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Former Findex Financial Adviser joins Balthazar

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Former Findex Financial Adviser joins Balthazar
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Esteemed financial adviser Terry Vogiatzis has joined NFT gaming platform Balthazar, as Chief Investment Officer, leading the organisation’s investment strategy.

Vogiatzis was formerly one of the youngest Associate Partners at investment management firm Findex, responsible for $100 million in funds under management. His passion for building wealth through innovative strategies led him to explore, and now join, the cryptocurrency industry.

“I’m excited to apply learnings and principles of traditional finance and markets to the cryptocurrency space, and help build a cryptocurrency and DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation) from the ground-up,” said Vogiatzis.

“I’m also excited to manage Balthazar’s internal treasury, implementing cryptocurrency strategies which are already proving successful.”

Built for the NFT gaming community

Balthazar’s mission is to empower the biggest gaming community to create a self-sustaining, wealth-building ecosystem. Through its scholarship program, Balthazar invests in NFT gaming assets for players to use to earn in-game reward tokens. The yields from these NFTs are shared between Balthazar and the players – known as “scholars”, or as Balthazar terms its “Wizards”.

Balthazar is innovating further than a traditional gaming guild, developing technology to gain a competitive advantage. This includes a platform for NFT asset holders to lend their NFTs to Balthazar and earn a yield, and a launchpad for gaming developers to access the Balthazar community.

Early success

Following its launch in September 2021, Balthazar has seen rapid growth with over 70,000 people in its Discord community and over 35,000 people on its waitlist for its scholarship program.

Last month, Balthazar closed its first token sale of US$3 million led by Animoca Brands. It is soon to close a Private Token Sale round of US$8 million with a valuation of US$150 million.

“We are thrilled to have Terry on board,” said John Stefanidis, Balthazar CEO. “With his experience and background in traditional finance, coupled with a deep understanding of the cryptocurrency market, Terry brings a unique and highly valuable strength to Balthazar.”

Following Terry’s appointment, Balthazar recorded a 90% return (US$300,000 profit) in one month from a combination of investing in Pegaxy governance tokens (PGX) and in-game rewards (yields). Pegaxy is a blockchain-based digital horse racing game.

The explosive NFT gaming space

The play-to-earn market has seen explosive growth over the past year. In fact, the most popular NFT game, Axie Infinity, generated over US$1.3 billion in revenue, more than any other dapp/blockchain behind ethereum, according to Token Terminal.

Other gaming guilds such as Yield Guild Games, Merit Circle and Crypto Gaming United, all hold fully diluted valuations of more than US$2 billion.

Strength in Balthazar’s financial expertise

In his new role, Vogiatzis will be responsible for developing Balthazar’s internal investment strategy and tokenomics.

“Launching a cryptocurrency requires far more thought than one may think, especially when trying to parallel fundamentals to traditional investments,” said Vogiatzis. “For example, the most difficult thing about monetising on fully diluted valuations is building liquidity and market depth, as the majority of tokens adding to this valuation have not yet vested. Various strategies need to be considered when incentivising liquidity such as offering “staking rewards” for investors that provide liquidity to the market, and tying this into the gradual vesting of investor tokens.”

Vogiatzis will also conduct regular virtual workshops, teaching the Balthazar community about financial literacy.

“I’m humbled to have the opportunity to make a difference in our community by helping people learn not just about the benefits of cryptocurrency strategies but also the risks involved and the importance of diversifying into other asset classes,” said Vogiatzis. “I believe NFT gaming will make a positive impact for many people, particularly in developing countries.”

Balthazar’s management team includes six other highly accomplished executives:

John Stefanidis, CEO: one of Australia’s leading digital marketing and ecommerce experts, he has developed and scaled several businesses including digital marketing agency, Covert.
Hairul Lutfi, CFO: Over 15 years experience in accounting and compliance, specialising in fintech and fast growth startups.
Bijan Abdollahi, COO: Skills and qualifications in engineering, business, and complex project development.
Kristian Bortnik, CTO: Deep information architecture (IA) and tech strategy skills, having managed large teams across multinational clients.
Peter Nay, CMO: Experienced in brand building, marketing and scaling e-commerce brands.
Michelle Hutchison, CCO: Over 16 years experience in international media and communications, including digital marketing, cryptocurrency compliance and fintech.
Nicholas Korsgård, CGO: Game Strategy E-Sports coaching phenomenon. Professional gamer at the highest level for both LoL and Starcraft.

Gaming

GALAXSYS and PIN-UP PARTNERS Unveil an Exclusive New Game

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Hayk Sargsyan, Chief Executive Officer of Galaxsys
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Galaxsys and PIN-UP PARTNERS have collaborated to launch a new exclusive turbo game – Hamster Mania.

Galaxsys, a pioneering gaming studio, continues to deliver exceptional gaming experiences with its latest collaboration with PIN-UP Partners to launch Hamster Mania.

Hamster Mania, a fun and user-friendly turbo game, offers players a straightforward and engaging gaming experience. The objective is to secure the highest possible winnings by tapping on the hamster character within a circular frame, earning odds with each tap. Unlike traditional turbo games, players place bets directly on the hamster, with winnings displayed instantly. The game features multiple difficulty levels, affecting both risk and potential rewards.

