Apr 24, 2024

Saga CEO Rebecca Liao joins "First Mover" with an introduction to the protocol's new Chainlets feature, which allows the automation of layer 1 creation.

Video transcript

Saga automates the launching of these chain letts. If you look at our web app experience, now it's about five seconds to putting in the chain parameters, you hit submit and then it takes about a minute for the validators to sync and then you have your own chalet, you have your own layer one within about a minute. And you can have as many of these as you like automating. The experience of launching chains is something that is unique to us and we are the first to market for that. The protocol is presented by the Stellar Community Fund. Accelerate your web three project with stellar funding. There's a new layer one on the block and it's focused on enabling the next 1000 chains in gaming and Entertainment Saga recently launched on main net with 350 projects in its innovator program and an airdrop campaign that includes several gaming partners. The Saga main net hopes to simplify the process for developers to launch their own dedicated blockchains called chain lits. So how does this all work? What does the future look like for web three games? And what makes this layer one competitive in a growing landscape. We have the perfect person here to unpack this layer one that's been getting a lot of hype lately. Rebecca Lau. Welcome to first mover. Thanks so much for having me, Jen. It's great to be here. Well, let's talk about Saga. I mentioned it in my introduction there. Your mission is to enable the next 1000 chains in gaming and entertainment. That sounds like quite a feat. Talk to me about how you're gonna do this. Well, it's wonderful to be with you and you're absolutely right. Saga is a layer one, but we are a very unique layer one in that we are a layer one to launch layer ones. So by definition, everyone who's building on us is on their own layer one or set of layer ones which we call chalets and all of these chalets speak to one another. There is interoperability out of the box and therefore you can have as many layer ones as you like supporting your particular application. So it is a very high performance environment and that's why we always say we are designing for infinite horizontal scalability. You can have as many layer ones supporting your application as you need. And the reason we're focused on gaming and entertainment is when we looked at the landscape and thought who really needs this, it really is games, it really is games that are focused on Uiux above everything else on that cost this experience for the end user on reducing friction and making it a fun and entertaining experience as much as possible. How does this solve the challenges that folks who are building web three games and folks that are building entertainment applications that use web three? How does it solve some of the challenges for them? Absolutely. So let's get down to fundamentals and the way that a game or even an NFT project that's doing a massive drop, the way that they are structured is they have lots of on chain transactions. So you imagine all the actions in a game that matter and that would want to be recorded on chain. There's a lot of them throughout the course of any play session. And the only way that layer one or any sort of Blockchain can really handle that kind of volume is by scaling. Now, the trick um with gaming and entertainment as well is that you want to make it as friul as possible for that end user and cost does factor into that. So high and variable gas fees are a distinct barrier to entry for these kinds of applications. Now, you think about defi which has dominated web free applications so far D I has the opposite dynamic. So DFI has actually a relatively low volume of transactions, comparatively speaking, but each transaction value is high enough such that gas fees, while painful for everyone, they are tolerable. And so really in gaming and entertainment, you are looking for as high performance environment as possible. And you're looking to reduce cost on the front end as much as possible if you can get it to costless transactions, which Saka has all the better. So in many ways, even though we are a general purpose layer one, so there is defi building on us as well as various kinds of applications outside of gaming and entertainment. Truly, it is gaming that has come to this chain. You know, there have been a lot of layer twos that are working to solve the same problems that you just laid out for me talking about the differences. Why might a developer choose to uh build a chain lit on top of Saga rather than a layer two? Absolutely. So I would focus on three main differences. So first and foremost, every single chain lit on Saga is its own fully decentralized proof of state chain. It is a full chain with a full validator set. The way that we accomplish this is every single time a developer is deploying on Saga, we are replicating ourselves. So we have a Saga main net. It's got a decentralized set of validators and every single chalet is a replica of that validator set and security model. So that opens up a world of possibilities. First and foremost, that architecture is unique every single layer two out there um is by and large single sequence or roll ups. So it's centralized database. In other words, not a chain and it's got to roll up to the mother chain in order to settle their transactions. So that opens up a whole host of differences in feature set. So first one is automation. So Saga automates the launching of these chalets. If you look at our web app experience, now it's about five seconds to putting in the chain parameters, you hit submit and then it takes about a minute for the validators to sync and then you have your own chain. Lett you have your own layer one within about a minute. And you can have as many of these as you like. Automating. The experience of launching chains is something that is unique to us and we are the first to market for that. So that's the first distinction. It's just ease of use for the developers. The second major distinction is the costless fees. So um for most layer twos, the way that they try to reduce cost on gas is they will batch transactions from a bunch of layer twos, but ultimately, a layer two has to settle on a layer one. And so once they batch these transactions, it is sent to the layer one. And the hope is that the aggregate transaction amount um when the transactions are sent at a more optimal time will hopefully reduce the gas fees. And by and large, they have been successful in reducing fees but definitely not getting them down to a level where it's sustainable for an application like gaming and entertainment. So you have to um keep in mind that even for a gaming application, gas fees that are as low