Hello everyone! Great to be here among you all.
I am Derek Smart. Take a moment. Yes - it’s really me.
For the benefit of you who don’t know who I am, let me give a very short intro. Google will help you with the rest.
I have been an avid gamer and game dev for a lot longer than I care to remember. I started out in sales, then transitioned to IT (which, as a White Hat, I still do from time to time exclusively for various corps), and finally into software dev. As the world progressed, I was around during the days of Usenet, weathered the storms that were the advent of Compuserve, AOL, Bix, Cix etc. In short, I have been part of communities since the advent of the Internet as we know it. I have seen tech and communities comes and go - and I have been a part of it all at some point or another.
I started working on my first game in the mid-eighties. That game, Battlecruiser 3000AD (aka BC3K) was released in 1996 by Take Two (TTWO); and when they went public in 1998, it represented 14% of their revenue as per their SEC filing. So, you could say that I helped build what is today an industry powerhouse.
After that first game, I went on to build an indie studio through which I have designed, developed, and published over a dozen games in various IP. As an indie dev, I remained true to the games that I wanted to make, never following the pack. And so, I kept making the games that a group of people - my community - continued to buy and play year after year after year. I have been doing this for almost 40 (!) yrs.
I have worked with various publishers, developers and distributors all over the world; including Microsoft, Amazon, Valve, Take Two, Google and many others that have since gone away; for example Interplay, Dreamcatcher, Akklaim, GameTap etc. I have also done exclusive product deals with most of the industry leading companies, including retailers such as GameStop, Best Buy and others. Outside of gaming, I have also done exclusive partnership deals with companies such as Amazon, DC Comics (I did a series of comics for two of my games - one over here) etc.
As a legacy, old school, game industry vet, I know practically anyone worth knowing; regardless of their position. In short, I am literally six degrees connected from everyone. Over the years, I have built relationships which connect people together in all aspects of the industry.
As an avid gamer, my passion for gaming and my continued support for any/all gaming related activities and advocacy is unquestionable and beyond reproach. For example, I was one of the very vocal voices during the Star Citizen debacle eight years ago, the GamerGate fiasco, and others. I love my industry and games. And amid the occasional chaos, derision, and controversy, I have always remained true to my gaming friends, partners, and the communities that I am a part of. I am notorious for being that one guy who will run straight into battle - with a spoon - if that’s all I had. No fear. I am absolutely committed to anything that I set out to do.
I have been involved in crypto since Bitcoin was first released. I am actually a hodler from the early days - long before it became the phenomenon that it is today. I started looking deeper into the Web3 intitiative in 2019 - during the pandemic. During that time, I wrote up design docs, white papers, sketches (I am an avid 2D/3D artist/modeler btw) etc. about what I wanted to do in Web3 GameFi because I believed - at the time - that it was the next industry wave. And that was before AI (which I have also been involved in for decades) became a mainstream thing.
Then I decided to publish a game for Web3 to test the waters.
As time went on, I saw the cycle of derision that had started up around Web3 gaming; spawned by the advent of crappy cash-grab social experiments (and rug pulls) masquerading as “games”. Naturally, as these things go, it has now spiraled out of control. To the extent that Web3 gamers - our own friends, families and peers - have been siloed into their own [fledgling] communities and regarded as gaming outcasts. And so, these past few months, I have written various articles about Web3 gaming. And unsurprising to me, now that the crypto bear market is in full swing, most of the things that I wrote and warned about, have come to pass. For example: You’re never - ever - going to win over Web2 gamers with crappy cash grab games. Take the time to make a good game. That’s it. All of it.
Having been in a LOT of communities over the years, I have always found that the key to engagement is trust. Nothing else matters. It’s easy to spend millions of Dollars in a marketing blitz; but when it comes down to it, only the people who buy and play your game are all that matter. It takes a community. And if they trust you, it’s literally a license to print money. Trust me on this. I would know.
With that, I decided to start looking around for a Web3 community that I felt had the same values that I grew (btw I am 60 yrs old) up with, and which I could position as the tip of the Web3 spear that I was aiming to build. Without naming names of the others that I spent many months looking into and doing research on, I recently settled on the ApeCoin community for various reasons. One of which is very simple: the ApeCoin collective appears to be focused more on promoting the community than on making money via various cash grab initiatives. This was very important to me because it serves a specific purpose in my plan.
With that in mind, I felt that I would join the community, keep a low profile - as I tend to do when first joining any community - and see how things go. As a well-known public figure, I don’t have the luxury of anonymity that so many tend to enjoy. I stake my name and my rep on everything. It is the way.
My original goal was to see if this is the Web3 community that I wanted to make an exclusive part of my Web3 gaming initiative. The reason is simple. Though there is some overlap between Web2 and Web3 gamers, the undeniable derision that Web3 is facing from Web2 gamers, makes it an uphill battle and challenge. To that end, I felt that adopting the $APE coin as the Web3 token for my game, would be the first step toward bridging and building up a Web3 community that finally creates the credible Web2<---->Web3 community bridge.
As is normal, some of you may be skeptical about my motivations. And that’s OK. It’s par for the course; and that sort of thing doesn’t faze me. But bear this in mind: I could do this with any community, with any of the many tokens, anywhere that I choose etc. But I chose Apecoin. I already gave my reasons.
While I was pondering all of the above, what sparked this - my very first post - was when one of your leaders (I am old school, so I won’t name names unless they do so themselves) with whom I have been communicating through other channels about a collab with ApeCoin, suggested that perhaps I should apply to be a steward in the newly created Metaverse Working Group.
Having read about it, attended many Spaces etc. I was already familiar with the plans for the group; but I never thought that it was something that I should be a part of. As a public figure, though I am and have been involved in many gaming and game dev groups and orgs (e.g. I was leader of the FL chapter of the IGDA), I tend to be very selective in the ones that I join or engage in as a leader.
And so, I did some reading on the group and its mandated plans.
And this is where I have to be perfectly honest. For a time, I was of the opinion (which I voiced to some people that I know in ApeCoin) that the DAO wasn’t doing enough to build and promote the community beyond the confines of its bubble. It’s OK to be in a village, but don’t you ever wonder what would happen if you branched out beyond your village to build new things, meet new people and engage in fun things that would benefit and GROW your village? For the most part, I have yet to see any evidence that ApeCoin group is focused on making money. That’s a Very Big Deal - especially in Web3. So, if your focus is on growing the village, why not build on that and extend beyond the realms of this bubble? I have seen several AIPs targeted toward this, crash and burn for various reasons. That alone made me skeptical that anything was going to change in this regard. To me, the community felt stagnant.
These are the two mandates that were the catalyst for my throwing my hat in this MWG ring:
Drive culture forward into the metaverse by actively supporting metaverse-related efforts within the ApeCoin DAO.
I believe that with my decades-long, vast game industry experience in creating and building teams, products and communities, I would be a perfect steward for the Metaverse Working Group. I can help build the Web2<–>Web3 [gaming] bridge that I wrote about above, spread the word to my industry counterparts, peers, and friends, while helping the community branch out beyond this village - and to grow.
Best of all, whether or not I am appointed as a steward, we can still build a game - together. And I don’t mean that I build (I already did that) a game, then make you guys community testers. No. I meant “together” in every sense of the word. I have seen many builders (artists, coders, designers etc) here in the ApeCoin community - and I have a plan. At a later date, I will create a topic with more info about this. For now, this post is about being in the Metaverse Working Group.
So, that’s it. Put me in the Metaverse Working Group and we will build all the things.