Over the past couple of years, the gaming space on the blockchain has grown exceptionally as the world became aware of the power of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the rise of play-to-earn games. MonkeyLeague is one of the rising blockchain games in the space, providing an AAA-quality web3 soccer game that allows users to have fun while earning passive income. Today, we are joined by Oren Langberg, Uncaged Studios Head of Marketing & Partnerships, to discuss the game, the Solana blockchain, the current state of the market and much more.
Hello Oren Langberg, welcome and thank you for joining us today. First off, could you tell us about yourself, MonkeyLeague, and a little background on how and why your team started the project?
Thank you for having me and sure! I am a lifelong gamer who has worked in various startups and listed companies over the last 15 years and as employee #2 at MonkeyLeague, have been here for nearly a year.
Simply, MonkeyLeague is an AAA-quality web3 soccer game that’s easy to learn yet hard to master. Build your dream team of MonkeyPlayer digital assets, play matches against real people, win tournaments, and climb the ranks!
First, our founders saw the unprecedented utility and benefits blockchain provides gaming as it enables a more decentralized approach to games that empowers players. This means, instead of sole ownership of assets, content, and revenues lying with the game developers, blockchain gaming allows players to own their game assets, improve them, trade or sell them because they hold value outside of the game. In addition, blockchain allows for an in-game digital currency that also holds value outside of the game to be used for transactions inside the game ecosystem and claimed as earnings for winning matches and tournaments.
Having said that, the rise of play-to-earn gaming led to a lot of low-production value games that relied solely on earning as the primary incentive to play and strayed away from the core purpose of gaming, fun-first entertainment.
What separates MonkeyLeague from its competition in NFT esports gaming?
What separates us is our team, partners, backers, and vision, the production value, the development of sustainable game economies, our franchise of fun-first sports games that will leverage the same game assets, the use of soul-bound tokens, and much more.
MonkeyLeague, and our studio UnCaged, is leading the pack with high production value and fun-first gaming. Currently, with 45 people, our studio team is one of the deepest in web3 gaming with over 100 years of combined experience designing and developing top-quality gaming experiences.
The launch of MonkeyLeague was a big deal in the Web3 gaming industry at launch. The connection to football opens the blockchain gaming world to over 3 billion soccer (football) fans. Is this the market that MonkeyLeague targets and how will the game compete with current console-based football games such as FIFA and eFootball?
We aim to develop high production value, super fun games that have mass adoption potential that also fill a huge void in the market. In the end, our games are casual – they won’t compete with games like FIFA or NBA Live.
MonkeyLeague has been a part of OpenSea’s Beta on Solana, a thrilling aspect admittedly. Could you explain why launching your NFTs on Solana was a crucial part of your team? And how does this impact the gamers?
With MonkeyLeague being the most anticipated web3 sports game on the planet, there’s no doubt that MonkeyLeague MonkeyPlayers are one of the most popular NFTs on Solana from both a collectible and utility perspective.Solana is a powerful blockchain with a top-tier team that represents the foundation of the future of web3 gaming. Their infrastructure, speed and flexibility for developers, not to mention their ecosystem made it a clear choice for us. The long-term plan is, of course, to be chain agnostic because in the end with MonkeyLeague you have the game off-chain and the economy, game assets, and other infrastructure on the chain.
What are your thoughts on the Solana-based NFTs, could the blockchain challenge Ethereum’s dominance in the near future?
We definitely believe in Solana and where it’s headed. They have the team, product, and vision to really take blockchain infrastructure and technology to the next level and beyond. We are proud to work closely with them.
If yes, how long do you think it will take Solana to outshine Ethereum?
It’s hard to say but what I do know is that they have a deep team, deep philosophy and vision for web3, and are super proactive about being innovative and delivering.
There have been several Solana blockchain outages in the past. How does this affect MonkeyLeague, and is it a trigger for concern?
Being pioneers comes with its risks but I have full faith in the Solana network. In addition, we have a separation between the game itself and the web3 components which alleviates any potential issues.
