Chat to Liam Bacon, CEO of Aradena, and we suspect the word “Web3” will crop up on multiple occasions. Many people believe this is the future of the internet: a move away from Big Tech companies and towards decentralisation and blockchain. Liam is so confident that he’s betting a company on it, with its first product being a trading card game (TCG) called Aradena: Battlegrounds.
In this article, Liam explains the problems he and is colleagues are attempting to solve using Web3, particularly around gaming. And he has form when it comes to both gaming and entrepreneurship. Not only has Liam previously founded a startup specialising in gamified e-learning, he is also a graduate of University College London with an MSc with Distinction in Entrepreneurship.
What’s your elevator pitch?
Our first title, Aradena: Battlegrounds, is reimagining the future of competitive strategy gaming and radically improving player experiences with Web3 technologies to drive mass adoption from traditional gamers. It is a free-to-play, tactical TCG [trading card game] where collectable cards come to life in strategic, 3D gameplay.
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What problem are you trying to solve?
Web3 gaming is not yet gaining mainstream or wider adoption from traditional gamers. We believe this is for three reasons:
- Web3 games so far have relied on safe bets (clones) and limited their ability to appeal to gamers
- Web3 game studios so far have rushed out low-quality gameplay
- Web3 games so far haven’t optimised their distribution and onboarding strategies
Can you talk us through your journey so far? What’s a major milestone you’ve reached?
We started as two young founders with $5,000 in savings in 2021. Within 18 months, we have generated $1.5 million in revenue, created a community of over 70k gamers, received investment led by Animoca Brands, launched the beta version of our game with great player metrics, and are currently five months away from full release!
Who are your main competitors and what distinguishes your startup from them?
Other Web3 TCG games are our primary competitors. We differentiate by positioning ourselves as a unique, hybrid TCG with exciting game design innovations, particularly an immersive 3D battlefield which gives players more than just a digital representation of cards on a table.
We are also focused on making ourselves one of the most accessible Web3 games, by launching as a free-to-play on Epic with native platform SDKs for fiat onramps, and a value-driven onboarding process.
Where do you hope your startup will be in ten years?
We are on a mission to revolutionise the way we play and interact online.
Our initial focus is on gaming, as we believe that is the best-positioned industry to take advantage of Web3 and other disruptive technologies with clear use cases to radically improve the end-user experience. More focus will turn to metaverse technologies in years to come, as technological innovation allows for clear use cases that improve user experiences.
Our long-term vision focuses on two things. First, creating platforms which leverage network effects by empowering users to create and monetise increasingly interactive experiences, creating ecosystems where both the users and creators share in the value generated by the ecosystem that they participate in.
And second, blurring the lines between gaming, social and educational experiences in ways which have a larger societal impact.
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What would you say to potential investors reading this interview?
With a proven beta product, significant traction and large near-term potential, we are set to redefine Web3 gaming. Our flagship game’s early-access Beta received great feedback and metrics including a 45% D1 retention and 24% D14 retention, and we have already generated over $1.7 million in revenue.
We are currently looking to raise a small bridge round, and as we aim to close this round swiftly, we are offering a unique and attractive entry point for investors: a 45% discount from our seed round, which was led by Animoca Brands in early 2022.
Overall, we are currently offering an extremely attractive investment opportunity with large near-term potential with full release just five months away.
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