Dan Andrian, CEO of TRUE, is interviewed about the future of NFTs in gaming.
Interview.- TRUE Ecosystem in partnership with the innovative casino game provider TrueLab Game Studios introduced NFT engagement mechanics into their game Victoria Wild West by means of a brand-new solution for the online gambling industry.
Soft launch showed an increase in player retention by over 70 per cent. Today we are speaking with Dan Andrian, TRUE CEO, to find out more about how NFT technologies can be implemented in igaming and where it all goes.
TRUE is an infrastructure that helps Web2 business to improve customer retention and lifetime value by means of white-label solutions and NFT engagement tools.
Many believe that the NFT hype has passed. What does TRUE see as the future of NFTs?
Indeed, the hype, when simple NFT-pictures were sold for millions, and there were people willing to buy them, has gone. However, we recognize that as the classic process of adopting a new technology: rise, skimming the cream, fall, mass adoption.
We are now at a point where businesses start to realize that the technology behind NFTs is far more powerful than simply buying and selling images. TRUE feels NFT is, first of all, a technology that has the potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries offering exciting features. Therefore, the era of the utility NFT is now at the doorstep.
As for utility NFTs, they are unique, digital assets that offer use cases beyond their valuation, such as rolling membership benefits, event tickets, access to premium content or exclusive entry to real-world experiences, or even digital contracts for buying and selling physical goods.
Commonly, utility NFTs provide direct value to the buyer upon purchasing, activating or holding for getting specific privileges. They can serve as a bridge that connects brands and communities, fostering a deep sense of belonging and loyalty. By incorporating NFT engagement tools into their strategies, businesses can provide unique rewards and incentives, creating a strong emotional bond with their users.
NFT is no longer just about owning a piece of digital art, it’s about forging a genuine and lasting connection with your community that goes beyond monetary value. So for us in TRUE, it is unquestionable that utility plays a crucial role in moving NFT technology forward as it has unlimited potential for application in any sphere of our life in the near future.
What are NFT engagement tools? Which mechanics are most commonly used?
One of the practical applications of NFT technology is the ability to create gamification mechanics. At TRUE, we have tested and refined various NFT engagement mechanics: simple, user-friendly, and most importantly, easily implemented in the current processes of any business. Most notable of them are:
NFT Drops that are usually integrated directly into a game with the NFT tokens randomly dropped while playing. Receiving an in-game item as an NFT for free instantly creates an emotional bond and opens the door for further interaction as these NFTs can include real utilities.
Album collection where the concept of collecting is taken to the digital world. Users can collect sets of NFTs, with each completed set unlocking more valuable and exclusive NFTs, granting access to unique benefits.
Crafting is a process of creating one item in the form of a more functional NFT card, by connecting two less functional NFT cards. With the help of crafting, you can create new, stronger items or in-game characters with modified characteristics, paving your way to larger benefits.
Mystery box is a box filled with a random NFT of varying rarity levels from the collection. It is very similar to a surprise egg: you buy it with no clue what kind of toy is inside. Mystery boxes can be opened, exchanged and even unopened and sold for a profit on the marketplace as well as any other utility NFTs.
Furthermore, we seamlessly integrate NFTs into classic mechanics like lotteries, wheels of fortune and other interactive elements. This integration expands the possibilities, adding excitement and enhancing the overall engagement for users.
You might say that all this can be realized without the blockchain, however the NFT technology transfers these mechanics to a decentralized world, satisfying the user’s need for digital freedom and independence, where the user himself is the true owner of a virtual asset.
Why have NFTs made their way into iGaming specifically at this time?
igaming has always been at the forefront of innovation, and the integration of NFTs into this industry is a natural progression. What makes this particular time so significant is the active growth of cryptocurrency solutions within the iGaming sector.
Online gambling is one of the fastest-growing entertainment industries. However, market growth leads to intense competition, and it becomes increasingly difficult to catch and hold the players’ interest. New games are released every week which means there are hundreds of new slots and casino games rolling off the production line every year. Hence, a growing number of game providers are constantly coming up with new concepts and mechanics to engage players.
The timing couldn’t be better for NFTs to make their way into iGaming. The active adoption of cryptocurrencies and the growing demand for innovative experiences have created a perfect environment for the integration of NFTs as a new tool to entertain players. The next step in the industry development is to combine igaming technologies with the emerging Web3 idea and use the power of NFT technology to create new gaming experiences.
