In this episode, Ryan Wyatt – CEO of Polygon Studios – joins Naavik co-founder Aaron Bush to discuss: #1 How Polygon Studios works, its grand ambitions, and why teams should consider using it as their layer 2 of choice. #2 What Ryan learned about “excellence in scaling” at YouTube, and how running a web3 business presents unique challenges. #3 What will unlock the next phase of growth for blockchain games, advice to teams during “crypto winter,” and why he doesn’t worry about educating gamers. #4 As a venture partner at BITKRAFT, what other trends in gaming excite him.
What is Polygon Studios: [00:01:10]
[Aaron]: Let’s set the foundation to start this conversation. Could you let everyone know what exactly is Polygon studios?
[Ryan]: We have a product and engineering team that is focused on the Polygon protocol, and then we have the business side, which is purely focused on the advance of the protocol itself. The simplest way to describe it is that Polygon studios is the business team for Polygon -- everything from finance, marketing, and so on.
Polygon Studios and YouTube Gaming [00:07:40]
[Aaron]: I’m really curious on how you compare leading Polygon Studios to YouTube gaming.
[Ryan]: I think on Polygon there is this clear focus on community and developers, it's very clear to our company that this is where we need to be focused on. For YouTube that’s actually similar, we just need to swap up developers for content creators.
YouTube does a good job empowering content creators to create a community within it. For the Polygon side, we do the same, but with developers -- operating and activating across individual NFT projects and so forth.
The thing that is really different about YouTube is that the ecosystem is so dynamic, we’ve it very clear on what our plans are over the next five years -- yes, things change in the market but nothing deviates so much. On Polygon I feel we always have to operate, somehow, a little scared to stay on top of what’s happening in space.
Exciting New Projects on Polygon [00:10:50]
[Aaron]: I’m curious on what’s having the most success on Polygon right now and what types of projects are you expecting to be the most successful in the mid-term?
[Ryan]: I think there’s a number of key things that we’re focused on. 1: We’ve a separate project to our PoS chain, we’re excited to get this product to the market, it just needs the demand for it. 2: Our zk EVM chain, the testnet is coming out of that, people are starting to use it, have fun, and for some engineers that I worked on that product this has been close to their hearts for years. 3: I think we need to start having more conviction around certain categories, and of them is loyalty and rewards, that is kind of what we did with the Starbucks partnership, and I feel it's a pretty interesting category to explore.
In a high-level answer, I think Polygon will be the primary scaling solution for Ethereum, that is our goal.
Building an Effective Biz-Dev Team [00:18:25]
[Aaron]: How the heck have you built such an effective biz-dev team so quickly?
[Ryan]: I feel our education is kind of bouncing back and forth as we were able to make a community of both web2 experts -- from Facebook, Google, and all those multi-billion companies -- while attracting new talents from the web3 world.
Bullish Game Economic Systems [00:24:40]
[Aaron]: We’ve seen the evolution over the past year alone from P2E, to P&E, P2O, now F2O and we’ll see what’s next. I’m curious on your viewpoints as a platform provider who also provides venture funding to teams out there, what types of games our economic systems are you most excited about and bullish on?
[Ryan]: I think games who are thinking about perpetuity and how people can make fork versions of them and create different instances of them are very interesting, but I think there’s a lot of new horizons outside of the basic concept of selling digital items, like the possibilities of what can I do if I actually build a game on-chain.
I feel there’s a lot of new cool stuff around reducing friction of on-ramp stuff, setting up a metamask wallet, getting liquidity, how you get into a web3 game -- overall there’s still a lot of UI/UX challenges and this is a gap to explore.
Ultimate Vision Polygon is Building For [00:35:35]
[Aaron]: Any bold predictions or bets on the future of Polygon Studios around blockchain, gaming, what is the ultimate vision that you’re building for over that period of time?
[Ryan]: The ultimate vision is that the Polygon protocol just driffs off and operates autonomously -- the ecosystem is there, the developer community is there, you get implementations needed there, it's just operating.
There’s a lot of things that have to happen for us to get there, capital must continue going into space -- so the experiences keep being built --, users are able to easily onboard into the ecosystem, and that’s what success looks like.
Exciting Gaming Trends [00:40:30]
[Aaron]: What else are you excited about in the games industry these days, what trends are you looking into invest in?
[Ryan]: As an investor, one thing that really excites me is middle-ware. We kind of talked earlier of some of the challenges of building specific games on a chain. I have very deep interest on middle-ware right now, ThirdWeb is one of the investments I did, and I keep an eye overall on that as I feel people underestimate the necessity of tooling support in web3 games, we just have focus on web3 games and not on how we’re going to do this in the right way.