Jon Wolheim

In the gaming industry, few individuals can match the spirit and enthusiasm of Jon Wolheim. With a career spanning 17 years in the gaming sector, Jon has not only witnessed but also contributed to the phenomenal evolution of the gaming world. In an exclusive interview with Freename.io, Jon shared his insights, experiences, and predictions for the future of gaming and technology.

From his early days as a passionate player of games at the tender age of four, Jon’s love for gaming has been a constant. His journey has seen him work with tech giants like Apple and Amazon. He contributed to the hiring of instrumental teams including the one behind the Apple Watch. Yet, it’s his current role as the Head of People and Culture at Games for Love, a non-profit organization, that he is most proud of.

“At Games for Love, we play video games at children’s hospitals to replace pain with play… because we know that when you feel better, you heal better,” Jon explains. “We love what we do. It’s incredible to see kids really have their lives changed, staying connected to their families, and finding meaning and purpose in the midst of some really dark times.”

Before joining Games for Love, Jon’s career trajectory also saw him pivot towards the AI startup space. There, he joined SoundHound.ai as a Senior director. “Living every Silicon Valley dweller’s dream of taking a company public,” as he puts it, this shift allowed him to gain experience in the field of Natural Language Processing and voice-to-text technologies. It was during this period, after stepping aside to spend time with his newborn, that Jon started to explore the world of Web3. “After googling ‘WTF is Web3’, I found Freename, and then this conversation came about,” he chuckles.

Jon’s Top Predictions for the Gaming Industry

When asked about his predictions for the gaming industry in 2024 and the next five years, Jon’s enthusiasm is palpable. He sees three major trends shaping the industry’s growth. First, the inevitable role of AI in gaming development. “As you’re seeing an acceleration and movement towards general artificial intelligence… it’s certainly going to evolve how games are developed,” he remarks.

“Moore’s law is pretty much obsolete now because this technology is able to develop technology,” Jon asserts. He explains that the anticipated doubling of processing power and halving of costs every couple of years is being overshadowed by even more rapid progress. “You don’t get a doubling of power and a reduction of speed by two, and price by two every year. You’re probably going to see a 4, 8, and so on and so forth.” he says, although he acknowledges the precise implications of this trend are still unfolding.

It could have a broader societal impact, he believes. “It means job displacement, or a better way to put it, available time for all of us,” hinting at a future where automation may free up more time for leisure activities such as gaming.

Jon Wolheim

He mentions that there is a massive increase in the number of new gamers entering the digital playground. “In a world where every single day approximately 835,000 people start playing games for the first time on planet earth… for the majority of these people, their primary access point will be a phone.” This massive influx of new gamers, most of whom are mobile-first, brings us to the second key trend highlighted by Jon: user-generated content (UGC).

Citing examples like Unreal Engine for Fortnite and ROBLOX, he notes, “These platforms are creating millionaires.” Jon Wolheim thinks this is the beginning of an exciting new economy. There, the lines between playing for fun and creating for profit overlap. The younger generation is leading the way, actively engaging in the gaming industry. They do this not just as consumers but as innovators and entrepreneurs. Which brings him to the third and final major trend in gaming: Web3.

Domains and Gaming

“It is only through blockchain tech that we can create non-fungible successes and derive value from our gaming experiences,” Jon asserts. He pictures a future where all those hours clocked up in games like World of Warcraft could translate into tangible value, possibly in the form of cryptocurrency or item rentals.

Jon himself has made his own venture into the Web3 domain, having registered ‘jon.gaming’ with Freename.io. “I invested in my name before I started working with Freename. I believe one day it will be worth more than my house because of this incredible decentralization,” he states. For Jon, Web3 represents a fundamental change in how identities and economies are constructed and interacted with in the digital space.

He notes that by centralizing our online personas, we make it easier for others to find us, interact with us, and engage with our digital content and assets. For a prolific gamer with a collection of rare in-game items, he says this could potentially mean the ability to monetize these assets through rental to other players. With a growing number of high schoolers setting their sights on careers as creators — gamers, streamers, YouTubers — he believes their first step should be registering a Web3 domain and taking control of their digital identity. If they manage to grow their profile, this can be a route for them to monetize their content and hopefully make a successful living.

Advice for Entrepreneurs in the Gaming Industry

Going back to his role at Games for Love, Jon Wolheim mentions that the organization is on a continuous search for volunteers. “We want our volunteers to gain real-world gaming industry experience,” Jon says, and he’s particularly passionate about this since he’s aware that all the recent layoffs in the gaming industry have made it difficult for newcomers to gain experience.

It’s clear that the gaming industry can be a tough place to navigate these days, with so much economic uncertainty. Jon mentions that he and his friends have been organizing live events on LinkedIn, and through these gatherings, there’s a chance to learn and stay updated, especially for those who might have lost their footing in the industry. “We’re all here to help each other and come together as a community in an industry that’s taken some hits,” he says.

