Gaming has transformed from the physical world of consoles and cartridges to an ever-expanding digital universe where billions of people gather every day.

Beyond being a place to play games and socialize, the online gaming ecosystem has grown to include shopping, live entertainment, finance, and a plethora of other digital versions of daily life in this modern world.

Powering that ecosystem is every bit as complicated as it would seem, and like every other technology sector, there are too few software developers around to keep up with the demands of constant game development and iteration. Making a hit game now requires an increasingly complex set of features such as social networking abilities, account integrations, content and other attributes that must be quickly scalable as the game grows in popularity.

Pragma, a backend game engine, was built to relieve that bottleneck. The company, which was founded in 2019 and recently closed its Series B round, provides a suite of developer tools that serve as the infrastructure for live, online games. Greylock led Pragma’s Series A in April 2020.

“Games today are these really, really complex products that are both entertainment properties and technology products, increasingly so with all the movement towards live service games,” says Pragma CEO and co-founder Eden Chen. “And on day one, a game needs to be able to scale to millions of players.”

Chen, a lifelong gamer who was once among the top 10 Warcraft players in the U.S., founded Pragma with veteran game developer Chris Cobb. While many have attempted to build a backend game engine, Pragma has the unique mix of expertise and partnerships with leading game design studios – as well as access to cloud services unavailable to previous generations – to have established the company as the go-to tool provider for modern game development.

Chen sat down with Greylock general partner David Thacker on the Greymatter podcast to discuss the company’s trajectory – from landing their first customers before the product was even built and warding off poaching attempts of the founding team – to his vision for the future of gaming and its role in ushering in the web3 era.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Episode Transcript

David Thacker:
Hi everyone. Welcome to Greymatter, the podcast from Greylock, where we share stories from company builders and business leaders. I’m David Thacker, a general partner at Greylock. Our guest today is Eden Chen. Eden is a CEO and co-founder of Pragma, which is building a backend game engine for social and multiplayer games.

Greylock has been a partner to Pragma since 2020, and the company just closed its series B a couple months ago.

There’s a lot going on in the gaming industry today. We’ve largely moved away from out of the box style games to live service and platforms that are actually more than games. These are virtual worlds where people can convene to play games, but more and more live events, social networking and commerce. Today, the two billion people that regularly play digital games do so not just for entertainment, but increasingly as a way to socialize with friends and make new friends. Pragma is powering that transition and settings us up for the next generation of gaming.

Today we’re going to talk about how the company became part of this new breed of technology and what’s next. Eden, welcome to Greymatter. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Eden Chen:
Thanks for having me.

Let’s start with the basics. What is Pragma?

Yeah. At the highest level, we’re a tool set for game developers, for helping make games faster and better. Our first product is what we call a backend game engine. So games are these really, really complex products that are both entertainment properties and technology products, increasingly so with the lot movement towards live service games.

So our backend game engine takes care of all the out-of-game platform features, features like matchmaking, content management – content would be things like inventory or skins or your achievements and things like that, accounts and social features. And there’s actually a whole list of other features.

In tech, we really like to talk about these MVPs, but for gaming, it becomes a lot more complex because of the way that games typically scale. In gaming, an MVP can include creating a whole social network that has to scale to millions of players on day one, and an entertainment property, very similar to what Pixar makes in a movie. So the barriers to entry for gaming can be extremely high. You’re working on – again, this super-scale kind of social media property and this beautiful entertainment property at the same time.

Yeah. Great. And so can you tell us a little bit about the founding of Pragma and why you decided you wanted to work in the game industry?

Yeah. So I’ve actually been a lifelong gamer and I’m basically a lifelong nerd. I was one of the top 10 Warcraft players in the US.

And interestingly enough, when I got to college, there was really no e-sports industry at the time – we were called pro players at the time – but I graduated high school, went to college and I was like, “I need to figure out a way to make money and get a job eventually. I really can’t just play games my whole life. “ And funny enough, now the e-sports industry is huge.