Away from MonkeyLeague for a bit. A rising number of gamers, especially among the millennials and Gen Z, are favouring esports as a career and play-to-earn games over traditional gaming. Do you see P2E esports gaming as the gateway to massive crypto adoption?
I think the key to massive crypto adoption is high production value and fun first games. For web3 gaming to go mainstream it needs to build on top of the best of web2 games and then add blockchain components.
In addition, it’s a pretty substantial transition to expect web2 gamers to make just like that, i.e. trusting crypto and the volatility, opening a wallet, buying the digital currency and so on. Part of our strategy is to have a free-to-play version for people to play before they invest in digital game assets. And this speaks to the player trajectory within MonkeyLeague which lays out multiple ways to play MonkeyLeague. Players can play the free-to-play version but do not have the opportunity to earn or improve their NFT players. Owning at least one MonkeyPlayer asset opens the opportunity to earn and improve. Owning a full team brings extended benefits and so on. So, based on how serious or competitive they are, a player can follow multiple paths within MonkeyLeague.
When it comes to opening the doors for esports, current web2 esports is typically for hardcore games like NFL Madden or League of Legends. As MonkeyLeague is a casual mid-core web3 sports game, it does open up the potential down the road for everyday people to become esports stars and reap tons of benefits and rewards from that including potential sponsorships.
I’m yet to purchase any Monkey NFTs but have interacted with several Solana-based NFT communities, which were quite impressive. Could you explain to our readers how the MonkeyLeague communities and neighbourhood is?
So first of all, with all the mistrust and lack of transparency in crypto, we made it a point from the beginning to create a super warm, transparent and communicative community. And we definitely accomplished that. The MonkeyTrain as we like to call it includes some of the most passionate people on the planet. People that see the vision, love the game and are with us for the journey 200%. It’s a beautiful thing actually because our Discord community alone has over 80k people in it. People from across the globe, with different backgrounds, and cultures, speak different languages yet we are all united on this MonkeyTrain. Our community serves as the crux or the foundation of MonkeyLeague and we are humbled to have them.
We have been in a bear market for months now and it seems to stay this way in the protracted future. How do you suppose NFTs, and MonkeyLeague in particular, will navigate the current bear market?
Although many solid web3 projects suffered in the worst way from this crypto winter, in the grand scheme it’s advancing the development of web3 much more quickly. Survivors will need to evolve and adapt. Gone are the days when a few people in their mom’s garage can create a low-quality 2D game and attach a simple earning mechanism and succeed.
The future of web3 gaming will be high production value fun-first gaming with a balanced, skill-based rewards system. Same for NFTs, actually. Gone are the days when a random person can draw a stick figure, mint it as an NFT and sell it for millions. If it’s a collectible art piece NFT, its value will derive more from the creator and its utility. For example, owning this awesome NFT piece also gives me access to x. When it comes to gaming, NFTs will have much more utility and while technically they will still be NFTs will be referred to more as digital assets. The key is utility.
For MonkeyLeague, we are continuously providing more utility for our digital game assets, MonkeyPlayers, up until the game launch.
What are the future targets for MonkeyLeague and what new development should gamers expect in the coming months?
We have some really exciting milestones and features coming out over the next several months up until the game launch. We have Monkey Breeding season coming up towards the end of September, a Closed Alpha immediately after that, and a Closed Beta, all leading up to the full public game launch. During this time we have some crazy sports and brand partnerships we will release along the way.
Any final words for the MonkeyLeague community?
This is only the beginning…
Oren Langberg is a graduate of business operations and has an MBA in strategic management from Bar Ilan University. He has previously worked as a Partner & Head of Marketing at M.E Care in Canada before transitioning to the tech world in 2012. Oren also spent time as the Co-Founder & Head of Marketing at ellee before becoming the head of marketing and partnership at Uncaged Studios, the developer of MonkeyLeague.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice