Justin Hulog - Immutable


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Immutable’s Justin Hulog Shares His Vision of the Future of Blockchain Gaming

Abhimannu Das
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Former Riot Games Southeast Asia General Manager Justin Hulog moved to Immutable as the Chief Studio Officer to bolster the company’s vision of blockchain gaming. Immutable is a blockchain gaming studio that has previously launched Gods Unchained and is looking to release Guild of Guardians, which is a mobile action roleplaying game (ARPG).

Hulog’s entry into blockchain gaming

Hulog’s introduction to blockchain gaming started with Axie Infinity. He met the co-founder of Axie Infinity in January 2021, and after finding out more about how blockchain games work, he was very interested in blockchain gaming.

Hulog said, “a lot of my nieces and nephews were playing blockchain games and were asking me about it. On a professional side, there has been a significant jump in the popularity of blockchain games among the youth.”

During his time at Riot Games, Hulog studied the blockchain gaming space and it helped him understand the technology and what it means for player ownership. He drew a lot of similarities between blockchain gaming and the early stages of mobile gaming with free-to-play games being released for the first time.

Hulog helped connect Riot Games and Immutable. He had more conversations with several gaming companies and wanted to be involved in the space. Immutable was originally a traditional gaming company and a lot of its key members were a part of mainstream gaming titles in the past.

Why blockchain gaming is the future of gaming

Hulog talked about how non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are similar to owning Magic: The Gathering cards. There is player ownership involved in blockchain games, which is something the web 2.0 sphere does not offer.

He revealed that the immediate goals of Immutable are divided into two parts. Over the next few years, Immutable’s mission is to be the undisputed leader in blockchain gaming, both by building owned-and-operated games and becoming the go-to platform (Immutable X) for developers looking to build a blockchain game.

Immutable X gives users instant trade confirmation, massive scalability, and no gas fees — without compromising user custody and security. Any NFT that is created or traded on Immutable X is 100% carbon neutral. It is a Layer 2 protocol that allows applications to be built on top of the Ethereum network. This has unprecedented potential for a number of applications - particularly games.

The other major goal Immutable has in its sights is the gaming division which Hulog is a part of. The game studio handles Gods Unchained, Guild of Guardians, and other upcoming titles. While Gods Unchained is already a hit amongst blockchain gaming enthusiasts, Hulog is also very optimistic of Guild of Guardians.

A mobile ARPG has a lot of value for markets like Southeast Asia, America, India, and other key markets. I am working on ensuring that the game scales globally and is marketed properly. We are focused on the launch and are looking to create more high-quality experiences through partnerships that I cannot talk about just yet."
Justin Hulog

The games go through strict vetting processes before they are listed on the platforms. The studio wants to ensure that the games meet certain standards and offer something unique to players. Hulog affirmed that players will not need to purchase any NFTs to play any of its games. Guild of Guardians will focus on quests with guild members and endgame activities like raids. There might be some player-versus-player (PvP) content over time in the future.

How the crypto market crash has affected Immutable

Hulog feels that the crypto market was full of low-quality projects that did not have a lot of promise. When the global economic wave came, projects that were not designed with proper goals in mind were adversely affected.

There are very few games in the blockchain sphere that are actually ‘playable.’ While there are tons of projects that release, very few titles actually have the kind of sustainability it needs to cater to players. Very few games have been able to launch successfully and maintain a large playerbase long-term. Companies that are able to thrive even in the downtrends, can be the cornerstones of the market. A lot of bad actors are weeded out from the market. Consumers are getting smarter and are quickly able to identify the games that actually offer value.
Justin Hulog

Players are looking at the teams behind blockchain games, the quality, the story, and other factors that come together. Blockchain games should offer quality experiences that command the same appeal that web 2.0 games do. Customers are quickly realizing which games are worth investing in and the bear market will help push out bad actors from the system.

What the future of gaming looks like

“Anyone who says they can predict the future is lying. The big innovation that blockchain gaming brings is that there will be more ways to play games. Web 3.0 might allow players to reap benefits from their time and investment,” he said.

There might be unique business models that open up and we might see inter-operable assets that can be transferred from one game to another. Virtual reality may also play a major role in the future of blockchain gaming.

There is currently a lot of negativity and skepticism against the inclusion of NFTs. Hulog said that it is important for developers to focus on people who are interested in what blockchain gaming has to offer. Blockchain gaming might be able to tap into a new generation of gamers in the space.

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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.

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