But importantly, I spent about 10 years away from the games industry, started a hedge fund, and ended up starting another tech company. And then the sort of impetus for games for me was that, after I had my first child about three years ago, me and a bunch of high school buddies that used to play games together started playing one night a week where we’d get on around 8:30 PM after we put the kids down. Again, we couldn’t really go out because we had kids.

And that became this huge space for us to talk about fatherhood, about business, about all sorts of other topics. And that really just opened my eyes again to how much I loved just the social nature of games, I’d say.

I wasn’t like I was playing every single day and trying to go pro at that point. But just the idea that I was able to play one day a week and catch up on life and do just the immersive nature of games, as opposed to something like social media, or if you take something like Netflix, which is more of a consumptive entertainment medium. Games for me was like, “Oh, I’m doing something with my friends.”

So that was something that really, really interested me. I had this really long standing friendship with Chris. I met Chris when he was a platform lead at Riot, working on League of Legends. And I knew he was one of the best backend engineers in games. I had talked to lots of folks within Riot that talked about how he was this rising star. He ended up leaving Riot and I advised him when he started his first company, and he ended up selling that company to Phoenix Labs.

And it was funny enough, we were both actually at a fundraiser. I bumped into him completely randomly. And even though I’d advised the company, he hadn’t updated me that the company had sold. So he updated me at that [fundraiser] dinner. And as soon as he updated me, then I was like, I need to grab lunch with this guy because I want to co-found something with him.

So I think there’s this personal passion of mine for games. There’s this amazing co-founder in Chris that I’d known for a long time, we had been friends outside of work. And I think there’s also this mission for me and Chris as well.

“We really feel like games are the next frontier for where people are hanging out, and we have this strong desire to shape that industry for the good. That means things like how we can decrease toxicity and how can we encourage people to have more social connections.”

And so these digital worlds are not just places where people are zombies and they’re not really connecting with other people. So we really feel like, as this infrastructure technology, that’s really focused on that social part of games, we can really contribute to those things.

You and Chris have hired this pretty amazing engineering team. You’re many experienced veterans of the gaming industry. And you’ve spent the last couple years building out the beta version of the Pragma product. So can you just give us an update on what is the status today and tell us a little bit more about how you went about building the technology?

Yeah. So I mean, we knew that building a backend engine was going to be extremely difficult. This is actually not sort of a new idea. There have been lots of companies that have tried to build backend engines. And the predominant motion was that, most of the time, people tried to build products for indie studios because there’s literally tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of studios out there. And that was extremely difficult because on day one, a game needs to be able to scale to millions of players.

So what happens is, you’d have thousands of studios sign up for this engine. And then the moment that a game was good and a hit, is the moment that you’d have to really support a triple A game. And that turns out to be an extremely complex technical task.

So at these triple A studios, you might have 50 at least platform engineers building out the technology for years. And then after you build out the technology, the essential tech teams are literally hundreds and hundreds of platform engineers. And so for a startup or a new studio trying to get that right, is extremely difficult.

So even as a technology provider, it’s like, “Well, where do you even start? Is it realistic that we can hire a hundred engineers to build this platform tech? No.” So I mean, we had known this was going to be complex. We knew this was going to be a big effort. There’s new advances in technology like AWS, obviously that has taken a huge burden off of us to allow us to focus a lot more on the features and hiring an extremely senior team was really, really important for us.

And obviously Chris and I had worked in the technology industry for a little bit. So we had known a lot of really, really high quality platform engineers. When we started talking to studios about building a backend engine, it was actually one studio that convinced us to start Pragma. They were like, “Hey, if you build this technology, we will just license it from you. We’ll pay you for it, even though it’s not built yet, we need this thing so much. And it’s like, we don’t have the resources to build out our own team. And this is table stakes for us. We don’t need to own this backend technology.”

So that’s when the light bulb really went off for me in terms of like, “Okay, well, I mean, people are willing to pay us even for a product that’s not been built yet.”

