On August 22, gaming platform Haste Arcade launched Darko, a new interactive point and click gaming series that puts the player in a first-person view. I caught up with Joe DePinto, co-founder of Haste Arcade, to ask detailed questions about the launch, as well as how the business is doing lately.
Darko seems to be a stark contrast from all the other games in the Arcade. Why develop a game like this?
Joe DePinto: We’ve got a pretty creative team and are always proposing or experimenting with new ideas and concepts. We want as many people interacting within the Haste community, so we built Darko as a test to target more than just the casual gamer. It also is a piece of a broader strategy we have to expand what Haste is and the products we offer, although I’m not going to give any details on that yet. Coming Soon™…
The blog post mentions Darko is not related to Instant Leaderboard Payouts (ILP), so how will Darko integrate with micropayments?
Joe DePinto: To be honest, we don’t have an exact plan for how we are going to integrate micropayments yet, although we do have several ideas such as purchasing things or earning things from actions taken within each episode, purchasing the episodes themselves, paying per scene, or paying a monthly subscription to have access to the series.
I think most of these costs would be less than $1 but we are going to collect feedback from the community throughout the first season to see what people are comfortable with, and go from there.
How exactly is there no chance two players will have the same gaming experience?
Joe DePinto: I don’t want to give too much away, but players will have choices within the game, and depending on the choice they make, the outcomes of the scenes will be different. The way to think about it, is that there is a general, linear storyline, but within that storyline, the details change based on the player’s choices.
In the smartphone era of 2020s, 30-45 minutes to play an online game is an eternity, especially given the short play length of the other games in the arcade. What is the incentive for players to complete an episode of Darko?
Joe DePinto: We want this type of game/series to be something people play/stream like a Netflix show. It is not a hyper casual game; it is a more detailed progressive story. We’ve already seen how committed people get to staying up to date with their “shows,” and we think that adding an interactive aspect to a show like concept is going to be an additional incentive to completing an episode. On top of that, we fully anticipate incorporating the ability to earn through the gameplay.
How will users be able to “onboard and make/receive payments without even noticing” in Darko?
Joe DePinto: This is one of the things I’m most excited about. We can build in the need to do things like create a wallet, within the game’s storyline. For example, maybe there is a scene where your player completes a job and is paid for the job within the story.
Well, within the story, the player will need a wallet, so we can work creating a wallet into the storyline, and reward the player for doing so with a real micropayment that fits into the storyline.
How is releasing early features to Player Card Holders working out for the company?
Joe DePinto: I think it has been a nice benefit for the Player Card holders. Obviously, we want to give the Player Cards and the Haste Token as much utility as possible, and early access to new games is an obvious benefit. Player Cards are a significant revenue driver for the arcade, so as our user base grows, the hope is that the Player Cards have enough value that the more active/loyal gamers are willing to pay for one.
👀📈 New users registered for the monthly free roll tourney just 7 days into August… Prolly nuthin. pic.twitter.com/1jOt66tolw
— Haste Arcade | Game Platform (@hastearcade) August 8, 2022
Could you describe how efforts are going to gain new users and convert them into paid players this year so far?
Joe DePinto: One of the things we’ve been focused on since the beginning of the year is making our onboarding as seamless as possible so that we have the best chance to convert people that come to the arcade from our paid advertising campaigns. So far, we’ve been onboarding new users at a great cost compared to traditional hyper casual games but getting these users to spend money has been a challenge.
What we are learning is that the “non-crypto” market is less likely to pay to play a hyper casual game right after signing up, because that just isn’t how hyper casual games have worked in the past. So, we have implemented things like informative drip campaigns and Free Rolls, to help new users understand the benefits of ILPs™.
These drip campaigns and Free Rolls only started within the last month, so we haven’t really had the time to evaluate the results, but the early indications are that converting new users are converting into paid players at a faster rate than before the campaigns and Free Roll started.
Despite the bear market the digital currency space is in in 2022, the $HST token has appreciated 4x YTD in 2022. What factors are driving this in your opinion?
Joe DePinto: I think releasing collectibles and giving a 25% discount for purchasing HST has been a big factor. Again, it goes back to figuring out ways that we can add utility to the token. That, along with delivering new games and features has given traders more confidence in the long-term growth and potential of Haste and value in the token.
The biggest complaint I have seen from fellow users is that the current arcade games are not “fun.” How does the team correct this moving forward?
Joe DePinto: Haha we talk about this all the time in our team strategy meetings. I’m going to stick to my guns on this one and say that from the start, we’ve been clear about not being game developers. The games we launch are typically to prove a concept and hope that more experienced game developers will build better games using our SDK.
Having said that, we will continue to incorporate new concepts like digital copy NFTs into the games that we do build, and we think that will increase the enjoyment for the gamer. We’re also going to host a larger developer competition towards the end of the year with a focus on more detailed games and game types.
Does the Haste Team plan on organizing another development competition to get more games into the Arcade?
Joe DePinto: Yessir! More info on that will be released in September.
How is the marketing efforts with Built By Gamers going?
Joe DePinto: BBG has been really helpful. We’ve only run one campaign with their streamers so far (and we saw great conversion results), but they have helped us with a lot of marketing content like videos and graphics that we are using in our paid advertising campaigns.
Moving forward, we have plans to work with their streamers on our next ILP™ game, Monster Bombs, so I’m excited to see how that rolls out.
Thank you, Joe, for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope the readers learned more about Darko and the Haste Arcade’s efforts to grow. Sign up for the Haste Arcade here.
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