Dear FirstBlood Followers,
As 2017 comes to an end, I sit here on Friday, December 8th, 2017 not as the CEO of FirstBlood but as a true blockchain and Esports enthusiast. I would like to share this personal note to supporters who have been following FirstBlood as project, as a retrospect to this past year and where I think the project will be in the following year.
I still have a vivid recollection of when we started working on this project 18 months ago. In the corner meeting room at downtown Boston’s DCU Innovation Center, Co-founder Anik Dang and I spent consecutive days and nights, coding and designing a new game mode for League of Legends. Our goal was to bring back the classic and fun solomid game mode… it was just a hackathon project, known as Solome at the time.
Our combination of passion for both gaming and blockchain destined us to create FirstBlood.
It was a hobby, a passion, and a labor of love for Esports. These reasons are backing our firm belief and determination in bringing changes to competitive Esports space. (I had also explained a bit in my previous piece — Reward the Journey).
Steve Jobs once said, “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time” and this is what the team at FirstBlood firmly believes in. We believe the true value of a decentralized network will ultimately depend on how many users are interacting with it; and in order to succeed in the adoption of a network, two things are required —
- A sticky product that creates value for its users.
- A ridiculously easy to use platform.
FirstBlood has worked throughout 2017 to pursue our philosophy and will continue to perfect the experiences on our app and to focus more on expanding our active user base in the year of 2018.
The Year in Review
How we Pursued the FirstBlood Philosophy in 2017
Looking back at the past 11 months, we have focussed on the following things:
1. Building a solid and easy-to-use product.
Because we firmly believe user adoption should be the ultimate driver to growth of the network
2. All fundamental features needed for scaling into the ecosystem we envisioned.
These features are needed before we can add new games and drive value to the ecosystem
3. Positioning FirstBlood to become a global esports ecosystem.
A multi-product ecosystem that helps us transform the industry.
We have accomplished the following things:
- Launched Fully Decentralized App integrated with Dota 2 using MetaMask in Pre-Alpha on Testnet
- Brought together the FirstBlood community for our professionally casted social event series (Social Sunday’s)
- Announced Partnership with Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) to further our vision in fairness and integrity in professional Esports
- Launched Queue Mode (solo & party queues) and BattleTime that allows players to compete with Test Tokens in our alpha
- Launched the FirstBlood BITS (Blood In the Streets) Tournament Initiative. A global tournament series that has been held in EU and in the Americas! With hundreds of thousands unique Dota 2 viewers and, millions of minutes watched.
- We Decided to defer Founder Token Allocation until we reach critical mass.
- Launched Search, Friends, Chat & Gaming profile features in private Beta
- Launched in App Notification, CYOET (Create your own Esports Team), Hero Analytics, Ladders and Token System (PT) in open Beta
- Launched “Dream to Stream” Partnership Program
- Announced the Partnership with MOLD to support China General Administration of Sports Tournaments (CUEL). FirstBlood to serve hundreds of thousands Esports users in Chinese market
- Successfully rebranded — redesigned our logo, color palette, in-app UI/UX and landing pages — FirstBlood Will Forever Look Different
- Launched Tournament Feature with Tournament Week — grew our Dota 2 user base by over 50%.
- We expanded our FirstBlood team from 5 founding members to a team of 22 people.
2018 FirstBlood Aspirations
More Games and More Exciting Partnerships
Immediately following our Dota 2 integration, our team is already planning to add additional games to Firstblood arsenal. We are in active conversations with publishers, organizers and communities — we anticipate to integrate 2–4 games in 2018 with the goal to scale match formats and user base. Along the way, we intend to form a handful of meaningful partnerships to boost that process. Stay tuned to our dev blog as we expect to announce which game will be integrated next real soon.
More Match Formats
In 2017 we built three match formats including competitive ladder, queue mode (with Play Tokens) and automated tournaments. In 2018, more playable game formats should be introduced to our users with the goal to improve user retention and stickiness on the platform.
1ST Integration/More Payments
We have accomplished quite a bit in the last 12 months, but we are still only at the beginning of our roadmap. 2018 will be the year when our payment layer is fully integrated. After tireless days and nights, our dev team is on the final stride to finalize the integration of #1ST functionalities and additional payment processing. 2018 should be the year, players will be able to earn doing what they love.
1ST Token Availability
While we expect many people will want to use #1ST to participate in the witness/jury system, many others are expected to use #1ST as a payment option on the FirstBlood platform. Allowing this is a great way to let the token circulate through our ecosystem in a healthy fashion. It should allow us to serve customers in underserved markets without having to worry about integration with local payment networks. This is a huge priority for us in the upcoming year.
As envisioned in our whitepaper, in order to massively expand our ecosystem, one of the strategies is to leverage our existing user base. A referral program should play a big part in FirstBlood’s user growth, and rewards will be given to users who bring in more match volume. You may have already seen elements of this in some of our Tournament Week promotions, but we are just barely scratching the surface. Stay tuned for more ways to help bring new players onboard.
If you have been following us closely from the very beginning, you know we developed and released a working witness and jury system during our pre-alpha stage. In the beta, we put that aside to focus on the platform’s user experience for players. With 2018 approaching, we are planning to start coming together, beginning with reintegration of the witness node software, followed by the jury system. We plan to reintroduce these core feature slowly and carefully with no exceptions on FirstBlood.
Our current main app is programed in the AngularJS framework. One of our goals next year is to introduce a desktop client that will improve user activation and retention, and allow us to add features that would not be possible in the webapp, such as integration with the witness node software and better integration with gaming software.
2018 will be a year of global expansion for Firstblood
As we spearhead to 2018, it is hard to neglect one of the largest esports and games markets in the world — Asia and South East Asia (SEA).
SEA boasts one of the highest growth numbers (Newzoo estimates 36% CAGR for the next 3 years) and we are down to capture and capitalise on the region starting Q1 2018. To do so, we have aligned the objectives and strategies to successfully roll out our presence in the region.
In addition, we are already in the planning phase to premier our presence in China (we are recruiting talents!) . We will work with our existing partners such as MOLD, China General Administration of Sports and etc to expand in this market.