So that’s really how we got started. We started with the design partner that was paying us to build out the technology. And then we started signing up design partners over time. There was a massive wait list of customers that wanted to be a part of that. And we were able to sort of pick the best of the studios that we were talking to.

So it’s been a couple years now, we have now an end to end platform that has features like matchmaking, lobbies, invites, game modes, account integrations, social features. Content management’s something that we spent really the last six months building out – things like, How do I add a piece of inventory and then make sure that I can update that inventory over time, even with millions of players that have that piece of inventory without there being multiple databases and dealing with migration problems?

We can scale to millions of concurrent players already, and we’re investing right now heavily into building out a richer set of features. So we have that sort of end to end. Now it’s about creating a more rich set of features. And we’re also spending a lot of time on operability – how do we allow ourselves to actually manage many, many studios. That’s really our ability to scale, not necessarily a feature set. So we have about 30 engineers today and we’re rapidly expanding that engineering base and all of our customers are currently using our platform to power their game loops today.

And let’s talk a little bit more about how you got those customers. You call them the design partners, your initial customers to use Pragma as a platform. I imagine, choosing a backend game engine for these studios, they’re basically betting their game on your technology, right?

That’s right.

It’s pretty much an irreversible decision and you’re a much better funded startup than you were when you started but still an early stage startup. So how did you go about convincing these game studios that they should bet on Pragma?

Yeah. I think what we really had to talk about early on was our network of platform engineers. And we were able to build a team out to seven folks very, very quickly even before we had a lot of funding. And these were seven of the most experienced platform engineers that had shipped League of Legends, Fortnite, Destiny 2 – some of the biggest live service games in the past. These are extremely, extremely difficult people to find and to hire because it’s not like there’s hundreds and hundreds of senior platform engineers in games. At each of the big studios, you might have five or 10 senior engineers, and those are the folks. And there’s not that many live service games in the history that have scaled to let’s say, five or 10 million concurrent players. So it’s really, really difficult to find those people.

But once we had that core team of seven, we could go to our early-stage venture studio and they didn’t really have a lot of alternatives. It’s like, if you’re a venture-backed studio and you’re trying to build a live service game, you have a few options. You can go out and hire five or 10, sort of Google tier engineers that are going to cost you a couple hundred thousand dollars each. And you’re spending literally millions of dollars, a multiyear build-out process. And then it’s ongoing cost beyond that. And there’s not really a lot of solutions out there that are going to support the type of live service game that they’re looking to build.

Or you can work with someone like us, which, again, it’s a huge risk because the product is still being built out live, but ultimately it’s like, Do you take a risk with seven very, very experienced platform engineers that have done this in the past multiple times? Or do you go out and try to build out your own team, spend way more money and then end up with something that maybe is not even as good as if you just work with us in the first place? So it was a risk, but it was something that we felt like there was even a great argument for using us when we had very little at the time.

Yeah. I’m sure these studios would love to hire your team, right? To build their backend engine. And they’re not able to-

That’s exactly right. So I mean, the first customer that we had, the one I was telling you about. I mean, they literally tried to hire Chris as the first. This was when it was literally just me and Chris and Chris was like, “I don’t really want to go and work somewhere, I want to start something again.” And they’re like, “Well, what if you built it for us? And then you guys built a company out of that.” So they actually were the ones that almost proposed the idea of Pragma in the first place.

And let’s talk a little bit more about the actual product. I think one of the interesting things about Pragma is, it’s not just a SaaS service in the cloud which seems to be the primary enterprise model these days. You’re actually giving your customers the source code so that they can modify Pragma and customize it to their needs of their other studio and the game they’re building. Can you tell us a little bit more about that decision?

Yeah. So one of the core insights that we had… We had talked to dozens of studios before we started Pragma and almost every studio had said, “The reason why I’m not using off the shelf solutions is because these platforms are not extensible.”

