Sorare Ask Me Anything:
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A start-up company has to be transparent, communicative & honest in their operations, or they will struggle to succeed. This is something that Sorare know too well, which is why the owners like to get together and answer platform-focused questions every few months. They help existing members to understand exactly what Sorare want to achieve, which helps with product confidence.
Sorare have labelled these as ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions, where they openly discuss questions or queries that players may have.
Now, I’m no Sorare board member, nor have I actually spoken with the owners at any point… but I’m going to reveal the best question and answers from the sessions, and I’m going to put myself forward to answer the relevant ones, or at least give my thoughts.
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The Sorare AMA: 15 Questions and Answers
It’s frustrating seeing similar accounts always in the Top 10 on GD4, early adopters with huge galleries have a disproportionate advantage in what is meant to be the gateway division for new users. Are there any plans to cap entries?
We understand the frustration shared by many of you. We have plans to improve the game progression and to introduce new SO5 features where newer Managers can train, hone their skills and compete with Managers working with similar budgets and experience.
The first idea we’re hoping to introduce soon is the Academy: a single division league with no scarcity bonuses, max 1 Common, and a max average score of ~45 (value might change). If a Manager entered at least one lineup in any SO5 League above Division 4 in a given Gameweek, they will not be allowed to enter the Academy. Rewards for the Academy will be bonus XP, ETH and other exclusive prizes, based on placement in the leaderboard. We believe this is a great place for Managers on a budget to compete on equal-footing.
In addition, the new threshold feature we’re working on will not apply to Managers who have lineups in higher Divisions in a given gameweek. We want this feature to specifically target Managers who have a hard time reaching card reward positions in the lower divisions.
We won’t stop here. In the long run our goal is to ensure our division structure is as competitive and fair as possible by giving importance to skill, football knowledge and scouting ability. We’re challenging the entry requirements of our current division structure to reach this goal, while also ensuring that the galleries of larger accounts will not be impacted.
This is an extremely difficult topic to address, and I’m quite glad it’s not a decision that I have to make. When I take the viewpoint of a new player, it’s obviously a very daunting task to assemble a collection that’s able to compete with the existing players… and I would definitely be pushing for a rookie league where managers with a very specific criteria can register a team. The only problem with this, is that there’s always going to be a cut-off. Someone will be over-qualified for the Rookie league, whilst still not competitive for the Global All Star Div 4.
If I’m an existing manager that’s going to lose one of his weekly avenues at winning, I wouldn’t hide that I would be disappointed. However, whilst you may be winning less, your digital collection would have a much greater chance of increasing in value, as the Rookie Players would be more likely to ‘graduate’ and want your cards.
The outcome: I think the academy is a great prospect. As Sorare will be cutting off any users if they play Div 3 or above, it does really narrow down the pool of players. You are less likely to be playing against any super-stacked managers. It would be equivalent to the 1st round of the FA Cup!
I find it hard to sell my own cards. Will there be an option where I can auction them off?
Sorare Answer: We have many ideas to improve the Transfer Market experience and how Managers can negotiate between themselves. We are going to introduce a Counter-Offer feature that will allow the two sides of a Direct Offer to find a middle ground that works for both of them. After receiving an offer, Managers will be able to add / remove players, increase / decrease monetary amounts, and choose from a list of pre-determined messages. In the future we could add personalization features so that Managers can see what others are searching for when making Offers and Counter-Offers. This is just the next step of many we have in mind!
On top of that, we are going to implement game modes increasing the utility of cards. Last but not least, we are yet to start our paid marketing efforts with influencers and activate our marketing with top Clubs and Leagues. This additional wave of Managers will help with the demand.
My thoughts: It would be a backwards step for Sorare to introduce a peer to peer auction house, running alongside their Primary Market. Sorare have been very careful in controlling the supply of players to the market, but a peer-to-peer auction could cause a sudden influx which ends up with a player selling really cheap.
When you sell on eBay using the Auction, you can sometimes be left feeling disappointed… “Oh I thought it would’ve sold for more than that”… whereas you always know what you’re getting with a Buy it Now. In many ways, this helps to keep the scarcity on the platform, as sellers tend to offer their players out at a premium price. As we know, buyers already want to buy as cheap as possible.
- How do you plan on making Sorare more accessible to the average fan while protecting the early users investments? Most people probably can’t spend $/€500+ to build a team.
Sorare Answer: We’ve made a big breakthrough in our search for a new blockchain scaling solution. We’re currently implementing a scaling solution on Ethereum, that will drastically improve the user experience: immediate card transfers, reward claims, cheap deposits and withdrawals. Expect more details about this in the coming weeks.
