next big topic is to have a successful Token Sale Event. Very exciting times after a lot of preparation in the last months. We are now getting into the more public phase where we ramp up marketing and communications and try to get awareness in the crypto community especially with the overlapping group of football fans and crypto enthusiasts. With a successful token sale, we can then use the tokens as fuel for our community build-up. After that follows the internationalisation of the platform and the business. We are already talking to potential partners in different markets. We just had a very interesting meeting in Japan, which is one of our next markets to target.
With your ICO you are essentially tokenising your existing platform Football-Stars. What sets your platform apart from your competitors?
We have built a functioning product with two different gaming modes. We do have the traditional season long mode which you can play with your friends or colleagues in your own league. The second mode which is unique to football-stars is called Challenge mode. It is based on daily challenges, so no matter when you enter the game you can immediately start playing and have fun. We try to make the game as social as possible with short incentive reward loops to create a faster paced game play which has a lot of retention and engagement. The challenges always focus on current events. We will create many new challenges for the upcoming World Cup. Users can then play one, five or fifty challenges a day, which have varying levels of complexity.
Where did the idea for the token sale event come from?
We already use an in-game currency called Coins. Users can purchase those coins to use them for premium items, special functionalities or to play more challenges. So, for us this meant, that introducing a crypto token as an additional layer would give us a lot more opportunities to incentivise the community. That way they can partake in the further development of the platform. It is also a way for us to grow the platform because crypto tokens are going to be listed on exchanges, they will have a value in themselves. And if we manage to grow the platform we will also have a good chance to grow the value of the token. So, if users are participating by inviting others, sharing content or updating statistics, we can reward them for their contribution to the platform. The token will really be the fuel for our community-driven approach, motivating and incentivising the users.
As the STRYKZ token will be utility token, will there be any drastic changes to the Football-Stars platform?
No drastic changes. After the token sale we will introduce the token to the platform and users can start using them. We have prepared a development roadmap in which we detail which new functionalities we will introduce to the platform. We will for example introduce token-based challenges and open the platform so that we get step-by-step to a user-centric platform. Users will be able to create their very own challenges, basically creating their own fantasy sports.
Last question: Which football club do you support?