Impacts of AI

We asked Jon how he thought AI was impacting entrepreneurialism within the gaming industry. Jon wanted to offer advice for those would-be entrepreneurs and innovators entering the industry. “Take an hour a day to play with AI. You could just be fooling around on GPT4, or you could be super advanced and learning how to code in Sequel.” He acknowledges how difficult it is for anyone to keep on top of AI. “Nobody can keep track of how fast things are changing. Not your favorite website, not your favorite blogger, not even major corporations who are developing things so quickly that the corporation next to them already made it 30 seconds before they did.” But for anyone to make their mark in the gaming industry, Jon advises that they stay ahead of the curve. “Just don’t make AI your world where you’re posting things on Linkedin clearly generated by AI,” he added.

Keeping a keen eye on where investments are flowing can also offer valuable insights for anyone in the field, Jon observes. He points out the importance of being aware of what’s new and where money is being channeled. This goes especially for emerging technologies like Web3.

Huge Investment in Web3 Game Development

Jon notes that his own interest in Web3 was piqued by seeing where influential investors like Andreessen Horowitz were putting their funds. Their significant investments in gaming studios working on Web3 projects captured his attention. In the US alone, he says there’s an impressive amount—somewhere between 300 to 400 million dollars—backing Web3 gaming ventures.

Looking globally, he says the picture is even more compelling. Particularly in the developing world and regions like Southeast Asia, investment in Web3 game development has surged. “There is at least one and a half billion dollars that have gone towards Web3 game development in the last year alone.” Jon interprets this as a strong vote of confidence in the future of the industry. “That’s a huge amount of capital and trust in an industry that who knows what this thing could be.” About the possibilities of this new gaming frontier, he says “it’s like watching rain on very fertile soil. Who knows what’s going to grow?” He believes that anyone looking for a career in gaming should position themselves to be part of that economy in a way that’s meaningful.

Answering Viewers’ Questions and Addressing Hot Topics

During our live-streamed interview, we decided to address some of the questions in the chat. One user asked Jon about the possible security issues in Web3 gaming. Jon admitted that while he wouldn’t like for anyone to get their hands on the keys to his virtual wallet, non-fungibility is making it more complicated for people to steal assets – both physical and virtual – with high-end handbag brands and game developers both investing in the technology.

Another user wonders what’s a game that changed him the most. “That’s like asking who is your favorite child!” he laughs. Pokemon Red holds a special place in his heart, having been a companion during a hospital stay in his childhood. He also mentioned Secret of Mana and World of Warcraft, the latter of which he says he loves for its sense of community – “You win together and fail together.”

A commenter asks him about his views on women entering the gaming industry and the struggles they face. Jon acknowledges the traditional male dominance but also recognizes the strides being made, noting, “There’s a big change happening,” thanks in part to organizations like Women in Games. And while the recent industry layoffs have been widespread, affecting many, Jon sees a silver lining for underrepresented groups, who he says are usually the last ones in and therefore, the first ones out. “They’re like dandelions,” he says, “ready to spread and grow elsewhere and we’re going to enter a golden era of more representation.”

.gaming Communities

He’s asked how one would go about building communities using the .gaming domain. Jon says that he believes that having a .gaming domain is invaluable. It creates a central identity that can be more impactful than a Twitch or Discord account. He thinks that these new Web3 communities will allow for lending items and monetizing in ways we haven’t seen before.

One commenter asks him what advice he would have for developers transitioning from traditional gaming to Web3. He advises a balance of skills. “There are many who can make great games, but not a lot who understand blockchain as it pertains to games,” Jon says, “so the people who will do well are people who balance their knowledge between the two.”

Finally, he’s asked the all-important question: If you could choose to be any game character, what would you be? Jon muses that sometimes the simplicity of being an NPC, like a fishing trainer in a quiet village, appeals to him. Yet, his go-to protagonist is Cloud Strife from ‘Final Fantasy 7’!

As the conversation wraps up, Jon Wolheim expresses his passion for connecting with people who share his love for gaming, regardless of the platform. He excitedly reveals that he’s just launched his own Twitch channel and extends an open invitation for everyone to come and hang out with him live. So don’t miss the chance to join in the conversation!

To watch our full interview with Jon, head over to our YouTube page:

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How does it work?

Accordingly to the day when you will finalise your purchase, you have the right to receive from 1 to 3 NFT Domains for FREE!

Once you have completed your order, within 48h you will automatically receive on www.freename.io platform, in your personal area “portfolio” the randomly assigned NFT Domain/s.

You can chose on which blockchain you want to mint on and minting fee is covered by Freename!

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Once you have added your favorite items to the cart, you proceed to “checkout” and add your coupon to the “coupon box”.