More importantly, once the scaling solution is live, we’ll introduce a new type of scarcity (in the second part of 2021) with a new game design that will allow Managers with smaller budgets to compete on Sorare and have fun in new divisions.
We’re working on new auction systems for the new scarcity that will increase the excitement of acquiring the cards while also preventing the prices from ballooning out of control. To protect Managers’ galleries with Rares, Super Rares, and Uniques, the new scarcity cards will have their own Division which will reward the new scarcity cards (name to be defined).
We believe this new card scarcity will enable a lot of new Managers to join the game. Amongst this new wave, some of the Managers will still want to immediately compete with rares, super rares or uniques, which will also increase the demand for existing scarcities. We see this as a positive step for the overall value of existing scarcities.
My Thoughts: There’s only so many auction types that you can create, so I am wondering here if the Dutch Auction will be implemented on specific cards? The Dutch Auction is where the price slowly keeps dropping, until it reaches a point that a player is happy to pay. At this point, the card would be sold.
The New Scarcity type is also interesting, as it’s something we are all expecting, but unsure how it’s going to be revealed. I would think that this card sits inbetween the Rookie and the Rare category, as they have openly stated they want the game to be enjoyable for all budgets.
4) Can you elaborate more on the plans for thresholds post summer, you have previously confirmed thresholds will stay in some form and have confirmed that ETH payments will not just be for the top 3
We talked about creating a new threshold feature that will facilitate progression. The goals of this new progression feature are:
– Allow Managers to gradually work their way towards rewards even with affordable teams
– Create the idea that “every point matters” towards your progression.
– Offer an element of choice, strategy and control in a Manager’s rewards
The way it will work:
In a given GW, Managers will accumulate the team points they made in Global All-Star Division 4 and Global Academy as long as they did not win a card and did not participate in any higher Division. These points carry over from GW to GW over a period of 3 months. The points will be represented on a Progress Bar on the Play Page.
There are 4 reward thresholds on the Progress Bar, each requiring a different number of points, and each threshold offering a better prize than the last. When a Manager’s Progress Bar reaches a certain threshold, the Manager can choose to claim the reward OR ignore the reward and continue earning points until they reach the next, better threshold.
When a Manager chooses to claim a reward, they are offered a choice. This is an example of what it might look like:
Option 1) A random (hidden) Rare card of a particular Tier (Between T3 and Star)
Option 2) An amount of money in ETH fixed to a Fiat value (between ~$50 and ~$2000)
Option 3) An amount of XP given to 5 players of their choice in their collection (between 2 Level-Ups per player and 8 Level-ups per player)
Please note: Exact values might change as we fine-tune the feature.
After you make your choice, the Progress Bar returns to zero points. If you did not reach a threshold after the 3-month deadline, the points will be lost. Will you push your luck and go for bigger prizes, or settle for the first thing you can get?
The choice between Card / ETH / XP allows for several different strategies:
– Will you accumulate ETH to have more choice in the market?
– Do you try your luck with a card reward, hoping they’ll either improve your team or you can sell them for more than the ETH you would have made in that Threshold?
– Do you improve the team you already have with XP, giving you a better chance at competing and increasing the speed in which you reach the Threshold in the future?
We believe giving Managers more choice will create a significantly more interesting gaming experience while retaining the elements that brought them into the game in the first place.
5) How do you plan to survive long term… Obviously the only income at the minute is card sales and as we know with other companies that cannot last forever… We’ve also seen that commission on buys/sales doesn’t work alone either so do you have any other plans to get regular income in the future?
First of all we’d like to thank you all for caring about the long term potential of Sorare. We are unsure about the companies mentioned in the question but we are and will always be very transparent about our model:
We sell cards to enable managers to compete in a fantasy football game. As of today, there are c. 250k cards in circulation and you are c. 15k Managers playing the game (excluding free Managers) which is only c. 16 cards per Manager.
We do see a very important potential to sustain this model whilst growing massively the number of Managers in the coming months and years. We are very lucky that Sorare is a platform built for football fans. Football is the most popular sport in the world and we’ve only scratched the surface of our potential and reach. Companies synonymous with football and less popular sports have had huge success by selling cards alone and the card collecting industry is still growing. Our card collectibles have utility, and are NFTs, which gives them added potential (backed in scarcity, true ownership, portability, traceability and more). Because of football’s global appeal, every year brings a new generation of football fans. Every season brings a new wave of footballers who make a name for themselves, so we have new supply and new demand every year. Beyond the market, our model doesn’t need other revenue streams but we’re very ambitious. We want to build a global brand that is not just synonymous with football. We want to build the online destination for football fans. Whenever a fan sits down to watch their favourite team, they will do so with Sorare, for their stats, for the latest news, for the live experience that our platform brings. This vision will bring more opportunities for revenue.