Gaming is this very creative industry. So you might have a matchmaker. For example, the purpose of a matchmaker is to put people in the same game together, but different games have different objectives for what they want their matchmaker to do. Some people want it to be skill based. Some people want it to just be time based – let’s just get people into games as fast as possible. For example, Fortnite, they’re not really interested in it being a perfect match. Their expectation is people are trying to have fun and do it quickly. So they’re trying to get people in the matches, whereas something like CS:GO, there are a lot of pro players, there’s a huge pro scene.

There’s a lot of people that really care about it being a fair match. And if it’s not fair, they feel like they’ve been cheated. And so these people all have different objectives for a matchmaker. And the moment your platform doesn’t have one feature that you need, is the moment in a cloud-based sort of environment where you can’t make edits, is the moment you have to start building out your own platform.

So a lot of times what people would do is they’d have one backend and then they’d have to start spinning out their own backend. And it’d just be a complete nightmare to manage two backends. And then those are interfacing. If one has problems, then they all break down. So we had heard from people is, a backend needs to be extensible if you’re going to really work with these AAA studios.

So we really built a platform anticipating that studios we’re going to use extensions, plug-ins and custom services. Extensions are sort of like taking our general purpose matchmaker and saying I’m going to add a layer on top of that. We have examples for how people would write extensions. For example, a plug-in would be like, you want to write your completely new service. You want to plug it into our system, take advantage of our service to service communications, our security, our scale, et cetera, and then a custom service, that is completely your own service.

And so that was sort of a unique thing. In fact, the company that I think I relate with the most in many ways, is Salesforce, because a lot of people say, I hate Salesforce. But at the end of the day, everybody uses Salesforce. And the reason why is because when you get to a certain scale as a company, you need your CRM to be extensible. You need to be able to do custom reporting and you need to be able to add your custom fields, and it turns out that there’s been so many companies that have tried to compete with Salesforce that have created these clean SaaS cloud oriented products that are just very simple to use. But again, everyone, when they get to a certain scale, they have to migrate over to Salesforce.

So that’s what we had found with our solution too as well, is that extensibility was a core feature in terms of what needed to happen for this type of a product. And that was something that we needed to do. So there’s been our initial license, which was like, let’s just give people sources and then give people examples on how to write these different flavors of Pragma.

And then recently we’ve been moving into how we actually manage Pragma on behalf of our studios so that they don’t have to deal with the DevOps and setting up their AWS environment and all that. And then there’s lots of complexity around, how we manage a studio while giving them extensibility.

And I could get a lot more into that, but that’s where really the sweet spot is of like, How do we make operating Pragma simple? But at the same time, give people extensibility. And that’s a really hard thing to balance.

Yeah. And I think one of the characteristics of the best platforms is the extensibility piece, but also just providing a great developer experience, right? Because really the developer is your end user of Pragma. So what are you doing to equip developers at game studios to leverage Pragma most effectively?

Yeah. I mean, we’ve learned a lot, honestly, over the last couple years, even with building this out, in terms of… Personally, we had never hired something like a tech writer before, and this is something where we had always known tech writing or the documentation for Pragma was a first party importance kind of feature in terms of, if our documentation is not good, then our product is not good because developers are interfacing with our product through our documentation. And we didn’t know what we were doing when we were hiring tech writers. Do they need to be programmers? Are they super technical types of people? Who are the types of people that are tech writers?

We’ve actually invested a lot into tech writers. We have a whole CX team of five people today. We’re only 30 people, so almost 20% of our team is our CX team, our tech writing team. And these are all technical folks that are basically consumers or users of Pragma. Every single week we go through this end-to-end process where our CX team runs Pragma from scratch on a clean box so that they can really get familiar with using Pragma for the first time – as if they were a new user of Pragma that was just onboarding. And then we make sure that when using the existing documentation, developers have a really seamless experience, basically using our documentation or our platform together.

So it’s something that we’ve invested a ton into documentation. I think it’s something that’s not really talked about a lot in the tech industry. I didn’t know much about documentation, and it’s a really, really hard thing to balance because when your platform is constantly changing, you can’t invest in documentation too early, otherwise you’re constantly changing your documentation. But if it’s too late, then your customers can’t use your product because they don’t know how to use it.

