GAM3 Awards 2023 Meet the Jury: Mark Rydon

GAM3 Awards 2023 returns with a prominent jury, including Mark Rydon, to honor excellence in web3 gaming. Insights on the future of web3 gaming.

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Eliza Crichton-Stuart

Head of Operations

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Our highly anticipated GAM3 Awards, a pivotal event in the world of web3 gaming, is poised to make a grand comeback this December 2023. We are thrilled to introduce our diverse jury lineup, which combines familiar faces from 2022 with fresh voices representing various aspects of web3 gaming. The new additions are particularly noteworthy, featuring key figures from web3 gaming venture capital firms, blockchain and ecosystem experts, infrastructure partners, content creators, as well as well-established leaders in the gaming industry and technology giants such as Amazon and Google.

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We are proud to introduce one of our jury members Mark Rydon. Mark is CEO at Aethir, a hyper-growth startup building decentralized cloud infrastructure (DCI) to revolutionize the industries of cloud gaming and AI. 

1. What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

“In leading Aethir, the most enjoyable aspect of my role lies in the dynamic and transformative nature of the journey. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities, and navigating this fast-paced environment is incredibly exciting.

An extremely fulfilling aspect is building the team and witnessing their collaboration towards the company’s vision. Hiring self-starters and building a culture that fosters innovation and collaboration is deeply rewarding. Seeing individuals come together, each contributing their unique strengths to drive our shared vision, is a source of immense pride.

Moreover, the impact we're making in the market is a constant source of joy. Our disruptive technology is reshaping the gaming industry, particularly in emerging economies. The positive feedback we receive, and the success stories of our users validate the hard work and strategic vision we've implemented.

Personally, I find great satisfaction in the continuous learning and personal growth that comes with leading a hyper-growth startup. Adapting to evolving market trends, embracing new technologies, and staying ahead of the curve keep me engaged and motivated. This learning journey not only benefits me but also contributes to the overall resilience and agility of our organization.

In essence, the most enjoyable part of my role as the CEO of Aethir is the convergence of innovation, teamwork, market impact, and personal growth. It is such a privilege to lead a team that is reshaping the industry and making a lasting mark on the business landscape.”

2. How do you see the progress made in web3 gaming since last year?

“The web3 gaming space is continuously evolving. Just in the last year, I have seen so much progress being made, including the following:

• Increased Adoption of Web3 Games: There's been a noticeable uptick in the number of players interacting with web3 games, as well as traditional gamers becoming more aware of web3 concepts. This is partly due to more user-friendly interfaces and better onboarding experiences that reduce the complexity of interacting with blockchain technology in web3 games.

• Improved Blockchain Technology: Blockchain technologies and platforms have become more robust, with improvements in scalability and transaction speeds. Layer 2 solutions and sidechains, for instance, have addressed some of the issues with gas fees and network congestion that were prevalent in earlier stages of web3 gaming.

• Increased Quality of Games: The quality and depth of web3 games have been gradually increasing. There's been a move away from simple, transaction-based games toward more immersive experiences that can compete with traditional gaming in terms of storyline, gameplay, and graphics.

• Regulatory Clarity: There's been a push for clearer regulations around cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and digital assets, which are central to web3 gaming. Regulatory clarity is crucial for the industry to attract more traditional players and larger gaming studios.

• Evolving Business Models: The play-to-earn model that was popular in the early days of web3 gaming is being refined. Developers are exploring new models that balance player earnings with enjoyable gameplay, aiming to ensure the long-term viability of games.

• Mainstream Partnerships: More collaborations are occurring between blockchain gaming platforms and traditional gaming companies, signaling a bridge between web2 and web3 gaming paradigms.

The progress in web3 gaming is not without challenges, such as user adoption hurdles, regulatory uncertainties, and technical barriers. However, developers and stakeholders are continuously working to overcome these issues, aiming to create a more inclusive, participatory, and economically viable gaming ecosystem.”

