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Michael Stiegelmeyer, COO & President of Planet Digital Partners – Interview Series

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Michael Stiegelmeyer, COO & President of Planet Digital Partners - Interview Series

Michael Stiegelmeyer is the President and COO for Planet Digital Partners. Since 2013, Mr. Stiegelmeyer has served as CEO of The 1441 Group, LLC and ZAGS, LLC. The 1441 Group, LLC is a business development and sales company focused on development sales and marketing for toy, video games, CE, sporting goods, and other consumable products in the U.S. ZAGS, LLC is a distribution sales company focused on opportunistic general merchandise sales with key U.S. retail accounts throughout the U.S.

 

AT: Can you tell us a little bit about Planet Digital Partners and the team behind it?

MS: Planet Digital Partners is a licensed publisher of console video games for Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.  We operate most closely to an accelerator, as we partner with studios to take content or concept from start to finish, placing it in the market both physically and digitally.  Our team is comprised of industry veterans who have held executive positions at some of the largest publishing, manufacturing, and distribution companies in the video game industry- including the former CEO of Take Two, the former President of PlayStation Europe, the founders of Saber Interactive, and the founder of Jack of All Games.   We have assembled a team of people who have made video games very successfully for a long time. This ability to develop and deliver great consumer experiences is the core strength behind PDP.

 

AT: Why issue a security token versus raising via a traditional venture fund?

MS: We believe that digital securities represent a game-changing investment opportunity that will have huge impacts beyond our STO and through all markets.  We feel the flexibility of a token offering versus going the VC route, allows our core group to retain the structure of decision making, provides liquidity for the investor, and allows us to give greater creative control to our studio partners.   That combination of factors fit perfectly into our vision of a democratic, collaborative entity that is PDP.

 

AT: RKT owners stand to receive a percentage of the net profits, can you share with us some details on this profit distribution?

MS:  The structure we are offering to investors is to return 80% of all NET divisible revenue to the point at which RKT Token investors are whole.  At that point and moving forward, we will return 40% of NET divisible profit to the RKT tokens.

 

AT: What console or streaming service will these games be available on?

MS:  Our games will be available on Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft console or handheld platforms, as well as Steam, IOS, and Android.  The platform mix will vary game by game, based on the validity of the content offering by format.  For example, we may release a title only for Nintendo Switch, based on the user experience and and/or platform user base.   We want to keep very ROI focused in releasing titles, versus trying to blanket all platforms on all titles.  Luckily, we have enough people in decision-making positions who understand this approach and have been very successful in releasing content in a targeted fashion.

 

AT: Will these games be based on pre-existing IP, or will these games be developed from scratch?

MS:  Planet Digital Partners will release a combination of new releases based on pre-existing IP as well as completely new IP.  This balance of ‘tried and true + brand spanking new” is part of the DNA when it comes to crafting our portfolio.  We understand that there are legacy brands that can deliver terrific sales and ROI if delivered through a new experience with familiar notes throughout.  An example of this type will be when we release Cooking Mama in the back half of 2019.  Cooking Mama is a brand with 14MM copies sold over its iterations life to date- and we will release this for the first time on Nintendo’s Switch platform exclusively this fall.  The pedigree for success is there and the experience of the game is perfectly suited to Switch and the Joy-Con controller system.  On the other side, we will be looking to bring brand new IP from award-winning studios to life. There is a tremendous amount of compelling content being built through the vibrant Indie community that simply needs an accelerator-styled boost from a partner like PDP.

 

AT: The whitepaper states that the business plan is to invest in games in the $10,000,000 USD range versus the blockbuster offerings by larger entities such as Electronic Arts or Activision. What’s the mindset behind this decision?

MS: The mindset there is that we see a hole in the publishing fabric, where compelling IP- as mentioned above- never gets a green light or only goes to market in a limited, digital fashion.  The large, institutional publishers are focused on projects with massive development and marketing budgets.  Those projects can potentially deliver the massive revenue needed to move the needle with their share-holders, and they are often built around pre-existing relationships and commitments. So, we see that there is a supply of solid content that will resonate with consumers that needs an infusion of support and guidance to be optimized.   By focusing on projects that require a modest amount of investment, and doing so through an extremely lean organization, we can build to-market sales systems that deliver meaningful ROI, which provide better delivery back into the RKT token.   The independent community creating video games is stronger than it has ever been- we want to enable the star projects within that community to shine.

 

AT: Will any of the games be using the freemium model, whereby users can play for free but then pay for upgrades?

MS: Right now ‘freemium’ is not what we are focused on.  The success stories are there for everyone to see, but our focus is on delivering great gaming experiences within the box, so to speak.  We also think the gaming community is starting to feel a little worn out by micro-transaction.  Maybe that makes us ‘old school’, but that is what the brand is about.

 

AT: What’s the timeline from prototype to final release of the initial games?

MS:  Every project is different, but for our games the typical development cycle is 12 to 16 months, end to end.  For PDP we are bringing in a handful of ‘baked’ projects which will allow us to begin releasing games in 2019 and delivering to investors in early 2020.

 

AT: The whitepaper states that the blockchain will be used in these games, could you elaborate on this?

MS: Our plan is to deploy simple blockchain applications into the actual games, where it makes sense and makes the experience more compelling.  One example would be in the use of blockchain private-keys.  Private-keys can be assigned to each copy of the game, giving that user a unique ID.  These keys would make each game subtly different and personal to the user by building an optional feature in the menu settings that allows the private-key to change the expression algorithms for characters, non-playable characters, enemies, terrain or items in the game.   So essentially, each copy of the game can deliver a unique variation of the experience to each user, and can result in rare ‘mutations’ at varying rates.   We believe gamers will get a huge kick out of this type of individualized experience and will want to share these unique expressions and ‘mutations’ within the community.

 

AT: Is there anything else that you would like to share about Planet Digital Partners Inc?

MS: We are just really excited to be bridging the worlds of digital securities and video games.   We see a tremendous opportunity for investors, developers, and, ultimately, the gamers we want to build great products for.  Now that the STO has begun, our focus will be on successfully closing our raise, engaging our investor base, and then making the very best video games we can in the most innovative ways possible.

 

Thank you for the fantastic interview. Anyone who wishes to learn more can visit the Planet Digital Partners Token Listings Page or the Planet Digital Partners Website.

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Antoine Tardif is the founding partner of Securities.io, the CEO of BlockVentures.com, and has invested in over 50 blockchain & AI projects. He is the founder of Unite.AI a news website for AI and Robotics. He is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council.

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