And so this is something that just frankly took us a little bit of time to get right. But it’s something that we always knew was extremely important and that we had to get right for it to be a good experience for our customers.

Another thing is that we have a product called Pragma portal, we bundle a front-end interface, our front-end web, it’s a react web portal into our engine. That web portal pulls things like metrics and it pulls all the live services directly from all of our services. And not only can you write a custom service, you can also connect that custom service with our portal product, such that you’re not only getting an actual feature, but you’re also getting that feature monitored on a front-end interface as well. So that makes things a lot easier for people that aren’t just developers.

Great. Let’s switch away from the technology now and talk more about the business model of Pragma. So as you’ve thought about pricing and packaging and how you take this to market, what are some of the considerations you’re going through? And how do you intend – as you come out of the beta and release the GA of this product – to price the product?

Yeah. So we started off with an annual license, which is a certain dollar figure a year, and that was sort of a fixed rate. The reason why we did that was because game development cycles are fairly long: a normal game development cycles anywhere from three to five years. And that’s unheard of in the tech industry.

Again, we talked about how these MVPs are a little bit larger than your social, whatever, your basic MVP of any type of other product. Interfacing with a studio for, let’s say five years, and then having sort of a consumption-only model didn’t seem to make a lot of sense because you’d be working with this customer for years. They launch and then you’d be taking tremendous risk on that launch. If the game didn’t do well, that would be a churned customer.

The next part of it is a sort of variable rate. And we’ve thought about a lot of different models on the variable side. We’ve thought about looking at royalty. So if you look at the games industry, there’s a huge history of royalty models, the app stores, Steam, Apple, Play store. You can look at Epic’s product Unreal, which takes a 5% royalty. We’ve looked at a user metric that’s tied to the variable rate so that you would look at something like CCU or MAU. And then we’ve also looked at read, write and storage which is the traditional way that people in the Cloud space look at, pricing that’s AWS, unity is doing that. And there’s several others like Play Fab that have done that in the past. There’s pros and cons to every single one of these and I could get into a lot more detail, but essentially, there’s pros and cons to every single one of those models.

And at this point, we’re working very, very closely with our customers to come up with the right model. What we’ve told them is we have certain principles in place: One is we work with customers very closely in the development period. And so we feel like we need to monetize during the development period.

Principle two is, if the game is successful, we want to be successful too. So we need a variable rate attached to it. And principle three is that we have to be of great value for our studios and that we save them time, money, and risk long term. And every single time we’ve presented that, all our studios have been fairly open to a discussion there.

Yeah. Those are great principles. It really aligns the interests of Pragma with the interest of your customers, which is terrific.

Let’s switch topics a little bit more now. When you think long term about Pragma, the ultimate vision of the company, what’s the ultimate goal here and how do you see Pragma fitting into the overall gaming landscape?

Our mission as a company is to support healthy and vibrant online communities, which has a very, very social bent to it. The funny thing is that we go through what’s called a playbook every single week where we reiterate our values or mission, our near-term objectives, our midterm objectives, et cetera. And the first thing we’d talk about every week is our mission: Support healthy and vibrant online communities.

And the interesting thing is, in many ways, we’re not even scratching the service of that yet because those social features are not for most people, but they are MVP for a lot of studios. Most studios use Discord to go to market as their sort of social network. They don’t necessarily need in-game chat and all these social features that we do want to build out eventually, but it hasn’t been something that we’ve been prioritizing.

So there’s a long, long term vision for that. Look, we’re extremely passionate about the social space. I sort of started this conversation saying that what compelled me to come back to the games industry was just being able to spend time with my friends. And that means that what we want to do is decrease toxicity, hate speech, racism and things like that, that we see in lots and lots of games today. And there’s actually a great business case for that too. I know at Riot they did a study that the number one reason why players churned out of a game was because they experienced some form of hate speech or some form of toxicity. So there are really great business reasons, but they’re also our own passions to make this new sort of gaming space, a positive landscape.