as five cents or sub penny are still really expensive when you aggregate that over the number of transactions that you're dealing within a game. Now, for Saga, we are feeless. So on the front end, we do not show up. The Saga token does exist but it is used only by developers to pay the validators to keep their chalets alive. On the front end, we by default do not show up. So we don't charge gas fees to the end user. We leave it entirely up to the developer to monetize however they like. So if they want to charge their own token, if they want to charge fiat stablecoin, if they have a big community in another ecosystem and they want to charge that token instead, that's totally fine if for whatever reason they want to use. So as a token for branding purposes, we're ok with that, but we do not mandate it at all. So second, big advantage is the costless transactions and the third is interoperability. None of these L two s are able to speak to one another or have fast bridging to other chains. And when it comes to scaling, of course, you need all these instances to speak to each other as much as possible and you need that fast bridging to other ecosystems now. Gaming is really near and dear to my heart. So I'm focusing in on that part. I know that it's 80% of what's going on on Saga right now. But I have to ask you, we're talking about the automation of these chains. It sounds like you're really working to make the process of bringing games, especially in the web three space to life easier. Are you hoping to attract web three developers who are already building these games or are you hoping to maybe get some of those web two developers who have been reluctant? They've been on the sidelines. It's been a little bit difficult for them to implement this technology into the games that they're already building more comfortable with, with Web three. Who's your target there? Absolutely. So the way that we have approached it is we are well aware that we have to win at home first. And so the web three developers who are looking into gaming, who have been building games for the last 23 years, that is the core audience. And I would say that most people who are in the innovator program with games that are ready to go this year, they fall into that category having said that there is a huge advantage in web two gaming, traditional gaming. Um But the way that we approach it is yes, we do have to make the developer experience as easy as possible, but that's not enough because a Web three game is very different from a Web two game. It's not enough to just say to a Web two game. Well, it's, it's so easy to get on to Web three. All you have to do is just put a few transactions on chain. All you have to do is take your in-game assets and make them NFTS on chain or introduce a token into your game as opposed to your usual in game currency. None of those solutions are going to translate to dollar signs for these game developers in web two. So you have to really speak their language and achieve the goals that they want to achieve. They are looking for user acquisition. They're looking for retention of users. They are looking to grow their communities through UGC user generated content. They are looking for greater social engagement. They're looking for stronger communities. That is what matters to a web two game developer. It matters to a web three game developer as well. The Web two has been thinking about these problems for a very long time. Um There are many ways in which crypto uniquely solves these problems. But when we talk to a web two developer, we do emphasize the ease of the development experience, but we're really focused on making sure that their business, really, their game or their game studio can grow using crypto. I'm so happy you said that it is definitely not easy to just take a web two game and slap some web three elements on it and then get people to actually use those, let alone developers to build it out and really think thoughtfully about in game economies. And so yes, thank you for saying that. Now I want to talk about some that lots of people have been talking about. People are very excited about it on Twitter your airdrop campaign that is named after a Dragon Ball Z reference a meme that I think everyone knows power level over 9000. Tell me about it. Yeah, absolutely. So power level over 9000 is an incredibly ambitious go to market campaign for all of our closest partners. Uh So we launched main net, obviously had a very big genesis airdrop of our own. And what we learned during that launch campaign is that we have got a user acquisition engine going and all of our partners noticed it as well. And so when it came time to really reward the ecosystem for being early and reward our community for being early, we thought this is the perfect way to do it. So power level over 9000 is a campaign of over 100 tokens and NFTS that are going to be air dropped to saga stakers and a lot of these tokens are going to be coming from our chalets. So it's going to be innovators who are building on us. Um Some of them will be tokens that are actually recognizable in the market already, but many of them will be new. But I think what's really distinctive about this particular program is that we are including a lot of live tokens from partners on other ecosystems that are coming onto Saga. So people like Shrapnel Wilder World, Ygg, um the Sandbox OG and the Metaverse um Expo, which is a come to us chain, the largest mobile game publisher in the world, uh Marvel X, which is a net marble chain, third largest game publisher in the world overall. Um entrance of theory, which is a new game and then a few special collaborations that we're going to announce over the next few weeks. But the idea was to really give back to the ecosystem and the community. And I think all these partners are here because they recognize the Saga community is where gamers are at, this is where they are going to grow their user base. Um So 100 plus tokens, it's not gonna all come at once. Um Everyone's going to get their due and time in the spotlight. So this is going to roll out over the next few months. Uh That's an incredibly exciting project and we're just very grateful for all the partnership and collaboration um with, with all these projects in our ecosystem. Look into your crystal ball for me. Tell me, you know, if this all works out, if this thesis that we all have, who work in this industry works out what is the future of gaming look like to you in five years, five years. Um So I'll talk about what web free gaming looks like. And then I'll talk about wider gaming because I do think that we will make it because we will have made a greater impact on the gaming industry and given the size of the gaming industry, I would say on society writ large. So I'll go small first into Saga's contribution