The company has been profitable from day one despite paying huge gas fees recently and our profitability will increase in the coming months with the implementation of our blockchain scaling solution, benefiting the whole community.
Last but not least, Sorare is strongly backed by the best US investors. We are all together in this journey to create a brand that will last for decades to come.
6) I’d like to play sorare also on my mobile phone, will this ever happen?
So do we! It’s definitely something we want to happen, though we want to first ensure that your web experience is smooth and seamless before developing our mobile app. We see the mobile app as an essential part of the live experience we want to bring to our community. We’re currently thinking of how the mobile app can complement your web experience and have taken some of your great suggestions on board. If you have any more ideas for the mobile app we’d love to hear from you!
7) What will the new reward structure look like?
Our target is to have the new reward structure in place for May 27th. There are a 3 main reasons why this process is taking a longer time than expected:
We are moving from a fixed, unchanging set of rewards to a model that grows automatically with every new club and changes every Gameweek based on the number of teams playing. With this smarter tool, we won’t need to change the underlying model again in a few months after we sign multiple clubs and leagues.
We are taking the opportunity to optimize our reward distribution process to ensure a faster delivery of rewards after fixture closing time.
We are developing the feature in a way that ensures transparency. With additional tools we’re designing, Managers will be able to verify the total number of rewards delivered every Gameweek on their own.
As we mentioned in our blog post, the number of rewards will be based on the number of teams playing in a given Gameweek. The bigger the Gameweek, the more positions will be rewarded. The number of rewards given out will automatically increase with every new licensed club.
In terms of the actual breakdown of each Division, we’re still working on the details, but you shouldn’t expect many significant changes on that front. We will share the allocation closer to when the new rewards are released.
We are also aiming to have Super Rares included as rewards in Special Weeklies that are open to everyone (e.g Av score 40) to give Managers a better chance at progress into Division 2.
8) How are you planning on dealing with the devaluation of current cards that get less valuable every season with the addition of 100 equivalent cards and without any kind of bonus for collectable level cards such as Rookie cards, pre-transfer cards, etc.
With the new Collector Awards we started dipping our toes into collectible-driven features, but we have big plans for this side of the game after we’re satisfied with SO5. We are planning to introduce a full collection game with its own leaderboard system that will recognize collections from each club and each season. This will be a new way to play Sorare, and a new utility for a lot of cards in the game.
With more utility from our own games and those of the community, along with the increase in Managers to compete with, we are confident about the ability for these cards to retain value.
If we compare to some video games where the value of a game item you buy is limited to the current sport season, we also see the intrinsic possibility of being able to play during multiple seasons with a card as a massive improvement for football fans, giving you back freedom and real ownership on the collectibles you love.
9) Given the rise in the ETH price, that will arguably continue, what are you planning on doing to protect Sorare managers from losing ETH on their investment (while still making a return in terms of FIAT) when reselling their cards?
We love Ethereum but don’t know how ETH prices will evolve over time. We chose to have our NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain because we believe it’s the best technology to provide security, scarcity and true ownership to your cards.
Whilst we love ETH, user interviews we’ve conducted with new managers have shown that ETH pricing is creating frustration and confusion to enter the game. They want to enjoy a great football game without needing to understand ETH, without needing to develop a strategy around ETH fluctuations. Today most new managers price their cards in FIAT. They want to have fun leveraging their football knowledge, not invest in a given crypto-currency.
We want to build a game for millions of users, which means that we’ll eventually need to explore different ways to deal with our in-game currency.
10) Will the second leagues of the major European championships be added to the scoring this year: Bundesliga 2, Ligue 2, La Liga 2 and Serie B?
Following our most recent expansion deal with Opta, we have no immediate plans to cover these leagues. But our ultimate goal is to expand our coverage to give Sorare cards as much utility as possible. We are working closely with Opta to ensure that we are on a path to achieve this.
11) Sorare raised $50m from investors – what is the expected run rate for this money and what are the projected user numbers over 1/2/3/5 years? Is it possible to even see some of the pitch deck that investors saw, that may expand on Sorare’s plans and projections, so we can see as a community whether Sorare are delivering to plan or if they are ahead of schedule?