Long term, we also just want to be able to create best in-class tools for the games industry. We started off with the backend engine because we talked to so many studios that were like, “This is a core problem.” The industry was facing this tremendous shift over to live services and there weren’t the tools to support those studios. But we really see a huge landscape of products out there. For example, there’s a Pragma ID product that we want to launch, which is a kind of cross- game distribution login for players. There’s Pragma Pay, which is very much our ability for studios to launch their own stores and hook that up with their content management systems and be able to transact on items. There’s web3 integration and the ability for folks to pick your chain of choice and then make sure that chain has an integration with your content management system.

Today, if you look at a lot of web3 games, they don’t have the complex live service components that League of Legends does because it’s just not feasible.

“There’s just a slew of tools that are out there that we want to make. And we just feel like gaming is just this huge industry. And it’s just very, very strange to us that there’s not dedicated players that are creating picks and shovels creating these tools to make game development easier.”

So that’s really what we want to be – this sort of advocate for developers, advocate for studios to make game development a lot more simple. And hopefully we get to see a lot better and more social games that come out of that.

I want to get your thoughts on two topics that are really getting a lot of buzz in the game industry: The first is the metaverse and the second is NFTs.

So let’s start with the metaverse first. What’s your perspective on the metaverse? I mean, and there’s a lot of companies trying to build metaverses, some of your studios are probably trying to create their own metaverses. How do you see this all playing out? Is there going to be one Uber metaverse for everything or what do you think?

Yeah. I mean, I think that the most interesting thing to me about this concept of metaverse, is the ability to interop between various places.

So in my mind, I think the closest thing to a metaverse that we have today is the internet. And that’s like the internet has this ability for us to interop with all these different things. I guess there’s some bias, obviously, in the fact that we’re aninfrastructure layer and to a big extent, our view is that, if we can create generalized tools and those tools become widely used and available in the games industry, there’s things that we can do to benefit that interoperability.

One really, really interesting company and tool out there is Shopify obviously. And what they’ve done with Shop Pay is that, they have thousands, I mean, millions now of stores on Shopify and the rolling out Shop Pay, which is this payment interop product where you don’t have to sign up for your credit card across the hundreds of places that you shop from.

You just use Shop Pay and automatically your payment credentials are there and you can check out very quickly. I think that’s one small example of interop, but in gaming, there’s so many other places that you might see interop happen that lives separately from an e-commerce store.

For example, in Steam, in the past, Steam was a store where you’d go there and maybe there’d be a chat function and maybe you would purchase a game there. The next version of Steam is that Steam can live everywhere. With an infrastructure provider, you can chat anywhere, you can purchase anywhere, that can happen across any distribution, medium across PlayStation, Xbox, and then that can happen across games as well. So cross-distribution and cross-game interoperability is what we think is at least one step towards a metaverse where you’ll see increased communication.

On the NFT side, yeah. I mean, the interesting thing about NFT is that digital goods have obviously been around for a long time in games. Obviously, most of the revenue models around games are around digital models. And the interesting thing is that the big innovation of League of Legends (which over the last 10 years has really been the most popular video game in the world), has been that they took away the ability to buy something to win a game. And so you would buy a skin that might make you look cool, but that didn’t affect the actual gameplay of what you were doing.

Now, crypto in many ways is sort of going back. In the gaming space, it’s going back to an old model, which is like, if you look at Axie, for example, it’s $1,500 you have to pay before you even can start competing and start owning these characters, so that you can start playing with them. And there’s almost this play to earn, play to play model, which a lot of people in the traditional gaming space have a problem with because it’s sort of [this mindset where] the economy is more important than the game design in a lot of ways. And people don’t love that.

I think one of the most interesting projects is this project called Loot Project where you buy a bundle of items and then those items are what other game developers can use to build on top of. But that’s really the most interesting innovation I see in the NFT space – where the items in the economy are driving the actual game development, as opposed to the game design and development driving the actual items and the economy.

