I want to take you back to around March of 2020 when the vision for Tentango first crystallized. When the pandemic first started. I was stuck at home like many others because everything around me was closed.
And like many, I played my shared of Steam games. But when I wasn't playing video games I was researching crypto because it was something I truly wanted to understand it. And after about 1000 hours of research, I found a missing piece to an idea I had a few years back.
Back in 2019, I was researching a lot into Esports because it was so fascinating. There were a few things I noticed. The first was an Esports team's valuation. In the 2019 Forbes list of the most valuable Esports teams, I noticed FaZe Clan and 100 Thieves were on the list but they weren't one of the winningest teams. That's contrary to what we know about traditional sports teams. The ones that are worth the most are usually the winningest, as they have the most history. Think LA Lakers, Dallas Cowboys, Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona.
Faze Clan and 100 Thieves were mostly a network of gaming streamers and YouTubers. Yes, they have teams that competed in various Esports but that was just to legitimize the content they created, not the other way around. I realized the term Esports Team was being applied loosely. They were more like an Esports org, a gaming lifestyle brand.
Minecraft was not considered to be an Esport
The other thing I noticed was that Minecraft was not considered an Esports. I knew from previous research that a game is recognized as an Esports if it had these 3 things: playability, watchability, and money for the best players. In short, when a game is played competitively, and prizes are available to the best players, then it is an esport. That is a direct quote from that article that I've found to be true.
Minecraft certainly has playability. It's over 10 years old and there's at least 3 ways to play it: 1) single and multiplayer survival, 2) player vs player, and 3) creative building. Of the three, creative building was the most interesting to me as it allowed players to create whatever they imagined. Many of the mods were created for this audience: shaders, WorldEdit, ReplayMod. I believe Minecraft is still popular today because of the creative building aspect.
It also had watchability. We can find tons of videos on YouTube, some on building structures, some for pvp, and some for starting new worlds. The third aspect I realized was what it was lacking. There is not a lot of money for the best players in Minecraft, whether that is for the best PvPer, builder, or something else.
As mentioned before, the building aspect of Minecraft is the most interesting to me because for some time there was money going into that style of gameplay. Brands have tried to market themselves inside Minecraft with custom builds. For example, Verizon created a working phone, and Disney created Tomorrowland, both inside of Minecraft.
But this marketing practice came to a halt in 2016. To this day, Minecraft's terms of service states that brands cannot create custom maps for their business.
Oh but what if it allowed for it. If it did, then the brand dollars would go to the best builders (best players of creative mode). I realized this is the missing piece.
Back to the pandemic. During my 1000 hours of research on everything crypto and blockchain, I ultimately discovered NFTs. From there, I discovered The Sandbox. Upon first look, it was a Minecraft-ish game engine combined with the power of NFTs. Soon, I realized that Sandbox builders would own the rights to their creations. By having ownership, I could see builders would eventually extract value from their creativity.
The thought that remained in my head was this, "What if there was a Esports team but for Minecraft? What would that look like?"
I believe there is an opportunity to create a brand that inspires creativity. Instead of inspiring young people to be better gamers, I can imagine a global brand that inspires young people to be better builders and creators.
This led me to create these foundational statements about Tentango's vision and mission:
We believe young people who grow up with creativity see the world with limitless possibilities. We believe they will become the great engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs that make the world a remarkable place. Our mission is to inspire the next generation of creators to build even greater things.
Inspiring the next generation through gaming makes a lot of sense to me, especially when the game is about building and creativity as is the case with Minecraft, Sandbox, and others.