3. What is the most valuable addition web3 brings to gaming, from your perspective, if any?

“From my perspective, one of the most valuable additions that web3 brings to gaming is the concept of true ownership and the integration of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Apart from that - on the game developers’ side, web3 enables streamlined game deployment, cloud rendering and streaming, SDK and tools as well as market testing and engagement. Through Aethir’s DCI technologies, developers are provided a seamless environment to create, deploy and scale cross-platform gaming experiences without the typical constraints and costs associated with traditional development processes.

Other additions that, in my opinion, web3 brings to gaming are:

• Asset Ownership and Digital Scarcity: Web3 gaming, with the use of NFTs, allows players to have true ownership of in-game assets. These assets are represented as unique, indivisible tokens on the blockchain, providing a level of digital scarcity. Players can buy, sell, and trade these assets with a level of ownership and authenticity that was not possible in traditional gaming.

• Player-Driven Economies: The integration of NFTs and blockchain technology enables the creation of player-driven economies within games. Players can earn rewards, trade assets, and even make a living through play-to-earn models. This flips the traditional gaming paradigm by allowing players to have a direct impact on the in-game economy.

• Interoperability and Cross-Platform Integration: Web3 gaming promotes interoperability, allowing players to use their in-game assets across different games and platforms within the web3 ecosystem. This flexibility enhances the gaming experience and gives players more control over their virtual possessions.

• Transparency and Security: The use of blockchain technology in web3 gaming provides transparency and security. Transactions and ownership of assets are recorded on the blockchain, reducing the risk of fraud or manipulation. This can build trust among players and create a more secure environment for virtual transactions.

• Community Engagement and Governance: Web3 gaming often involves decentralized governance models, where players have a say in the development and evolution of the game. This increased community engagement fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment among players.

• Incentivizing Innovation: The play-to-earn model and the potential for real-world value creation incentivize developers to create innovative and engaging gaming experiences. This has the potential to attract talent and investment into the web3 gaming space, fostering a culture of creativity and experimentation.”

4. What is your outlook for 2024 and beyond for web3 gaming?

“From my perspective, in 2024 we would see the following for web3 gaming:

• Maturation of Ecosystem: By 2024, the web3 gaming ecosystem should mature further, with increased adoption and integration of blockchain technology in various games. Major gaming companies and developers will explore web3 features, leading to a more diverse range of web3-enabled games.

• Broader Adoption of NFTs: Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) should become even more integrated into gaming experiences, providing players with unique and tradable in-game assets. The concept of true ownership through NFTs will become a standard feature in many games, attracting a wider audience.

• Cross-Platform Game Interoperability: Efforts to enhance interoperability between different games and platforms within the web3 ecosystem will lead to more seamless experiences for players. The ability to use assets across multiple games will become a common feature, providing players with greater flexibility and control.

• Increased Developer Innovation: The potential for real-world value creation and the popularity of web3 gaming models will attract more developers and investors. This influx of talent will lead to increased innovation in game design, mechanics, and storytelling within the web3 gaming space.

• Regulatory Considerations: As web3 gaming continues to grow, regulatory frameworks will also evolve to address the unique challenges and opportunities presented by blockchain technology in the gaming industry. Clearer regulations would provide a more stable environment for the development and adoption of web3 gaming.

• Community-Driven Development: Decentralized governance models and community involvement in decision-making will become more refined. Players will have a more direct impact on the development roadmap of games, fostering a sense of community ownership and participation.

It's important to note that the success of web3 gaming will depend on overcoming challenges such as scalability, user education, and mainstream adoption. We hope to address some of these issues particularly those associated with scalability and mainstream adoption through Aethir’s technology. We provide access to cloud gaming on mobiles for users regardless of their hardware, unlocking access to gaming for 3 billion users.

The trajectory of web3 gaming in 2024 and beyond will be influenced by technological developments, industry collaborations, and the ability to address regulatory considerations, and we hope to be at the center of that.”

The return of our GAM3 Awards in 2023 promises to be a celebration of the web3 gaming industry's growth and innovation. With industry figures like Mark Rydon on the jury, the event is set to recognize excellence in the ever-evolving world of web3 gaming.

GAM3 Awards 2023


February 20th 2024


November 8th 2023

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