The cryptocurrency exchange FTX is expanding its reach into gaming, adding former WB Games and Sega executive Steve Sadin as head of gaming partnerships.
FTX Gaming plans to offer crypto-as-a-service to existing gaming companies, enabling developers to add play-to-earn or NFT features to upcoming games.
Sadin comes from a more traditional gaming background—he was vice president of product for Sega before becoming executive director of product for WB Games and later VP and studio head of WB Games in Boston—similar toRyan Wyatt, the former head of YouTube Gaming who recently left to become CEO of Polygon Studios.
“Our primary focus is providing Web3 support for gaming companies,” Sadin told Decrypt via email. “Whether you’re a one-person indie or a global developer/publisher with tens of thousands of employees, we want to help enable you to safely and easily build and operate fully compliant crypto games that will be enjoyed for decades.”
That said, Sadin also wants FTX Gaming to be selective when choosing partners.
“We’re not here to support any pump-and-dump projects,” he said. “There needs to be a great design, a passion for making [and] operating games, and a demonstrated commitment to doing what it takes to make a game successful for the long term, or we’re just not going to be interested.”
While play-to-earn blockchain gaming may be on the rise—Axie Infinity already has amassed over $4 billion in trading volume—there’s also been plenty of backlash from non-crypto gamers, which Sadin is plenty aware of but which he sees existing only in the “short and medium term.”
“In my opinion, trust needs to be earned and re-earned,” he explained. “In order to win the support of those that are most critical [and] vocally anti-crypto, the focus needs to be on building and operating great games, not on blowing hot air. … In the early days of blockchain gaming, we’ve seen a number of projects that have seriously underwhelmed or even left early adopters feeling like they got scammed.”
“Players,” he added, “are going to own digital assets for decades, never letting them leave their crypto wallet until the point at which they share them with their grandchildren.”