Last week, Sorare continued their tradition of holding quarterly Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions, giving Sorare managers a chance to put their questions directly to the CEO Nicolas, and other members of the team.
The full text of the AMA can be found on the Discord channel and also a summary of the first 15 questions and answers on Reddit here.
There’s a lot to digest but it’s well worth taking a look. If you’ve been following Sorare (either as a manager or from afar) you’ll be aware that the last few weeks have been quite tricky on the platform. The combination of a sharp rise in ETH, the conclusion of the European seasons and some uncertainty about future rewards led to a bit of a dip in sentiment and a slowing of the market. We all know the danger of pinning too much on a Q&A session (!) but, in this case, I really did want to see some positive noises from Sorare to help quell the growing concerns.
In my opinion, they absolutely nailed it. They gave comprehensive, open answers and hit the biggest issues head-on. Here are a few things I picked out:
Q1) Limiting the power of the big galleries
This is one of the toughest issues that Sorare have to tackle. Early adopters took bigger risks so deserve to be rewarded but, in a game where success breeds success, there has to be a way to support newer managers with smaller galleries to get a foothold in the game. The question is, how do you do this while keeping the whales happy (which Sorare also needs to do to keep money in the platform and ensure stability from which to grow)?
What they’re proposing is very smart. If progression within the current game is difficult, why not split the game into different parts so that different sized galleries aren’t necessarily competing directly against each other? The Academy is essentially a step in that direction – limiting the scores of the players that can be used so that cheaper cards have more value.
I know there’s an argument that says not all cards should be valuable – and it’s obviously true that some cards will always hold more value than others. But if we believe that the thing that makes Sorare different to other NFT projects is the utility of the cards then I think it is important that this utility is spread as widely as possible.
Preventing managers that are competing at the higher levels from accessing the new threshold rewards is another part of creating this separation but might be even more contentious. It shouldn’t be. If Sorare is going to continue to succeed, we’ve got to allow as many people to ‘win’ as possible so I’m really pleased to see Sorare taking these steps.
Q2) Transfer market improvements
Some good stuff here – counter offers and pre-determined messages. I like this because it’s more evidence that the Sorare team are listening to the ideas of managers and looking for the small, incremental improvements to keep moving the platform on.
Q5) Long term sustainability
I can appreciate why this question came up given what’s happened in the last few months with certain other platforms. It’s obviously a difficult question for them to answer as there is only so much information that they can give. Despite that though, I think it’s clear they’re looking to bolt on additional income streams in the future, as well as making plans to reduce blockchain costs.
Acquisition of new managers will always be important but I think they’ve barely scratched the surface there – and they haven’t even got started with marketing yet. And, as they rightly pointed out, football is a fluid game, with some players and teams rising to the surface and others falling away, meaning there’s always an incentive for existing managers to continue to build their galleries too.
Q10, Q13 and Q15) New clubs/leagues
They may not be quite at ‘one new club every week’ yet but 17 clubs in the last 18 weeks is pretty damn close. I can appreciate that the order that clubs are onboarded in may not always be in their control but hearing that clubs and leagues are now starting to approach them directly is a good sign. The quicker they can add more top tier clubs (the second divisions can wait), the more they can really cement their first-moved advantage, which is important.
I was pleased to note that women’s clubs are in the pipeline too. I know some won’t see this as a positive but then I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t have been immediately excited by J or K League players either. Providing there is a similar sort of separation, I don’t see any reason why the addition of women’s clubs can’t be a huge positive for Sorare, unlocking new marketing angles and helping to broaden the audience.
I spoke to McBrideAce to hear his thoughts on some other specific points from the AMA.
Q3) Making Sorare more accessible
I find it really reassuring that the site are working on a scalable solution. No one likes high gas fees and slow processing etc but these things are also a significant barrier to having a more accessible scarcity.
I find this one really interesting too as there are obvious impacts potentially on my own collection. For example what effect would a cheaper scarcity have on demand for my rare goalies etc?
I really like the comments in the AMA on this. Reference to separate divisions and protection of existing galleries is quite crucial. The last thing Sorare needs are all of the existing users suffering for the benefit of new users but there has to be a happy medium and a pathway to entry and potentially working up the ladder to the top eventually.
Overall although there will be existing users who won’t want a cheaper scarcity I think it is crucial long term to the ecosystem of the site. The Rares and Super Rares won’t stay valuable for long if they are just being exchanged between the same crop of users. Some element of fresh money and userbase is always needed for a business to thrive and move on.
