Founder Stories: Gabby Dizon - Yield Guild Games
Published 16th February 2023 by MSV Team
We've got some brilliant projects within our portfolio and want to tell you more about the founders and teams behind them. On a regular basis, you will have the opportunity to learn more about specific projects through our interviews and post any questions you may have further down in the comments section.
In today’s interview, we have Gabby Dizon, Co-founder of Yield Guild Games (YGG). Let’s go!
Hi Gabby, hope you are well. Can you share with us about you and your background?
I have a 20-year career as a game developer, starting with the creation of the first Philippine-made game in 2003. Afterward, I joined several game development projects. In 2014, I co-founded Altitude Games, a mobile game studio creating games for iOS and Android.
How did you enter the blockchain space, and what got you hooked?
My interest in blockchain and smart contracts came after I heard about Ethereum and how it could transform the gaming industry. CryptoKitties was also very popular back then, which got me interested in the concept of non-fungible tokens. In October 2018, I discovered Axie Infinity and joined its community as a player, which led me to become friends with its founders. I was breeding a lot of Axies for fun, and as the game gained popularity, I began lending my Axies to other players, which eventually inspired me to co-found YGG.
You co-founded Yield Guild Games in 2020. Could you explain how that came about?
In October 2020, I saw the positive impact of NFT games on the lives of Filipinos who found an additional source of income while doing something they loved. This inspired me to create Yield Guild Games, or YGG, a global network aimed at helping players get started with NFT games. I was joined by Beryl Li, a fintech entrepreneur, and Owl of Moistness, a developer, to fulfill the mission of introducing millions of people to the play-to-earn concept.
Yield Guild Games has become the largest decentralized network of gaming guilds focused on blockchain games and web3 education. Committed to providing opportunities for its members to achieve success in the open Metaverse, YGG empowers its community to build their “Metaverse résumé” through initiatives such as its Web3 Metaversity in partnership with Nas Academy, and the achievement-driven community token distribution protocol, Guild Advancement Program (GAP). YGG is also focused on supporting web3 esports and has its own team made up of the most accomplished players in the guild, called YGG Elite, who have been competing and winning in web3 game tournaments all around the world.
Today, YGG has grown significantly, having partnered with over 80 web3 projects from games to infrastructure and other guilds. YGG has established game subDAOs, YGGLOK (YGG League of Kingdoms) and YGGSPL (YGG Splinterlands) and eight regional subDAOs — namely YGG SEA (Southeast Asia excluding the Philippines), IndiGG (India), Ola GG (global Hispanic communities), BAYZ (Brazil), YGG Japan, and SKYGG (Korea), AMG (Central and Eastern Europe), and Troy (Turkey and Egypt), which cater to the needs of their communities with a hyper-localized approach.
Blockchain games have been one of the main driving forces of the last bull market. Do you think this trend will continue in the future? If so, what are the biggest hurdles for the web 3 gaming space?
I believe blockchain gaming has proven its use case and will continue to attract players, developers, and talent in the future as more people realize the importance of digital ownership and how it allows players to truly own and control their digital assets in a game where they have spent their time, skill and effort.
There are still several hurdles to be overcome. YGG was established in 2020 to bring NFTs and blockchain games to the masses. At the time, NFTs were not yet well-known, especially in the gaming industry, so we focused on raising awareness and educating the public on the potential of blockchain games.
We still see education as a valuable foundation for onboarding people into the Metaverse. The guild has decided to address this challenge by educating and upskilling its community in order to open up new opportunities in the digital economy and build out our community’s web3 careers with YGG's educational platform Web3 Metaversity, in partnership with Nas Academy.
Another hurdle in the web3 space is the challenge to establish trust and credibility within the blockchain gaming ecosystem. Without a central authority to oversee transactions or interactions between parties, it becomes essential to find alternative methods of building trust and establishing a reputation. To address this problem, YGG has developed the Guild Advancement Program (GAP), which tracks the achievements and upskilling of its guild members.
Through the GAP, YGG is able to establish a system that allows for transparency and creates a framework of trust and accountability among players, where they can verify the skills they have attained in the Metaverse. Aside from gaming skills, we also want to recognize our community’s skills and talents in streaming, content creation, community moderation, competitions, and more.