Hayk Sargsyan, Chief Executive Officer of Galaxsys, expressed his enthusiasm about the launch of Hamster Mania. He commented, “We are always innovating and collaborating, and this time, we’ve teamed up with PIN-UP Partners to bring a unique offering to the industry. Our teams have worked closely together to ensure seamless integration and make this collaboration truly exceptional.”

The PIN-UP Partners team is also very excited about the upcoming launch of Hamster Mania. They commented, “At PIN-UP Partners we always strive to offer our affiliates and partners the best and most exciting developments in the industry to take their revenues and profits to the next level. We deliver outstanding results and foster stronger partnerships through innovation, transparency and expertise. By supporting and partnering with companies like GALAXSYS, we stay at the forefront of the industry with unique games and the best offers for our affiliates.”

Hamster Mania will be available exclusively at PIN-UP for the first two months following its launch, before becoming accessible to all network partners. More information about the game will be presented during the iGB Live event in Amsterdam.

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Gaming

Swedish Games Industry Announces 15 Culturally-Significant Games

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Dataspelsbranschen, Sweden’s trade association for video game companies, has revealed a list of 15 gaming treasures which have deep significance in Swedish culture. The games were selected by an expert jury of historians, industry leaders, and academics, following hundreds of nominations from the general public. 

It was in December 2023 that Sweden’s minister for culture Parisa Liljestrand gave a committee the assignment to develop an official culture canon. Whereas it was not specified which artforms should be covered, Dataspelsbranschen took the initiative to develop one for games.

Celebrating Sweden’s rich gaming history over almost 50 years, the ‘game culture canon’ includes a range of genres, platforms, and release years. Alongside classics such as Stugan and Europa Universalis, the list also includes newer releases such as The Battle of Polytopia and It Takes Two. 

The full list, which can be found below, was created in response to plans by the Swedish government to create a cultural video games canon of the nation’s artistic achievements. To encourage the games industry to be included in this initiative, the ‘game culture canon’ was handed over to the chair of the official canon committee, Lars Trägårdh, in the presence of minister for culture Parisa Liljestrand at the policy summit Almedalen on the 26th of June. 

This seminal list of Swedish gaming treasures is released at a time when national games industries are fighting for governmental recognition of their economic and cultural significance. Likewise, debates over video game preservation continue to grow louder, with the Video Game History Foundation noting that 87% of classic games are not accessible to play. 

Per Strömbäck, Spokesperson of Dataspelsbranschen, commented:

“Games should be recognised as culture for several reasons: games are culture to the players, who relate to them similar ways as audiences in other art forms. Games are culture to the game developers who have the same drivers as other creators: the will to express, create something new and communicate with their audience. Games are also culture to society as they reflect the world we live in and have a rich history which is now being recognised by museums and other institutions. Also games are unique in that they are interactive. For these reasons, we think it is fitting that games have a canon too.”

Christian Lövstedt, General Manager at Midjiwan, the creators of The Battle of Polytopia, added:

“Sweden has a rich and diverse gaming history which has shaped many of today’s most popular titles. We are both honoured and excited that The Battle of Polytopia has been selected to this list. Gaming is an indispensable contributor to the Swedish economy, reaching audiences across the globe. We hope this list will continue to highlight the significance of this industry to decision-makers.”

According to Dataspelsbranschen’s 2023 Game Developer Index, the nation’s games industry revenue grew to EUR 3.1 billion in 2022, with 8,445 people working in Sweden’s games industry during the same year.

 

Selection in full:

  • Stugan, Developed by: Kimmo Eriksson, Viggo Kann, Olle E Johansson, 1978/1986

  • BackPacker, Developed by: Tati Mixedia, 1995

  • Europa Universalis, Developed by: Paradox Interactive, 2000

  • Ground Control, Developed by: Massive Entertainment, 2000

  • Battlefield 1942, Developed by: DICE, (Digital Illusions CE) 2002

  • Amnesia – The Dark Descent, Developed by: Frictional Games, 2010

  • Minecraft, Developed by: Mojang, 2011

  • Toca Tea Party, Developed by: Toca Boca, 2011

  • Candy Crush Saga, Developed by: King, 2012

  • Star Stable Online, Developed by: Star Stable Entertainment, 2012

  • Goat Simulator, Developed by: Coffee Stain Studios, 2014

  • The Battle of Polytopia, Developed by: Midjiwan, 2016

  • Budget Cuts, Developed by: Neat Corporation, 2018

  • Sayonara Wildhearts, Developed by: Simogo, 2019

  • It Takes Two, Developed by: Hazelight, 2021

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Asia

National Video Game Day 2024 – The mainstream breakthrough of Indian esports and Olympics aspirations

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The video gaming and esports industry in India has witnessed a meteoric rise in the last few years. With a rapidly growing audience and player base, the industry has commanded attention from brands and investors alike.

According to a FICCI-EY report, total esports tournament participation is projected to reach 2.5 million participants across various titles, compared to 1.79 million in 2023. Additionally, airtime for esports broadcasts is set to increase to 8,000 hours from 6,500 in 2023, with a rising average minute audience.