Q4 and Q13) Threshold rewards etc
It was good to see the proposed plans here and Nicolas clarifying later that they were sorry if the ‘removal’ of these caused concern
It looks like the plan was to replace them and Sorare are clearly learning some lessons on how these changes can impact the market. Personally having been through various changes as the site has been growing and scoring iterations it’s fair to say the team don’t always nail it immediately but the thing I would take from the reaction and answers is that they are superb at taking feedback on board and when they don’t get it spot on, they do address it really quickly. For me, you can’t ask for much more than that to be honest.
Q7) New reward structure
It is good to have a date for this and I also like the modelling and consideration given to it.
Whilst it would have been good to see it sooner when you see issues like the bundles having a negative effect on the tiers I am glad personally that we now have a date for the changes and that the site are working on them modelling the effect on the rewards.
Having potentially Super Rares for weeklies etc as mentioned is also a good way to offer people a path up where they maybe can’t afford a Super Rare. I touched on this previously for me on the big weekends people scoring the likes of 340 and 350 in D4 and not winning anything is a problem to be addressed and it looks like this will be addressed.
No one is expecting just to turn up and win every week however it is paramount for me that good scores are rewarded. Also the top leagues like D2 and D1 for me aren’t open enough. Why do you need 4 Super Rares to enter a D2? I would open that up a bit. If you look at the scores there are weeks where D4 and D3 have similar scores to D2 in some divisions, therefore it is easy to see where the closed-shop type thoughts can come from here. If you want to take a shot with 4 Rares and a Super Rare, why not?
Q8) Collector awards etc
This all sounds very positive too. I really like the recent updates and the ability to display squads and your hall of fame. Great steps forward and whilst there may be people who aren’t particularly interested in just collecting it’s a significant aspect of Sorare NFTs.
Going forward if the site can keep value in certain cards after retirement it just opens up massive angles in terms of value. Not everyone will be desirable after retirement obviously.
Q9) ETH and fiat
I find this point really interesting. With crypto going well having ETH as the in-game currency can be a good thing and lots like it
However, there is no doubt in my mind that it is also a barrier to entry. Prices track fiat anyway, therefore a move away from crypto in future as in-game currency seems inevitable. Why not just use Euros or Dollars? Hardly anyone it seems value players in ETH. Therefore it looks fairly inevitable that things will be changed later.
Also the site will never be mainstream as long as folk have to bugger about with the likes of Coinbase to get their money out.
This is the point which I find very exciting. From a marketing point of view you need to I think get the product and scalability spot on then push. But the reassuring thing for those worried about their gallery value is that where we are has been done without any significant marketing spend
From my point of view the likes of Asia and the US are key here. If Sorare can work with the clubs, social media and also in these regions the sky really is the limit. Asian cards have become more affordable and I am always looking for angles.
This is a good one for new users to consider. MLS is very in fashion just now, but are the MLS cards over-valued compared to some of the European ones etc? I have mentioned this as Gary Vee got involved and soon after there was a big run-up to the MLS start, which just shows the power of marketing and influential figures like Gary Vee, Greizmann and other players signing up for player cards and accounts.
Q14) Free-to-play rookie league etc
It’s good to see consideration to the free-to-play games and also the onboarding. The onboarding has been improved but definitely still needs work and it’s good to see Sorare recognise this
SorareData leagues and One Shot etc are great additions to the site. Personally, I enjoy the SorareData leagues as much as SO5
One Shot wise there have been some mistakes for sure. Too many prizes early, confusion about games and players who will count in the playoffs, confusion over prizes and places played. However it’s great to see Ubisoft involved and it’s a superb foundation for a season-long type fantasy game (or the like).
I also like that they are looking to tailor the rewards a bit. If they are able to favour more of the amateur types and give them rewards and/or ETH for progressing whilst not having to compete with the big galleries for me they will have nailed it
I loved the AMA. I think the answers were spot on and every time we have things like this it just reassures me more about the site going forward
I’m now in a position where I am risk-free and still with a large collection. The great thing about Sorare though is transparency. You can’t really hide anything and the team are very transparent too
If I was really worried I would be selling up, right? However, I feel like we are just getting started. Absolutely brilliant to be a part of it.
I agree with McBrideAce that we’re just getting started here. Things were always going to dip a little after the crazy growth we saw in February – progress is rarely a straight line. I really do believe that those of us that are on board now are the early adopters – and we’ll really feel the benefits of that as they start to introduce the new game mechanisms, reward structures and scarcities.
Are you ready for the next stage of Sorare?
If you’re thinking of getting involved in Sorare, make sure you check out my Getting Started Guide before you sign up.