The video games industry has come a long way, mainstream console and PC gamers alike can tap into their favourite games and content within minutes of unboxing their hardware and setting up an account. The glorious walled gardens of the PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store or Steam cosset players and make acquiring virtual goods and downloadable content a seamless, painless experience.
But what happens outside of those walls: in a world where the cut and thrust of digital creation is subject to the vagaries of social media influence, streaming, independent consumer-run servers, modding, peer-to-peer trading, subscription models, cryptocurrencies and — essentially — every pioneering coalface the internet has bestowed on our industry?
PlayerLands believes it has a platform that offers solutions, structure and organisation; steering vendors away from all the gunslinging and gold-mining. Founder Alex Booth, an experienced entrepreneur and affiliate marketing specialist, offers some background on PlayerLands’ origins:
I’m not a coder, more of an analyst but what we started out with here is a plug-in, one which is very easy to install on a game server.
It lets server owners make player-friendly shops in their games. They can sell items, subscriptions, DLC, put sales on, offer discounts and essentially run a commercial enterprise from that server. It also offers them industry standard reporting on all those activities.
Fellow PlayerLands founder Nick Gillett, a long-time commercial operator in tech markets and established games industry commentator (BBC Radio, Channel 4 News, Sky News, Metro and The Guardian) sees other possibilities for the platform:
We’re building PlayerLands to be a fully functional ecosystem for developers, publishers and server owners. It’s not just about technology though, we want to build a connected community, where success stories are shared and businesses are grown alongside one another on the platform.
PlayerLands is a plug-in that lets server owners monetise their games, whether they’re bedroom coders, small businesses or a global enterprise. But more than that, it will also allow vendors to find and hire influencers through mutual connections and market their games to new players.
Alongside Alex and Nick the PlayerLands team has expertise from across the games industry and beyond — including payment, social media, design and SEO specialists with experience gained at Nintendo, Sega, Riot Games, 2K, PepsiCo and GAME amongst many others.
2019 looks set to be a big year for the platform, they’ve just been announced as Tech Nation finalists in the ‘Rising Star’ category, for the UK’s most promising tech startups. Winners will have the opportunity to connect their business with mentors, investors and influencers — significantly raising the profile of their business. At the finals in March, PlayerLands will have an opportunity to pitch their way to victory and become one of Tech Nation’s inaugural Rising Stars.
The platform has also received an initial investment of £200k from British venture capital outfit Mercia Technologies — a firm who’ve made significant recent investments in the games industry with Caspian, No Yetis Allowed, Genba, Glowmade, Soccer Manager, nDreams, Gorilla in the Room and EdgeCase Games. As you read this the PlayerLands beta rollout will be imminent, some key partner announcements will follow shortly, alongside another round of investment — and, of course, those Tech Nation finals.
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