and then go into the largest social video. Um So in terms of Saga's goals, so I'll never forget that um had a conversation with the head of gaming at Samsung who was talking about getting a soccer storefront on to Samsung Galaxy Play and was asking a top web three game, how many MA U monthly active users? And I this was deep in the bear market but still um I said about 50,000 and he said, what is this web three gaming revolution? I keep hearing about uh if a game does not have at least a million MA us, it is not considered competitive. And so my goal this year, um especially with our innovators, but really with a Saga Publishing house called Saga Origins, we are going to land that game or maybe a couple of games that are going to reach those levels at least a million MA us. So that's the goal of Saga in terms of user um acquisition and retention. Now, in terms of what we hope to contribute to wider gaming. I would say that growth in gaming is dependent on games like Fortnite, like Roblox, where they really encourage user generated content, they really encourage modding of the game, so not moderating but modifying of the game. And it really is about fostering that creative expression among your gamer community that you really grow your title and everyone would like to capture that magic, but I don't think a big centralized studio can do it. Um A web three title is much better positioned to do it. Now. Um You zoom out and look at all the trends that are happening in A I as well. Everyone is using generative A I in all of their gaming artwork and all of their gameplay and the marriage of that in crypto, I think is going to happen first in gaming. Um And so the confluence of those two technologies in the hands of individual users with democratized generation of creative content is incredibly powerful and I think it'll be exactly what um itunes, Facebook, tiktok, um That kind of impact on our society. That's what we have to look forward to over the next 5, 10 years. I'm so surprised to hear that that came from Samsung. Samsung has been pretty forward thinking. I think when it comes to Web three, pretty open to experimenting, but they also really understand the gaming space. So I don't know, I was surprised to hear that. Were you surprised? I was not surprised to hear it because I think that it was um it was definitely put it this way, it was difficult um feedback to hear because the difference between 50,000 and a million maus is quite a lot, but I think it was necessary and it was very welcome feedback. Um because now we know in all honesty, what is the goal, what is the goal for us to be taken seriously? Not just saga, but for the industry writ large to be taken seriously in wider gaming. What does success look like? Uh And so Samsung is incredibly forward thinking. They're one of the few, they are the only app store at the moment to really welcome on um uh applications that have those tokens or those NFTS. Uh And they have obviously invested uh in a lot of web three projects. So they are incredibly forward thinking, but I think they wanted to deliver a hard truth and it was very welcome because it's given us a real goal to work towards. And the last question here before you wrap up, why do you think there hasn't been a really good web three game yet? And when I say really good, I guess like really successful, why do you think that it's been so tough for web three games to break out into the mainstream? I think that the development cycle for web three gaming is something that developers frankly have to um really figure out. And I do think that after a couple of cycles of going after these games, they are figuring it out. But in traditional gaming, you have years to work on a game. So you tease a game and then the community gets excited, you go away for a few years to really work on it and a game is complicated. I mean, think about a movie that you can actually interact with, it's not easy to build a game. Um And then a few years later, it comes out big hoopla all of that. So the time frame is a lot longer. Now in crypto, you can already imagine a few years is maybe two cycles. And so timing is incredibly important. And if you um if you put out a game that's like half baked, it's not going to be very good. You may capture um the revenue from NFTS or a token sale, but it's not going to be a very good game. But I mean, that is not casting as versions at all on the development team, you just had to face the pressure of the cycle in crypto. Um So now I think people are figuring out, OK, what is it that we can give the community before the game is fully finished, such that we can start to build that community, we can get them engaging. Um We can get them, you know, very interesting opportunities and assets to work with. But um we still preserve the opportunity to release a really, really great game. I think people are figuring out that cycle. That's probably why you haven't seen a breakthrough title yet. It's just the, the pressure um of the, the user cycle in crypto just hasn't really allowed for it. But I think it's getting better. I keep saying that we have to go, we really have to go after this one. But one last question, do you think that uh a small game, a small game company is going to come up and dethrone the centralized players or do you think it's gonna take participation from some of the centralized players, the big game publishers we know today um working with the web three companies to really make the stream come to fruition. I definitely think that innovation always comes from the grassroots. And so it's not necessarily just going to be web three native studios that are going to produce these games. It's also going to be indie studios um in, in traditional gaming that are going to realize the opportunity here that have the freedom to experiment who are also going to bring those great titles to market. I do think that for the large studios and we've seen this in, in greater entertainment as well. It, it's incredibly hard to innovate because they are followers. They will see that a technology really takes hold before they inevitably pour money into it. And then try to catch up. So while we always welcome conversations with the larger studios, we understand that it really is in the smaller, more nimble, more innovation minded studios um where we're going to see the first adoption and inevitably, whatever the big studios produce the taste, the look and feel the artwork, the gameplay, all of that is going to follow what's already come. Um So it really does come from the grassroots, it's much harder work um to sell to many as opposed to just a few. But inevitably, I think every technology trend follows that pattern. Rebecca, thanks so much for joining first mover. It was a pleasure.

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