What value do NFT engagement tools from TRUE offer to the iGaming market?
In fact, NFT engagement tools, offered by TRUE, bring significant value to the igaming market across four key stakeholders: players, casinos, streamers and game providers.
Players can participate in a much more advanced loyalty system based on NFT mechanics to receive more bonuses. This is possible by means of integrating the NFT pass, the digital passport of a player, which records players’ betting volume and loyalty points. The more they play, the higher their NFT pass level is, leading to more valuable rewards. If a user wants to quit playing, he can sell his pass on the secondary market.
As for casinos, TRUE provides them with the ability to create their own collections, offering both traditional bonuses and NFT utility features. NFT utility opens up new possibilities for rewarding players, such as exclusive event tickets or luxurious real-life items like fine wines or even cars and yachts.
Streamers can leverage NFTs to further engage their audience through various gamification mechanics. They can distribute NFTs from their own collections as in-stream drops and organize lottery-style giveaways, enhancing viewer participation.
And finally, game providers can use NFT mechanics to interact with their audience and increase brand recognition without the cost of new game production. They can collaborate with streamers or create and promote their own NFT collections, as well as conduct Initial Game Offerings. By integrating NFT drops into their games, they can boost retention metrics by organizing giveaways, raffles, tournaments, and guild quests.
You recently launched the first in-game NFT drop in collaboration with game provider TrueLab. What is the core concept of the Victoria Wild West NFT collection?
The main idea is that we decided to seamlessly integrate the NFT collection directly into an existing well-received wild-west-themed slot game Victoria Wild West, using API, with the NFT tokens randomly dropped while playing. The drop contains 15,000 NFTs of different rarity to help the main character achieve her mission. Players pick up NFTs during the gameplay, collect them in albums and craft higher-level NFTs to receive various benefits.
Upon receiving the token, the player can grab it right away in the pop-up window by means of TRUE iFrame solution, without disrupting the gameplay. At the same time, a TRUE Wallet is automatically created for him with one click. This is a user-friendly cross-platform tool within TRUE Ecosystem, developed especially for those who are not deeply involved in crypto and Web3 concepts. This is a significant improvement over all the previous solutions that required players to exit the game and navigate to external websites or wallets to manage their NFTs.
What benefits do players gain from participating in this NFT drop?
Considering that the in-game NFT drop is completely free and each NFT has its value and rarity, players can use them in a different way. They can sell them on a secondary market or collect them in albums for further crafting to receive benefits.
Crafting is one of the noticeable engaging tools implemented in the game, where lower NFTs can be used to craft tokens of higher value. There are 5 crafting levels, every level unlocking bigger rewards, such as access to special promo events, bonuses in the upcoming TrueLab games, branded merchandise… up to a share of the Holders Treasury — a percentage of all bets placed on Victoria Wild West paid monthly!
The more bets are placed in the game, the more income the top-tier token generates in winnings. With that said, the most dedicated gamers will be able to craft super-rare NFTs and become co-owners of the game who are directly interested in its success.
Have TrueLab and the involved casinos seen any initial results from this integration?
Victoria Wild West NFT drop is now introduced at 30+ casino operators and the collection is already proving its success. We can’t speak for each of them, however, the first results of the drop at N1 casino are promising indeed: 50 per cent of all players who catch NFTs, get actively involved in collecting them, which goes far beyond the provider’s expectations.
According to data collected since the product launch in March, the number of players increased by 72.9 per cent with a 44 per cent increase in average session count per player. We also expect the new NFT mechanics to positively influence such metrics as bet size, bet count per session and bet count per player as the first results speak for themselves.
What are the plans for the project’s development? Does TRUE have any upcoming releases in the pipeline?
Regarding the igaming market, we have an exciting partner project in the pipeline called iGuild. iGuild is the first NFT community in igaming with exclusive benefits for its members, developed within our infrastructure through collaboration with industry-leading market players.
This ambitious project is aimed at building a cross-platform loyalty program by means of NFT technology to reward players with tasty bonuses according to their gaming statistics. I consider this to become the future of igaming and encourage you to keep an eye on this project as it promises many exciting affairs in the near future. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements and news!