Overall, our vision is to uplift the community as a whole by providing access to new opportunities in virtual worlds through educating and upskilling as well as providing the space with a reliable reputation system.
You currently have 10 SubDAO networks under your umbrella. Do you plan to continue this fast expansion? What are the markets you are most excited about?
Each regional market has its own unique features. YGG is continuing to expand its subDAO model across the world to address challenges and opportunities in their respective local markets and ensure language-specific content, education and hyper-localized support are made available for player onboarding.
Looking at the industry as a whole, I think we're going to see a lot more attention to North American gamers this year. YGG is in discussion with a strategic partner who has roots in this region, and we are excited to tackle this opportunity.
In April 2022 you launched your Guild Advancement Program (GAP). Could you share a bit more about it?
YGG launched the Guild Advancement Program (GAP) in 2022 to reward its members for contributing to the guild through content creation, in-game accomplishments, and engagement in Discord activities. Members earn NFTs and YGG tokens as rewards, which they can use to build their Metaverse résumé and showcase their skills and experience in the web3 space. The program aims to support the growth of the community and help individuals establish their reputation and identity in web3. YGG's vision is to create a decentralized and inclusive web3 ecosystem where individuals have control over their digital identity and reputation and are recognized for their contributions. The GAP is also a way for YGG to track and verify contributions in the web3 gaming ecosystem. YGG is continuing to build its reputational systems, including expanding the GAP into different games and Metaverses.
So far, Season 1 and Season 2 of the GAP have concluded, and we are about to launch Season 3. In the second season of the GAP, new types of non-game-related quests and achievements were introduced, such as actionable tasks for creators, streamers and influencers. The number of available achievements increased from 45 to 117, thanks to the addition of more YGG-partnered games. Additionally, the number of participants quadrupled from the first season.
In total, we have distributed over 3,000 NFTs to recognize the achievements of our participants. We are looking forward to the participation of more game partners, and other creative quests that our community can get involved in to earn rewards and build their reputation in the web3 gaming community.
What has your biggest achievement and challenge been at Yield Guild Games so far?
Beyond expanding the YGG network across the globe through our subDAOs, we are really proud to have co-produced an event in Manila called the Philippine Web3 Festival.
A lot of Filipinos got through the pandemic by playing Axie Infinity, and since then, the Philippines has really embraced web3. Before we launched the festival, most people in crypto already knew that about the Philippines, but few of them had actually been here. The event brought together YGG’s partners, communities, and the whole CryptoPH space together to acknowledge and showcase the growth of crypto adoption.
The Philippine Web3 Festival had a three-day conference with over 2,000 attendees. Apl.de.Ap of Black Eyed Peas, a Filipino artist, also expressed his support by talking about opportunities for creatives in web3, and delighted the attendees with a performance of his group’s hit songs. The event concluded with Axie Open Manila, an esports tournament with a cash prize of US$120,000, where players from the Philippines and other countries participated.
There is still a lot of work to do in building the future we want, and the current market is the best time to build. This bear market is also very different from previous ones. There are a lot of well-funded teams and people are building great products, and the best of the best are coming over to web3. Now is the time for everyone to build and learn.
Can you give us any thoughts on how the web 3 gaming market will evolve in the next 5 years?
The next phase of crypto will be all about people’s web3 reputation. NFTs and web3 can drive forward digital identity and on-chain reputation. Having blockchain-based identity and reputation solutions will be critical for anyone looking to build a future for themselves in the open Metaverse, and we are starting with this already with YGG’s Guild Advancement Program (GAP).
Anything interesting last comments you would like to share with us?
YGG’s Guild Advancement Program just launched its third season with more achievements for people to participate in. See here for more details: https://yieldguild.medium.com/introducing-guild-advancement-program-gap-season-3-fd504299b2d1
Thanks a lot for your time Gabby. Good luck with your projects!
If you have questions for Gabby, please use the comment section below. In the meantime, you can check the social media profiles of the project: Website | Twitter | Discord | Medium
The Morningstar Ventures Team