Ready ecosystem adoption to date
The software development kit (SDK) and API were first made available to third-party developers in October 2021. The package of services, branded under the rubric “The Ready Games Network” or RGN, were part of a development process that began in November 2020. At the time, Ready had produced over 300 original mini-game competitions, with skill-based cash prizing for the best players. These mini games were deployed into an app called “Ready Games” running on iOS and Android, with three new titles appearing weekly, from May 2018 to October 2020.
The games were built in Ready’s companion creation app- Ready Maker- with a backend supporting the live ops required to run what were continuous mobile eSports tournaments. Over the course of the tournament platform’s lifetime, Ready concluded that real-money gaming provided players with a powerful “play to earn” mechanic, but the regulatory and technical complexity of running RMG tournaments limited the potential for scale. Moreover, games of skill tend to favor the truly skilled players, reducing scale further, as more casual players correctly deduced their probability of “winning” was quite low.
Based on these findings, Ready undertook a process of diversifying “play to earn” mechanics rewarding players for their “time” and effort spent in the game with a focus on internal use cases:
- 1.Diversification of prizing from cash prizing, to status-oriented prizing (achievements, consumable rewards), fairly common in the gaming industry.
- 2.A move away from turn-based solo competitions to synchronous PvP contests.
- 3.The ability to rapidly inject all the PvP infrastructure into a casual game format, with an eye towards a) matching the pace of ‘fast to fail’ hypercasual game development and b) injecting PvP mechanics that are opposed to fast failing mobile mechanics because PvP systems are intrinsically time consuming, and expensive to deploy, with minimal efficiency from game to game.
For a variety of reasons, it became clear that no existing third-party solutions existed to enable Ready’s use case. Ready concluded that the best path would be to create, for its own internal use, a “shell” whose purpose is to rapidly prototype PvP games, with full game economies.
By approximately April 2021, Ready was operating a code base that allowed for rapid prototyping of core PvP mechanics:
- Player login.
- Friends lists.
Using its own titles, Ready proceeded to roll out additional PvP dependent features, and by August 2021 the following were added to the list of functions:
- Player inventory.
- Achievements, awards, level progression.
- Deployment of hard and soft in-game currencies.
At this stage Ready made two important decisions:
- Test the market with third-party developers.
- Run a series of blockchain gaming experiments.
To achieve point #1 required the automation of the in-house toolkit. Ready undertook the process of abstracting and automating the existing stack, with the goal of delivering a “self serve” SDK and API to developers, that would ultimately require no direct support from Ready. In parallel to this development effort, Ready sought out “alpha testers” to “socialize their solo title(s).”
In August 2021 the first dev teams were onboarded to the Ready solution. The goal was to effectively build version 0.1 of the self-serve SDK, using their real time feedback to optimize. This process culminated in mid-September with a partially automated SDK (v. 0.1), and the onboarding of a second dev cohort to work towards further refinement (v. 0.2). The technical goal was to arrive at a condition where by December 31, 2021 it would take a skilled dev team about 10 working days to ingest all the Ready functions. This goal was reached as follows:
Dev Engineering Days
Concurrent with dev onboarding, Ready conducted a KPI analysis. For games that shifted from solo mode to multiplayer mode, what was the effect on D1/D7/D14/D30 retention? Across the board, Ready saw a 2x increase in retention metrics from solo to multiplayer mode using RGN.
From the developer perspective, retention is a North Star metric. It is the fundamental basis to measure the health of a game, and has knock-on effects on revenue generation: the more retained players, assuming a stable conversion to paid, the higher the revenue. From Ready’s perspective, the model was to capture “marketplace fees” from the devs using RGN. Instead of charging a licensing fee, typical of SaaS models, Ready wanted to create a “virtual goods economy” using its infrastructure, and take commissions on marketplace sales. This, the company felt, aligned developer and Ready interests: “Your success is our success” while minimizing barriers to adoption.
Developers responded enthusiastically to the program, validating the market opportunity for a self-serve, turnkey social gaming platform, with marketplace economics.