Moonray Founder AMA

Following Axie Infinity’s success story towards the end of 2021, the crypto space has seen a large influx of “GameFi” projects, that aim to offer an opportunity to earn assets while enjoying the game. Some of these projects offer simplified gaming experiences, while others provide elaborate game loops with AAA title graphics and ambitions — all incorporating a project specific $TOKEN, as well as Non Fungible Tokens as in-game assets that provide further asset ownership and transparency via blockchain technology.

Can web3 gaming offer a viable product that many can enjoy without the tokens being the main selling point?

Today we have Rodrigo Etcheto, Founder of Moonray (read about the project here), sharing his creation and providing valuable insights into the web3 gaming ecosystem.

Q: How did you come up with “Moonray” as the project name?

A: We wanted to create a far-future, surrealistic game. Something that gamers hadn’t seen before. “Moonray” fit that surreal feeling we were going for.

Q: What was the drive behind creating the project?

A: This has been a passion project for our CEO for a long time. Rodrigo has a computer science degree and taught himself to code many years ago for the purpose of building a game. With the continued improvements to Unreal Engine, he felt the time was ripe for him to launch his own game development project. 3 ½ years ago he started building Moonray, with the intent to launch a premium (i.e. pay-to-play) AAA game.

Q: In your opinion, what are the key hurdles of the gaming industry?

A: Differentiation is one very big hurdle — especially for smaller studios that can’t afford massive marketing budgets and don’t have established IP to leverage new games or new versions of old games. The level of talent in the game dev world is tremendous, and the improvements in Unreal Engine and Unity allow new entrants to create wonderful games.

The issue is that a lot of high-quality assets are available for purchase — everything from character skins, to animation packs, to ready-made environments. That means that a game designer can buy a lot of off-the-shelf tools and put them together to make a pretty cool game. It also means that a lot of other game designers can do the same by leveraging the same tools. This has resulted in a flood of cool looking games, that all look the same. Whether it’s cyber punk, medieval fantasy, WWII, near-future space exploration and others, the market is glutted with content, a lot of it of good quality. Standing out has become more and more difficult.

A second hurdle of course is money. Despite all the great tools available, creating a AAA game is still a resource intensive undertaking.

Q: How does Moonray plan to position itself to overcome those hurdles?

A: Our intent was to produce a pay-to-play game that could compete with the AAA titles that gamers already know and love — Halo, Call of Duty, Assassins’ Creed, Final Fantasy, Dark Souls, etc. As a new studio, we knew that we couldn’t simply produce a new version of something gamers had already seen and hope to drive engagement. Therefore, from day 1 we sought to create something unique as a way to differentiate ourselves. That is why our game looks the way it does.

In terms of funding, we are fortunate enough to have 20+ months of development runway (assuming no revenue generating activities), which in a worst-case scenario will still allow us more than ample time to develop our game to its fullest potential.

Q: What would you say separates Moonray from other gaming titles?

A: The combination of AAA quality with Web3 functionality as well as a unique style and feel makes Moonray a compelling offering to gamers, especially those in the Web3 world, where to date there have been very few AAA titles to choose from. Being able to target Web3 gamers at launch gives us the ability to build a large community quickly — something Web2 games can struggle to do. Over time we plan to convert Web2 gamers to continue the growth of Moonray by making the user experience as simple as possible for non-crypto native folks.

We are also one of the very few games planning to launch melee style battle royale — something very rare in the gaming world — and are designing to be e-sports friendly. That means our game is inherently competition based, which when you combine it with Web3 play-to-earn functionality that allows us to reward players and keep gamers engaged.

Q: What are your key strategies to making Moonray a sustainable web3 project?

A: We take a “game first” approach to our development. Ultimately, our project will succeed based on how good the game is. If the game is compelling, we are driving engagement because gamers find it’s fun to play, that will create demand for all the Web3 components of the game. The Web3 functionality (NFT marketplace, tokenomics, etc.) is there to support the gameplay and to help gamers unlock their full potential in game. Our philosophy is that the blockchain should never overshadow the game. Most gamers won’t care what the blockchain is, but they definitely care that a game is fun to play.

Q: Are there any strategies in place to drive users?

A: We are currently in our pre-Alpha but we will be moving to our Alpha soon (planned for August 2022). Our Beta will come in October 2022. Once we start getting out of the Alpha testing phase and start to move into the Beta, we will be leveraging our network of investors and partners to start onboarding guilds and KOLs. The traditional way to drive users in Web2 gaming is through streaming, and our plan is to do the same. We are creating a PVP game that is fun to play — and equally important fun to watch. So our initial marketing will be around streaming.

As we move forward in development we will be hosting tournaments with significant prizes, and will turn on play-to-earn functionality to further reward engagement and drive our user base.

Q: What is Moonray’s target audience?

A: Gamers who are looking for a AAA experience and want the ability to trade their in-game assets and/or monetize their time. We know that right now our Discord is dominated by Web3 gamers, but we believe that a some point in the not too distant future, the difference between Web3 gamers (crypto native) and Web2 gamers (crypto indifferent or anti-crypto) will vanish. We realize that is not the case today, so our immediate focus is on the Web3 gamers on our Discord. But we are working to develop seamless onboarding for Web2 gamers to get them into play-to-earn without them having to worry about wallets or blockchains.

Q: Where do you see Moonray in 2 years’ time?

A: We will have Moonray 1.0 in the market, available as a PC download, as well as on mobile and on platforms with full play-to-earn functionality and e-sports tournaments ongoing. Gamers will be able to play 1v1, 2v2, 4v4 and Battle Royale in our open world format.

Final Words

We would like to thank the team at Moonray for providing extremely valuable insight into the development and thought process behind Moonray as a project, as well as covering crucial points on a way to web3 gaming becoming a viable option for mainstream gamers that enjoy gaming for exactly what it is.

Website: https://www.moonray.game/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/moonraygame

Discord: https://discord.gg/moonray

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MoonrayGame

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Atesis Capital

Atesis Capital

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Australian VC helping Web 3.0, DeFi, Blockchain & Gaming startups