eSports and Hackathons create Axie: The Blockchain Pokemon Killer

Jeffrey Zirlin, Growth Hacker at Axie finds the comparison rather uncomfortable, “We don’t want to be the first Pokemon, we want to be the first Axie.”

From the very beginning, this team was birthed from the competition and the drive to be on top. During my chat with Jeffrey, I find myself being confidently directed to a clear vision of what Axie is on the path to becoming. Jeffrey explains, “Many of our team members met in the Cryptokitty community Trung Nguyen (CEO), Aleksander L. Larsen (COO), and Myself. We were fortunate to have gotten started very early. We were all top CryptoKitty players and decided to build the game that we thought CK could have been with a bit more vision.”

The Vision

Your team is very concentrated (lean development at its best). How did that happen? How do you keep it healthy?

Our developers all come from the competitive programming scene. So they are used to hacking things together quickly. Since they are all involved in the international coding scene they are on a different level than most of the other developers in the space and are now further in development than any other project in the NFT gaming space.

Smart! Ok, at this point I feel like I want to talk about the synergy of your team. It sounds like you all work together like a League of Legends dominance machine. If your team was playing League of Legends, how would it break out?

haha cool I see the Devs as the ADC. We [growth hackers and content creators] need to support them while they get fed and build up our long term potential. [Similar to League] our artists are so key! They are what make people take a look. The art/outreach gets people to check the game out and the core game features get them to take us seriously. The community engagement is what gets them to stay while they [players] wait [for the game to be completed]. If that makes sense...

Completely! Sounds like you’ve found the secret sauce to growing a game in alpha development. What is your focus at the moment? With all of your CryptoKitties experience, what are you doing to keep from having the hype train accident? You know where you have a flood of new players who don’t really understand what is realistic for a game in alpha?

Yes. I think since the tech is still being developed the community growth strategy is different. At first, we launched just a pre-sale where we basically sold genetic data for ~1000 ETH. People trusted us to build a game using those funds. So now they are waiting while we build. We have progressively released features and gained new players steadily with each new feature launch. We’ve kept our community happy and engaged by delivering features that nobody has ever seen before.

So true. For example, there will be no NERFing in this game. If a player breeds an overpowered Axie, it's up to the community to combine DNA from their Axies and breed a hard counter. Instead of the developers having the ability to destroy your favorite Axie coughs I’m talking to you Riot players have all the power! Jeffrey sends a digital smile signaling me that there’s even more to come but he’s not telling me anymore.

Instead, he reminds me of the open invite for: streamers, bloggers, thought leaders in the blockchain space, artists, and content creators to join their discord. Or tag them in content created about their game, like this musical gem - Axie Infinite: the Musical

You can make ANYTHING you want, as long as it’s Axie-related and enriches the community.

What do you think about Axie? Is this the next BIG thing on the blockchain?

Axie Infinity is a game about collecting and raising fantasy creatures called Axie, on the Ethereum platform.

Originally posted on LinkedIn July 27, 2018

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