Sorare has been profitable from day one and we have more than enough to achieve our goals in the coming months and years. We open sourced the pitch deck of our first round or financing last summer, that you can find on our Medium blog. We plan in the coming months and years to onboard the Top 20 Leagues in the world alongside millions of football fans. In fact, several of them are already signed and we are getting ready to announce them soon – we are very excited about it.
12) Good day, please advise your plans in a frames of marketing and attracting new players!
We are building a product that Managers want to recommend to and play with their friends. This will be our main driver for growth. Beyond that we have a number of marketing plans in place. On a product side we will grow the social element of the game and improve social sharing buttons so that Managers can share their teams, cards and achievements with the world. Our Player Edition cards have picked up organically. Getting footballers on board who are passionate about the project really validates what we want to achieve and of course helps with our growth.
We are also speaking with YouTubers, football partners, and agencies to help bring Sorare to more football fans around the world.
Last but not least, we are going to start activating major campaigns with the football clubs and leagues joining the platform.
13) – Despite previously saying in the AMA that you wouldn’t remove the ETH thresholds in the foreseeable future, you have announced that you are.
“New clubs every week” this appears on the home page but it’s clear that we’re not getting new clubs every week.
Behaviours like these affect user’s trust and brand credibility. Can you keep your own promises?
I apologise that our recent Rewards announcement caused confusion. We should have clarified what we meant by replacing ETH Thresholds and done a much better job here. The ETH Thresholds will not be removed, but replaced. We don’t have everything set in stone yet but hopefully the above answers will shed more light on what we have planned and will make our community and newer users excited about what’s coming. We also said we would review if ETH rocketed in value which it has.
The growth and demand we experienced at the end of February, early March was very difficult to predict. I want to highlight that we are not making any changes that will impact the ability for Managers to collect ETH rewards and work their way up the rankings.
We regularly reward 40% of Global All-Star participants in ETH, and the numbers are racing quickly. ETH hasn’t rocketed to $10,000, but the number of Managers has grown significantly, and will continue to grow. We are making decisions now for the long-term so that we can continue to build towards our vision, side by side with the community.
Our aim is to launch a new club every week but because of club timings we can’t always deliver on this. So far this season we’ve launched 16 clubs in 18 weeks (not counting leagues) and have another club coming tomorrow. But your feedback is correct and we will change the copy in ‘New clubs every Week’. It is not our intention to mislead newcomers and we thank you for the feedback.
And of course we plan to keep our own promises. We are very open to feedback and encourage our community to challenge us to help us build a better product, improve communication and to build trust between us. Many of the product improvements we make are to further protect our community. Our Game Rules and Terms and Conditions are there to protect you as well as Sorare.
14. Are there any plans to introduce any further, ‘Free to Play’ competitions like One Shot next season, or do Ubisoft have any plans to expand One Shot to include other leagues?
We are currently rethinking the Rookie League and our whole onboarding process to introduce a more enjoyable ‘Free To Play’ experience. But it’s very early days and we have nothing to share yet.
We’re delighted to see how much fun our community is having playing One Shot League and the other innovative creations made by our community. Card utility is a very important part of Sorare, and we want to harness the potential of NFTs so that your cards can bring joy and excitement on multiple platforms. We are honoured that Ubisoft have created One Shot League and we encourage and support the games that our community is growing. We can’t wait to see what’s next for these games and what other creations our community has planned!
15. How do you manage to get new club ? Do you negotiate with the league ? The club ? They get part of the revenue ?
When we first started off, NFTs and our concept was a completely new space unfamiliar to the football industry. It took a lot of networking and pitching the Sorare vision to convince clubs and leagues to believe in us. Now, we’re in a fortunate position where we have a proven track record, and clubs and leagues have started coming to us. We can’t give the exact details of our contracts but we have built a profitable model that is interesting to clubs competing at all levels. When negotiating we are also thinking about the long-term, we want to build long partnerships with these clubs and leagues so that we can build and grow together.
I’d like to add that our community of passionate football fans brings added value to clubs and leagues outside the Top 5 that are thinking of joining Sorare too. Through Sorare, we can bring a new wave of football fans to these clubs and their players. The recent examples of Hans Vanaken and Maarten Vandevoordt joining our Sorare because of their popularity in Sorare is one of the things I’m most excited about. Both players have experienced a new form of connection to football fans, all thanks to Sorare!
It’s also an excellent time to announce that we have a new club joining tomorrow. It’s Joga Bonito time!