Gaming for NFTs also has not really performed the way that a lot of people thought they would. I mean, if you look at NFTs, the most obvious place that you would expect NFTs to be successful would be in games. And I think it’s still going to be a huge business, but it’s not something that we’ve seen to date.

The NFTs that have been most successful have been sort of social identity NFTs – Ape and different areas like that. And then generative art, which has really no utility. It’s just something that you might throw on your Twitter profile picture. But the interesting thing about utility versus non-utility is that in games, you might buy a horse. In some games, you might breed a horse, for example. You pay for that horse and that horse has a certain yield that’s attached to that purchase, which is great because you can earn income on that thing that you purchase.

The problem though with that same utility is that if that game goes away, then that asset becomes useless. There’s no interoperability of that asset. That asset becomes less valuable if that actual game becomes less played. Whereas if you look at the social media profile picture, it doesn’t really matter if Twitter’s the biggest social medium or Facebook or whatever. You can just take that NFT and put it as your profile picture anywhere. And so those have actually been more interesting in the NFT space than in the gaming space.

The innovation that crypto brings to digital goods is really in my mind, more of a cultural shift. It’s not just a technological feat because games have tried to create marketplaces in the past. For example, Diablo had a marketplace and they shut it down because it wasn’t successful. The ability to transact items for players, for those items to have bid and ask and market rates. Those things have been tried in games and they haven’t worked, but crypto has really created this huge cultural shift where players are now wanting to see market pricing, tradability and items. There’s transparency and accountability that we’re seeing in terms of how many items are going to be created.And that creates a level of scarcity.

And there are games that again, are being sort of built around economies, instead of the flip where that game design is sort of the initial concept, and then you build an economy to support and make sure that there’s a business model there.

So I think there’s really, really interesting things. It’s obviously fairly early and it’s something that ultimately Pragma, we want to be this infrastructure layer that supports how you interop between different chains, how the content integrates with various chains, et cetera. And so, yeah. It’s a space we’re looking at, we’re very, very interested in. And it’ll be interesting to see if the player count catches up to the amount of investments that have been made in the space. And obviously that’s maybe your space and an area that you might know better, but yeah. We’re definitely looking at it. It’s fascinating. Really interesting.

Yeah. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of people betting on the evolution of that right now. And what’s interesting, to your point, is that what’s most important for games is that they’re fun, right? And that they’re social. And so when you introduce some of these concepts where you have to have acquired really expensive items to be competitive in a game, it takes away a lot of the elements of a game that make gaming a huge pastime for so many people.

Right. Yep. That’s true. And again, it hasn’t been talked about much. The traditional gamer, a lot of them are fairly anti-crypto and it’s definitely something that I’d love to see some journalists write about that tension there, because I think a lot of people view those things as synonymous. You see a lot of gaming and crypto funds and there’s really a lot of tension there right now. And again, as infrastructure we’re fairly agnostic and we want to support what developers want. If developers are asking us for certain features, then we would like to build those features as long as it’s ethical and it’s something that supports our mission.

Okay. Well, great. Well, one last question for you, your Pragma is growing pretty quickly. What kind of roles are you recruiting for at the moment and what are you looking for in candidates?

Yeah. So we had traditionally been a team of all backend platform engineers. We actually just started building out our product or we hired our first product manager. We hired our first product designer which literally started in the last few weeks. We do want to continue building out that practice. And obviously for us, we’re going to continue building out our platform engineering team. This is an extremely competitive place to hire. Backend engineers are coveted everywhere, not just in gaming. It’s a place that we’re going to continue aggressively hiring for. We want to hire another 10 platform engineers in the next three months. So if you’re a platform engineer and you’re interested in games, please contact me.

Okay. Terrific.

Well, we’ll wrap it up there. Thank you very much, Eden, for coming and sharing the story of Pragma today. Really exciting stuff going on there. Congrats on all the progress and congrats on your recent fundraise.



David Thacker

Venture Partner

David invests in mission driven founders who are tackling big problems with great product experiences.

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