Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee, is the Founder & CEO of DIGITALAX, the pioneer Digital Fashion NFT protocol and marketplace for gaming and esports with a full in-house team across content production, technical pipeline execution and creative infrastructure development.
What initially attracted you to gaming?
Honestly, I think we are all gamers as kids, we are all inherently playful whether we call ourselves gamers or not. It just so happens that a lot of us can’t find a way to afford to continue playing as we grow up, whether that is because of money or just life in general, other things get in the way.
For me, it has always been the culture of modding that has made me most excited about gaming and that’s worked its way into everything I do; from modding digital fashion and the patterns and materials to modding entire systems like esports itself. Modding sits at the intersection of so many important areas; culture, community, self expression. And, it’s a massive industry that has guaranteed and directly supported the scalability and success of so many globally recognised games; CS:GO, Among Us, LOL, Roblox, Fortnite etc.
ESPA has introduced the concept of casual Esports, could you explain what this is?
Well, esports today is very limited. It has amazing promise and a huge viewership. But also, there are some major unspoken truths and shortfalls. The roadmap to go from amateur to pro is incredibly difficult, there isn’t any easy entry and onboarding for players to start earning a living, you either make it big or you don’t make it at all, and, there is too much centralised power in the formalities around the event circuit— ultimately the value is locked between a few individuals and entities at the top.
Casual esports pioneers in contrast to these shortfalls. It allows any player to go from amateur to pro just because they have a love for the game. They can engage with their favourite content anytime, anywhere, it isn’t restricted to a formal event, and as they play they start accruing inter-game points on a meta cross content leaderboard. These points can then be translated into real value, so the player is able to start earning a livelihood and income stream through casual play. This has never been done before and will bring immense value, economic stability for players globally.
How will the ESPA platform enable modders, independent developers, and designers to better monetize their content?
ESPA operates as a Layer 2 solution and interoperable infrastructure to all gaming, VR, 3D content. It allows modders, indie devs to leverage off an additional well defined use case and utility for their content, without interfering with their underlying in-game economy or circumnavigating the game/content’s current operative state.
For designers, the fashion skin NFTs have direct embedded functionality and utility within the ESPA meta-game, where the different rarities of the skins (Common, Semi-Rare, Exclusive) determine the longevity of access that a Player has within the Esports tournaments. For the first time the Designers are actually seen and respected for how much they contribute to the overall ecosystem and additional novelty and player experience that they can bring to the content
ESPA also lets designers, indie devs and modders to gain access to and leverage off of the value contained within Web3, Crypto, NFTs, without requiring them to actually build on blockchain or even really have to know what blockchain, NFTs is even all about. They can plug-in and unlock the core features of Web3 tech without having to convert their whole business and technical development pipeline. This is a huge mass adoption trigger.
For readers who are not familiar with digital fashion, could you explain what digital fashion is and why it’s important to gamers?
Well, you know what skins are, and you know what physical fashion is i.e. merch, apparel, gear. Digital fashion combines them in a very interesting new way. First, there is where it came from, digital fashion was more officially established as a market segment to combat unsustainable practices along the physical fashion supply chain. The fashion industry is the second most wasteful industry in the world after oil and it turns out that a lot of this waste is generated during the prototyping stage. Digital simulations of each step of the fashion design process reduces a ton of waste and allows for infinite material usage and modding.
But gamers have been doing this for a long time. Another word for video games is simulations of fantasy and life. And in these simulations it turns out that self expression is extremely critical, it is intrinsic to who we are as people. Fashion is one of our most distinct methods of communication and expression, and in digital worlds, like gaming, this stays true.
Then when you think about NFTs and how no one can stop talking about them, even invading SNL, it shows something interesting doesn’t it? Everyone wants a slice of the NFT craze even if they don’t know what it is. When you think about digital fashion NFTs and skins, real gamers get it immediately.
What are some of the different use cases for $MONA tokens?
$MONA is the core utility token for ESPA. It is a customised programmable incentive that efficiently transfers value between the designers, developers and players.
Players purchase skins from the marketplace in $MONA to then battle out in the esports tournaments. These $MONA profits from the skin sales are then distributed between the designers of the skins, developers showcasing their content and the winning players of the battles. The treasury also receives a % of this profit distribution to continue maintaining the protocol and so do the holders of $MONA, just for holding it and being part of the ecosystem.
$MONA also acts as a governance within ESPA, where holders of the token are able to vote on key R&D, roadmap, protocol improvement proposals, meaning that every holder now has an active stake in the ecosystem and a say in its future.
Many gamers may not be familiar with NFTs (Non-fungible tokens), could you explain what these are and how they benefit gamers?
Sure. What I love about gamers is that we already use NFTs all the time, almost, we just haven’t called them that, and, we’ve been denied our share in the assets that we own in game. Every item, character, NPC, skin, DLC, asset, musical score, boss battle etc. is an NFT. A unique container and snapshot of something valuable. In the past, these snapshots have all been locked up and controlled by some central authority that isn’t us. Because of blockchain, NFTs decentralise that control, giving players real ownership and trust. This means that even if the game studio shuts down the player still owns their assets and the memories of moments in life that came with those assets.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about ESPA?
Yes! Join our discord and start playing. You are exactly who we are looking for. Join the uprising to liberate fashion and gaming.
Thank you for the interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit DIGITALAX.