Experienced SaaS (Software as aService) entrepreneur Maria Johnston has been appointed as CEO of Ruby Play Network, and she has billion-dollar ambitions for the company.
“I’ve always had big ambitions, and I believe Ruby Play Network is positioned to lead the adoption of web3 through our gaming, loyalty and retention platform. We are building a tech unicorn from the South Island of New Zealand that will influence the world using blockchain technology, decentralised finance, cryptocurrency, and the ability for players to reap benefits from their gaming.”
Some of the words used in that last sentence may not be familiar to people outside of IT or finance, and Johnston knows she’s got a big job in front of her to educate people on the emerging technology Ruby Play Network operates in.
“Decentralised finance, cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, NFTs, web3 – they all evoke different reactions – and they’re not always good. The team at Ruby Play Network have been working over the last two years to build a trusted network that enables game developers to offer rewards to their players and make the gaming experience even better,” she says.
“At the moment we live in a predominantly web2 version of the internet. The infrastructure for our online activities including banking, communications, shopping and entertainment is setup so that all the data and information is owned by big tech organisations. They do what they want with it. You’re the product.
“We believe web3 provides an alternative for everything we do online, where the infrastructure is decentralised. This means users own their own data, and what their data is used for is more transparent. As users realise the benefits of web3 we will start to see more demand for traditional web2 applications to introduce decentralisation.”
Ruby Play Network is to launch a blockchain-powered social mobile gaming, loyalty and retention platform called Ruby Rewards that rewards players in new and exciting ways.
“Traditionally mobile games are closed ecosystems. Players can’t currently reap benefits from their game play, and they can’t take their achievements out of the game. With Ruby Play Network, that changes because players can earn RUBY tokens through playing, and that can be paid into their wallet. They can use NFTs to enhance their experiences and sell them on NFT marketplaces.”
Johnston says the Ruby Play Network team have launched social gaming platforms in the USA, which enables clients to provide online social mobile gaming to the likes of bingo halls. “Our company revenue is generated from these platforms, so we’re not impacted by the volatility of the crypto market right now.”
In addition to her global ambitions, Johnston is passionate about lifting local capability in the gaming and software sector, and credits her time as a business innovation advisor at Callaghan Innovation for providing great insight into how that can be achieved. “Because we are Kiwis, we can do globally impactful things from here. I want to build and use local talent, and we are actively seeking more people to employ right now.”
With studios in Westport and Christchurch, Johnston says they have a young, diverse team.
“Ruby Play Network’s headquarters are based at our innovation hub EPIC Kawatiri Westport, and we see the expansion of the Ruby team as a tangible way of diversifying the economy on the West Coast. As a region it has so much to offer, and we are a key component of the regional economic development strategy by creating a new digital industry here. We would support anyone looking to relocate to Westport to begin a new role.
“We have 35 people currently at RubyPlay Network, and we provide them with the structure and support to develop their skills. We’re currently looking for talent in engineering, game development, quality assurance and product to add to our team,” she says.
The global games market is expected to grow to USD$196 billion in 2022, with mobile gaming alone expected to grow to USD$95.4 billion. Ruby Play Network already has more than 1200 monthly active users, generating USD$10 million in monthly game play, and 69k wallets holding RUBY.