FutureFive New Zealand - Consumer technology news & reviews from the future
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Interview: Signal Zero Inc introduces 'Loot' which is a new way gamers can earn rewards
Thu, 17th May 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Usually to make a living playing video games, you need to be good at eSports or entertaining on Twitch and YouTube. Now there's a new way called 'Loot'. FutureFiveNZ had a chance to speak with Signal Zero CEO and founder Tobias Batton more about what' Loot' is about and how beneficial it can be for gamers around the world. It's an interesting new concept that hopefully gets more traction in the near future.  FutureFiveNZ: Tell me more about Loot and what your company does? Tobias Batton: "The company behind Loot is Signal Zero, Inc. We have been in business since 2013 and we were profitable by 2014 so we are an established business. We have two primary apps: Tokenwall is a loyalty application that rewards users for trying new mobile games. They can trade their loyalty points for a number of rewards, cash, Amazon, Xbox, Steam etc.

Advertisers spend money to get the users to try their apps. Our other app which is newer and very exciting is taprivals.com. It's our own eSports application and it works a lot like retro arcades. Users buy “tokens” which are virtual coins, and spend them to play games, which reward them with gems, which they can trade for cash, giftcards etc.  It's all tournament based, so no advertisers, but users “buy in" between these two platforms. We now have about 800,000 active monthly users and we have provided our community with almost $8 million in rewards so that's the background so far." So how you do track players' skills and determine what to reward them? "The reason this is compatible with any game is because it compares player performance against each other. Whether the game is ‘Tic Tac Toe or Destiny 2, you can always compare players to each other. So it works with any game that can integrate our API so, any digital game.

Right now we are working on making this a completely decentralized block chain solution that's our next step, and that is what we call Loot. What is also really cool is that Loot will work just like experience points, so the more Loot players get, they level up." The more you play the more you get paid I assume? "Levelling up is important, because it unlocks items. So if a 3rd party publisher uses this and they have a lot of items in the game, they can tie their items to the protocol and players with a lot of Loot can access them immediately. So for instance, pretend WoW had Loot enabled and you're a new player with lots of Loot you could theoretically get level 110 gear immediately."

Generally speaking, is anyone able to use Loot? I know eSports is hard because the skill level is so high.  Does Loot make it more accessible? "Yeah, everyone wins some Loot. The lowest score in the distribution gets a reward. The highest score of course gets the max prize, so it's not just for the pros." How did you come up with this idea in the first place? "I've been helping gamers make money playing games for 4 years now. It's a great business, but it's also my passion. Our two apps Tokenwall and Taprivals each have a strength and weakness. Tokenwall's strength is that the players don't have to spend any money.  The weakness is that if advertisers are slow, they run out of things to do pretty quickly.

Tap Rival's strength is that players always have something to do and can always win cash and prizes, but the weakness is that they have to spend their money to participate. With Loot, there are both strengths and neither weaknesses because Loot is literally “mined” or generated as a result of player skill so no need to buy in. Where the utility and demand of the asset is a result of the experience and item system. so if players want a boost or don't want to grind, they can buy Loot from players willing to sell it. To me, it's a very exciting hybrid of the solutions we have already developed." Another question, how do you guys find out if someone is cheating/hacking in a game? Do they get punished? "We've been working on our own anti cheat solution since 2014.The short answer is there is a tremendous amount of data that is leveraged programmatically to detect cheaters etc and keep them off the network. This is all being baked into our protocol. The platform has been used in the industry for years." Where are most of your users of Loot located? Also how do you plan on making Loot be used by more people worldwide? “Loot is still in development, but over 60% of the audience for both TokenWall and Taprivals is in the USA. We have strong followings in Western Europe and a few other countries like Singapore and Brazil. When Loot is fully completed, it will be available on our own network, which already has 800,000 active monthly users. We've also been working hard to partner with some really solid 3rd party game companies, and we are going to have some announcements soon.” Is there anymore other info you'd like to share?​ "I think you had excellent questions. We have two big initiatives right now, which is wrapping up the solution on the engineering front, and getting game publishers on board on the business development front. Thanks a lot for talking with us."