EXCLUSIVE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NIGERIAN ESPORTS/GAMING STARTUP CALLED PLAYARONE.
Playarone is a social gaming platform connecting players across video game consoles, PCs and mobile devices, providing an online first experience to thousands of inter-connected gamers. On the Playarone platform, you can create or browse available matches or tournament to join online and earn cash prizes winning against other opponents of similar skill online.
There are three Co-founders of the Playarone platform but Nexal Gaming had a chat with two of the Co-founders namely: Chinonso Ashimole a.k.a Chinok (Chief Operating Officer) and Chima Ifeji (Chief Product Officer), in order to have an extensive discussion about Playarone and their plans for gaming in Nigeria and Africa at large.
QUESTION: WHAT IS PLAYARONE AND WHAT WAS THE IDEA BEHIND IT?
CHINOK: As the global Esports industry keeps growing into a multi-billion-dollar industry, we have gamers in Africa missing out in this industry due to several digital gaps. To this extent, the vision of Playarone is to empower African gamers by giving them the opportunity to earn cash rewards playing the games they love.
The idea of Playarone then is to match players of equal skills for the chance to earn cash rewards and also, to promote tournaments.
QUESTION: HOW DOES THE PLAYARONE SKILL-BASED MATCHMAKING WORK?
CHINOK: The Minimum Viable Product which is going to be launched on the 25th of September,2021, won’t have this feature yet but the general idea is that Playarone will have an algorithm on the platform that will observe the number of wins and losses a player has, the platform will also have ranked system which will be used for matchmaking.
We can’t match a player that has over 100 wins with a player that has just 20 wins, as we want to ensure that gamers have a wonderful gaming experience.
CHIMAOBI: For the first week of launch, we want to get data on user behaviour, which will then allow us to know the best gamers, for the purpose of the ranked system. Players cannot lose intentionally to drop their ranking because they will keep losing money and as such, it won’t be feasible for a player to self-sabotage for the purpose of rankings.
QUESTION: DOES PLAYARONE HAVE MECHANISMS TO COMBAT CHEATING?
CHINOK: Yes, Playarone has plans to combat cheating. We have rules that will protect players and we have invested a lot into our support system to combat cheating.
Platform wise, we are going to be collecting user’s MAC addresses and browser cookies for their device upon signing up. If for some reason, a player has a MAC address different from the ones registered on the account, such account will be blocked temporarily and will only be unblocked after reasonable explanation has been given via our support system.
CHIMAOBI: Players will sign up with game ID’s and as such, Playarone will not allow two different accounts to operate with the same game ID’s, as it is unique to each user. We will keep building anti-cheating mechanisms based on feedback from gamers, as Playarone has ZERO tolerance to cheating.
Upon proof of cheating, the consequence is a straight ban and the game ID will be blacklisted from the platform.
QUESTION: WHAT IS THE LAUNCH STRATEGY FOR PLAYARONE?
CHINOK: We are going live with our MVP on the 25th of September and we are starting with Nigeria first, and this is so that we can better understand the market where this product was built.
We plan to scale as soon as possible since Playarone is all about online gaming. We will be starting with 8 game titles, namely: CODM, PUBGMobile, PESMobile, 8ball pool (Casual gamers), Call of Duty:Warzone, Fortnite, FIFA and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
We are bringing an interesting mode to the CODM which is called “Battle Royale kill race” in which players will get into the same BR lobby and competing for the highest kills against their opponents.
CHIMAOBI: Early this year, we opened up the platform for early access registrations and in less than a few weeks, we got over 1,000 signups. Also, every new player will get FREE #1,000 as a welcome gift from Playarone and this will see them play their first two games on the playarone, as the minimum entry fee is #500.
QUESTION: ANY INVESTMENT?
CHIMAOBI: It is all bootstrapping for now, as we want to see what the platform builds by itself.
QUESTION: ANY PLAN TO INTEGRATE AFRICAN MADE GAMES THAT ARE GAMES OF SKILL?
CHINOK: The answer lies with gamers, as if there is a high demand from the gamers for the integration of particular games, then that will be swiftly looked into.
QUESTION: ANY PLANS TO HIRE SOON AND WHERE SHOULD PEOPLE LOOK FOR SUCH INFORMATION?
CHINOK: We are still at the MVP stage and we haven’t look into hiring yet but there will be a time that we will need games’ specialists to help manage the game titles available on Playarone, we will also need people to help update the rules and community managers.
People should just keep an eye out on the career page on the Playarone website and our social media pages.
To keep up with Playarone, follow them @Playarone on all social media platforms and visit their website www.playarone.com
This is a featured piece by Stephen Ojo.