ARTICLE / THE MAKING OF... SERIES
The making of...
As the global gaming industry outstrips the movie industry in revenue yet again, Hunter clients, Jack Economos and Lockie Kitson of Matrix Studios are taking on the giants with their blockchain tech-powered gaming hub, Glizzy. As well as discussing the value branding brings to an indie business, they share their vision for a fairer industry. Player 1 ready!
The making of... Series
Gaming, Blockchain, PAX Festival, UI design, Bootstrap, Capital raise, Investors, Web 2.0, Web3
Welcome to The making of... To start with, could you introduce yourselves.
G’day we’re Jack and Lockie, the Co-Founders of Matrix Studios. We’re currently developing Glizzy – a gaming hub powered by blockchain technology specifically designed for indie developers and games.
That sounds pretty fresh. So what about your backgrounds? Are you from the tech, blockchain or gaming industries?
Ha. I started my professional career in FMCG, most notably with two of the largest global beverage companies across various roles including Marketing and Sponsorship, as well as Strategy and Training. I have always had a passion for gaming dating back to the Sega Mega Drive days (showing my age) and I was an early investor in the crypto space. Jack's previous life was in Cardiology, having completed a Bachelor's Degree in Health Science and Pharmacology and working as a Cardiac Physiologist. Jack was a very early investor in the crypto space and is also an accredited Full Stack Developer. So thinking about our backgrounds… Jack’s more technical and I’m more marketing and our genuine passion for the gaming and blockchain space, led us to co-found Matrix Studios in 2021.
Jack Economos and Lockie Kitson, Co-Founders of Glizzy
Sega Mega Drive. Now we’re having some Sonic flashbacks. Glizzy? What was the inspiration behind the business?
It was an interesting encounter we had with an indie developer one day. When we started Matrix Studios, we initially wanted to develop games (we still do) and may do in the future, however, a chance meeting we had with a developer completely changed our immediate priorities. He developed a game that took out the best game at PAX Festival, Australia's leading gaming convention. His game, albeit a success at PAX, unfortunately, is no longer supported by the developers due to a lack of marketing support, visibility and ultimately competition with large-scale mainstream game studios. This led Jack and I to do a lot of research and investigation into the indie developer space, and his story is one of many we were seeing. Indie games are the largest genre of gaming on leading gaming platforms, however, 50% of these developers don't make more than 4,000 USD during their game's existence.
Jack and I have made it our mission to create a gaming hub that’s curated specifically for indie developers, and is more than just a game library, it will be heavily focused on bringing together the gaming community whilst directly supporting and funding indie games.
Knowing the size of the gaming market, it’s sobering to hear how little money indie developers actually get. What you’re doing is ambitious and no doubt unique. What research did you do to get to where you are now?
Firstly, we spent 12 months researching the indie game industry, and secondly, reviewed existing platforms to identify the gaps in the market. We then stress-tested in our ecosystem, whilst looking at how blockchain technology could further support indie developers and the overall gaming economy.
With both of your backgrounds, we’d expect nothing less than methodical. In doing all this work, how’s the first iteration of Glizzy coming along?
We’re currently working alongside a leading Australian developer to build out our vision for Glizzy. We have a completed UI design of Glizzy as well as a comprehensive product requirement to deliver an MVP. Our first Alpha version will be functional in 2024.
A leading developer? We know good tech people aren’t cheap. With that in mind and knowing the need for a killer product, how are you paying for everything?
Like many start-ups, we’ve done the hard yards and bootstrapped the business since 2021. The next phase will be a capital raise in early 2024.
From what you’ve shared so far, Glizzy sounds like a game-changer. Which brings us to our next favourite subject. Branding? Full disclosure: you're a Hunter client. But for those who are looking to brand their start-up, can you walk them through the process.
Of course… We had an idea of what we wanted. Hunter then turned that on its head. We took Hunter’s ideas and strategic thinking and added to it. The process was entirely collaborative. And as a result, we’ve got a brand that’s irreverent, fun and disruptive. More importantly, it’s not a Canva cut’n’paste job like others in our industry. Who else has a chicken-legged hotdog vibe like we do? The branding is just gold.
Knowing you’re going to hit up investors and indie game developers… How are you getting the name out there?
As marketing is Lockie’s expertise, we’ve got a robust Go-To-Market launch plan, which is primarily centred around a sound media strategy. This includes an ambassador program, strong social media campaigns and being present at key gaming and blockchain conventions. Our digital strategy always comes back to one key question - "How do we tap into the passion point of gamers". This is led by our three Big Bets - Partners, Culture and Community.
Whilst it’s early days… What would you say your biggest challenges are moving forward?
We see Glizzy as an onboarding vehicle for Web 2.0 gamers to venture into the world of Web3 without forcing a decision between Web 2.0 or Web3. We see the two working symbiotically together. Glizzy uses blockchain technology to fuel the entire ecosystem and economy, so we have been very mindful that the technology doesn't interfere with the user experience and overcomplicate the process.
Fantastic and thanks again for sharing your story. Before you go we have one final question. What advice would you give other folk setting out on their start-up journey?
Something Gary Vaynerchuck was an advocate for was simply "just start". I didn't know what this meant, but I do now. I used to think you had to have the best of everything as a start-up. Best website, branding, people, knowledge, but a lot of this comes as you build your brand and your vision. Where we started to where we are today is quite remarkable. Sometimes Jack and I revisit our old folders with old website wireframes, branding and ideas and for us, it’s actually enjoyable, and we have a laugh over it. You have to enjoy the process to truly enjoy the end product.