Today we have the CEO and Co-Founder of Petaverse Network, Ms. Susan Cummings, to tell us more about Petaverse Network and what inspires her to work on such a type of project. However, before diving into the question and answer session, let’s first understand what Petaverse Network is?…
- What inspired you to create Petaverse, and how did you go about building a team to execute your vision?
My husband, Lee Cummings (Creative Director / Co-founder of Petaverse Network), and I, have been spearheading various AAA video game projects for over 2 decades (previously Rockstar Games, Susan co-founded 2K games).
Over 2 years ago, we started talking about defining the way we think about digital pets. We want pets that you adopt now to be just as much a part of your life 30 years in the future. For our digital pets to remain relevant and usable, they need to be able to evolve in real time at the pace of technology.
So, at Petaverse we’re laying the groundwork to make that possible. Taking learnings from our decades of experience in gaming and augmented reality; we are designing an open standard for web3 digital companions who can be with you wherever you want to take them — whichever blockchain, and with an art style of unlimited dimensions flexible to the needs of the experience. Your pet, by your side.
We started out as a team of 2 and now we’re a team of almost 30, thanks to the support of our roster of strong investors such as Fabric Ventures, 1UP Ventures, Animoca, Dapper Labs, Liberty City, Sfermion, CMT Digital, Fenbushi, and others. Their support has allowed us to assemble an amazing team that includes some of the best people we’ve worked with prior to the project – most of the engineers we worked with on Wallace & Gromit joined our team, as well as others from that project including our COO, our head of marketing, some of our art team. We have been very fortunate as well to find some great new talent on our team who come from a diverse backgrounds across games, XR, and traditional software development.
- Petaverse’s mission statement is to create a more compassionate world through pet-centric technology. How do you envision your company achieving this goal?
By their nature, pets are compassionate beings. We see digital pets as something you will want to keep, to hand down to your grandchildren like an heirloom. A companion that will stay with you, across blockchains and generations. How meaningful would it be to have a pet that retains its memories of its time with each owner, and whose “thoughts” and ”personality” (how it approaches problem-solving) form one continuous, unbroken chain?
It tends to be forgotten, but there are many people who want to own pets but can’t. Some people are allergic, some people’s living situations don’t allow pets, some people are too young, some people are too old, pets are expensive to own, expensive to keep, and will one day die – digital pets can help fix all of those issues. Many studies have shown a correlation between better mental health and pet ownership, we believe that some of that benefit is also present with digital pets. This is especially true when users wear augmented reality glasses and their digital pets are as much part of their world as “normal” pets, and this is why we’ve been working closely with Qualcomm on their next generation of AR glasses.
- Can you share any details about the first experiences that people will be able to have with their digital pets through Petaverse Network?
We’re proud to have already delivered immediate utility, in the form of the meme-o-tron, on 3 platforms. [links] An augmented reality-enhanced app where you can name, stroke, play, and bond with your pet. Capture delightful moments and create shareable meme social media content. Even see what they looked like as a kitten! More here: https://petaverse.com/vouchers
What’s more, you don’t need to own a cat to experience it. There is a free version open to all to play with and share memes.
There are many more experiences to come in the immediate future, including a ChatGPT integration for daily, unique, custom text-based adventures with your pet, Petaverse VR, Petaverse Live (OBS integration for Twitch and other social platforms where your pet can accompany you on your stream and have the audience interact with them), breeding, and a tamogatchi-like experience as well, so users can start having daily care experiences with their pets.
- What are some of the biggest challenges that Petaverse Network faces in building an open standard for digital pets, and how do you plan to overcome these challenges?
The biggest challenge for everyone in web3 is onboarding to the mass market – making that as simple as possible and building trust and awareness there. We feel that digital pets have the potential to be the key to that transition – something the average person can understand the purpose of and ‘why blockchain’. The notion of a digital heirloom that can evolve with you, that can be inherited by your grandchildren, that is resilient to changes in technology (blockchains, art fidelity, etc) allows your digital pet to be yours in a way digital pets have never been before. Our Nintendogs weren’t really ours – they were behind a walled garden. As soon as the DS became obsolete, so did that game, and the art style is stuck at the pace it was nearly two decades ago when it was released. That never needs to happen again. Owning your stuff, and taking it with you wherever you want to go – that’s the true purpose of web3 for consumers.
- Petaverse has a strong community of users and advocates. How does the company engage with this community and incorporate their feedback into product development?
We believe strongly in rewarding our loyal community of cat owners and making sure they have a say on what’s next for Petaverse. That’s why we have weekly discord fireside chats and Twitter spaces with our community of cat owners, where we discuss what’s next in the roadmap. For instance, we listened to our community about Chat GPT integration (or, cat GPT as we like to call it) and have prioritized delivery of that. We are also listening to their feedback about wanting incentives for users to engage with experiences and also with allowing more user-friendly login to the meme-o-tron via email as soon as possible.
- Looking ahead, what are some of the exciting developments or plans on the horizon for Petaverse, and how do you see the company growing and evolving in the future?
There is so much to look forward to. We are only at the beginning of our journey. We have a solid roadmap full of projects (link: https://storage.googleapis.com/petaverse-website-assets/roadmap.pdf) that have either been finalized or are in development. We are not about false promises – we’re about immediate utility. The way web3 should be. Our Genesis mint is open at petaverse.com.
Website – http://petaverse.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/cummingssi
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/susanicummings/