How Avalon Meta plans to combine esports with education

by March 11, 2020 0 comments

Gaming and studying are two words that might seem like oxymorons to some. But if you are an avid gamer, you must have actually learned a thing or two from various video games, like history from Assassin’s Creed or how painstaking and tough it is to plan a whole city from Cities: Skylines. What if games were used for higher education? Can there possibly be a way to make higher education more fun and less soul-sucking and something that can actually be used practically in the real world? (I am still waiting for someone to ask me what is mitochondria). The young entrepreneurs at Avalon Meta seem to think that there, in fact, is a way. 

Avalon Meta is a startup by the founders of Avalon Labs; Shashank Uduppa, Varun Mayya and Abhinav Arora. The three of them are serial entrepreneurs and have achieved considerable success. Varun Mayya, the CEO of Avalon Labs, had raised over $250,000 for his venture JobSpire while he was in his 8th Sem at Manipal.  It was later acquired by JustCode. He also wrote Pyjama Profit which was published by Bloomsbury and reached the spot of #1 best seller on Amazon India. He brought in his junior from the college, Abhinav Arora and his cousin and investment banker, Shashank Uduppa to start Avalon Labs. With Avalon Labs, they started selling services to companies in US and investing in start-ups themselves. 

Avalon Labs had achieved great success, but the trio decided to make a startup of their own. “When you are investing into a company, you can’t really be hands-on in it”, says Abhinav Arora, the CMO of Avalon Labs and Avalon Meta. We were too young to be just investing money, so we actually took the plunge ourselves.” 

Avalon Meta’s dive into gaming

“Unlike the plethora of bootcamps out there, our thoughts are that education will eventually become commoditized and educational content will have an effective price of zero in the future. Most courses barely manage a 5% user retention, which is why we decided to turn higher education into a game. Not gamify an existing solution, but make a full fledged, proper game,” said Varun Mayya, CEO of Avalon Meta. 

The trio did some market research and found that there is a demand for education regarding the “Internet Economy”, something which isn’t taught in colleges. They started putting out related content on social media, and saw a great response from audience. “The Internet Economy skill that Shashank, Varun and I had learned through our ventures… we started putting them out there, converted that into a course and we gave it out for free to the crowd”, Abhinav says. “That’s how Avalon Meta was born. It was born out of content and the community we created through our content. And now we are turning it into a game.” 

As of now, Avalon Meta is also working on an app, which is in currently in closed beta. It has been currently released to around 200 people and there are 5000 people in the waiting list for the beta. The platform also aims to consolidate all of the user’s interactions, including courses taken, group discussions, quizzes taken into one resume for potential recruiters. But they are taking it a step further, by building a full fledged competitive game around startups and entrepreneurship.  

The game will simulate how various aspects of entrepreneurship work. A team of three will compete against another team of three people. The winner will be the team which reaches the goal revenue set by the game first. “One of the roles could be Facebook ads manager. You will have to build campaigns, you might be thrown across certain scenarios where you will have to reduce the cost of acquisition. We will have a Finance role and a stock market simulator. It is going to be a complete game with various business simulators. 

“The game that I can use as an analogy is Theme Hospital by EA.” 

The game is already in development. Without going into much detail, Abhinav informed me that the developers they have hired have been working in the gaming industry for quite a while and are using Unreal Engine to make the game. Avalon Meta puts the release of their game, titled Battle Cup, in December this year. 

And just like any other esports, Battle Cup will be monetized by paid cosmetic items. All of these transactions, however, will happen with the help of the Peerplays blockchain. 

This genius idea caught the eyes of industry leads and helped them raise $420,000 from PeerPlays, Purvi Capital and former Head of Design for Unacademy Abhinav Chhikara 

Talking about Avalon Meta, Jonathan Baha’i, President of Peerplays Blockchain Standards Association said, “We have a very similar vision in regards to the future.” 

“We have Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Zers. These are the generations that are bigger than the Boomers. These generations have very different ideals in regards to what they want to see happen. They are not of the same mindset of wanting to work for a company or even trusting institutions as is, the way past generations have traditionally been. 

“This is where Avalon Meta is really visionary and genius in what they are creating. There is a gamification of the way they will do EdTech. The current education system dates back to the Industrial Revolution Era, where information is dumped into us and we are expected to work like robots.  

“We learn best when we play games (not just video games). They teach you things in many ways. They teach you how to… ‘people’.” 

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