Tournaments such as the Battlegrounds Mobile India Masters Series (BGMS) have recently announced their third straight season being broadcast on a mainstream sporting network, changing the way esports is consumed and marking a significant milestone in the sector’s acceptance. India’s participation in major multi-sport tournaments such as the Commonwealth Esports Championships 2022, where the nation’s DOTA 2 team won bronze, and the Asian Games 2022 where esports debuted as a full-fledged medal sport, has further validated its competitive stature.

While states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and others are undertaking various initiatives for the development of esports, the country’s honourable Prime Minister has also advocated for the growth of the sector. With the International Olympic Committee (IOC) also set to discuss the creation of the Olympic Esports Games during the upcoming Paris Olympics, the future looks bright for esports in India.

Sharing his thoughts on the evolution of esports from a pastime hobby to a mainstream sport and form of entertainment, Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder and Managing Director of NODWIN Gaming stated, “More than a decade back, gaming was nothing but a hobby of a few passionate gamers, with small groups of them organising scattered community competitions across the country. We started NODWIN Gaming in 2014 to streamline esports in India with a vision to bring opportunities for video gaming enthusiasts throughout the country. Looking at the scenario today, we can indeed say India has come a long way. The industry has gained immense popularity and legitimacy among the masses, attracting interest from celebrities, brands, corporates and traditional sporting organisations alike. We will continue to contribute to this growing ecosystem and try to further shine the deserving limelight on gaming and esports. In the near future, we envision esports getting the same mantle as traditional sports, especially with the IOC announcing plans to create Olympic Esports Games and we, along with the Global Esports Federation, are honoured to work alongside the industry stakeholders to achieve that common vision!”

In addition to gamers and gaming creators, Indian game developers are also making significant strides with games inspired by the country’s rich culture and mythology. Games like ‘Ludo King’ which recently surpassed 1 billion downloads, and ‘Raji: An Ancient Epic’ exemplify this trend.

Another promising upcoming title that highlights the potential of homegrown developers is the Indo-futuristic ‘Indus Battle Royale’. Developed by Pune-based SuperGaming, the game has recently surpassed 11 million pre-registrations.

“Over the past decade, India’s gaming industry has transformed from a niche pastime into a mainstream entertainment medium. The surge in mobile gaming, fueled by the high number of smartphone users in the country, has made gaming more accessible to a wider audience, driving the industry’s growth. The creativity and innovation brought in by Indian game developers have produced unique and culturally rich gaming experiences, earning international recognition that has placed India firmly on the global gaming map,” commented Roby John, CEO and Co-Founder of SuperGaming.

Despite India being predominantly a mobile-first gaming nation due to high data penetration and affordable smartphones, there has been a noticeable surge in interest in PC gaming. Beyond hardcore gamers, PCs are increasingly utilized by gaming creators and streamers for content creation and editing. The rise of the creator economy indirectly fuels the growth of the gaming PC ecosystem in India.

Recent data from Valve highlights that Asia, including India, is one of the fastest-growing regions for Steam users, with a more than 150% increase in new users from 2019 to 2024. CyberpowerPC, the Number 1 Gaming PC manufacturing brand in North America which recently forayed into the Indian market promises to cater to this growing demand and create an overall thriving ecosystem that caters to diverse gaming preferences.

Highlighting the factors that will accelerate the rise of PC gaming in the country, Vishal Parekh, Chief Operating Officer, CyberPowerPC India said, “The growth of gaming in India, evolving from arcades and gaming cafes to an official sport, is remarkable. While mobile serves as an entry point for gamers entering the ecosystem, the shift towards more immersive experiences on larger screens is becoming inevitable. Additionally, PC-based esports titles prominently featured in major sporting tournaments highlight the importance of gaming PCs for grassroots development and achieving success in these events. At CyberPowerPC, we are excited to support the country’s growing PC gaming community and give them an immersive experience along with a competitive edge.”

Another monumental trend catapulting video gaming into the mainstream is leading streaming and social media platforms increasingly embracing gamification as a strategy to engage users and attract new audiences. Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Google Pay, Zomato, and LinkedIn have all integrated gamification features to tap into a massive and engaged audience.

“I have been a part of the gaming and esports industry for over a decade and it is fascinating to see how the industry has evolved and grown over these years. For example, esports was a niche, limited to a few people and now it is on its way to be integrated as a new-age sport. Today, gamers of all ages and backgrounds have become active contributors to the sector’s growth, and it is amazing to see how gaming has cemented its place in mainstream culture. Through movies, TV series adaptations and gamification via social media platforms, delivery apps as well as streaming platforms, it has become an integral part of our everyday lives, which was almost unimaginable till a few years back. This momentum is only going to grow, and the future of gaming in India looks incredibly bright. Max Level is committed to contributing to this growth and taking gaming to new heights across the nation,” noted Siddharth Nayyar, Co-founder and CRO, Max Level.

Without a doubt, the video gaming sector in India is on an upward trajectory, and looking ahead, the sky’s the limit!

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