Said coupon will instantly do its magic and your due total will drop!

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How does it work?

Once you have completed your order, you will automatically receive on www.freename.io platform, in your personal area “portfolio” the randomly assigned NFT Domain value $50 or if you’re lucky a randomly assigned TLD with value $699 (between these: .immersive; .multiverse; .freelancer; .cashback; .hologram)

you can chose on which blockchain you want to mint your NFT Domain/TLD on and minting fee is covered by Freename!

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Why do i Need a Wallet?

Freename domains are blockchain-based assets and would be minted and stored using a wallet. Users are required to mint and manage their domains using a Metamask or Coinbase-configured wallet. It must be a non-custodial wallet, meaning that one must own the private keys to the wallet in order to approve transactions via a signature.

To benefit from Freename Web 3 domains/TLDs, you must have a wallet. This is because Web 3 domains/TLDs are blockchain-based assets. Users can mint and manage their domains using Metamask or Coinbase-configured wallets.

Keep in mind that it must be a non-custodial wallet. You own the private keys to the wallet (in order to approve transactions via a signature).

Are the Domains Associated with ICANN?

ICANN does not manage freename.io domains. Freename.io believes their TLDs/domains must allow customers to operate independently. Freename.io wants to build a utility infrastructure, allowing customers to use their services for valuable and generative purposes. By leveraging blockchain technology, Freename Web 3 domains/TLDs have no centralized authority imposing rules and regulations.

What is a Wallet?

Every blockchain user requires a wallet in order to interact with the network. A wallet is essentially an account on the blockchain where transactions can be sent and received. It is also where one can store blockchain assets such as cryptocurrency or NFTs (non-fungible tokens). There is no personal information associated with a wallet and none is required to create one. A wallet consists of a public key and a private key. The public key can be safely shared with anyone who wishes to send assets to the corresponding wallet, however, the private key should not be shared and is the key to accessing the wallet in the event where access is lost or to create another instance.

A crypto wallet (cryptocurrency wallet) is software or hardware that enables users to store and use cryptocurrency. With cryptocurrencies, there isn’t any actual money to carry around in a wallet. They exist on the blockchain. Similarly to traditional bank transfers, crypto wallets enable users to send and receive cryptocurrencies, NFTs, etc.

A wallet consists of a public key and a private key. To receive assets, you share your public key associated with your wallet. You should NEVER share your private key.

How do i Claim my Earnings from Freename

ou can withdraw revenues generated passively through a cryptocurrency transfer. Connect your cryptocurrency wallet and, once your withdrawal request is confirmed, the desired amount is pulled from Freename’s reserves and conveniently delivered to you!

Claim your earnings by following these steps:

  1. Connect your cryptocurrency wallet to Freename.io
  2. Request a withdrawal
  3. Receive request confirmation
  4. Receive withdrawal directly to your wallet.

Can i Transfer Domains?

Yes. The domain is stored in your cryptocurrency wallet and can be transferred by you after you have minted it. Access your portfolio, select the TLD or Domain you wish to transfer and type the recipient’s address. Afterwards, you must paste the OTP code you received by mail to confirm the transaction. Keep in mind that currently, it is not possible to import the domain that has been transferred, but it will be possible soon!

Yes. Domains are transferable ONLY after a TLD/domain has been minted and stored in a user’s wallet.

To transfer the TLD (or domain), the user must:

  • Access their wallet
  • Select the item they want to transfer
  • Enter the recipient’s address.
  • Confirm the transaction by pasting the OTP received by email

In the future, Freename.io will support importing domains that have been transferred.

What about Trademarks?

Registering a trademark on your Freename Web3 TLD will allow you to protect your web3 TLD and your logo worldwide juridically.

From the moment you deposit a trademark request, your web3 TLD will be protected worldwide for 6 months awaiting for the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IGE.ch) to confirm and register the availability of your TLD.****

A trademark is any symbol, phrase, or word that allows customers to identify a company’s goods or services. Freename is a web3 domain/TLD provider that also provides trademark registration.

A user must reach out to the trademark department to register a trademark. To get your trademark filed for review at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, a user must provide the following:

  1. Complete a Know your customer (KYC)
  2. A list of TLDs they wish to trademark
  3. Proof of payment

Once these conditions are met, it takes one week for the trademark to be reviewed and logo/TLDs to be provided with six months of worldwide protection.

Is Minting the same as Buying?

Purchasing a TLD (or domain) on Freename and minting it on the blockchain are two distinct steps. When you purchase a TLD (or domain), the transaction is recorded in Freename’s database and not on the blockchain. Minting a TLD (or domain) on the blockchain requires a second step: log into the user’s personal area, select the TLD (or domain) and press “mint TLD” (or domain): done! Don’t worry, once you have purchased a Freename domain, no one can take it away from you!

No. Buying and Minting a TLD/domain are two different things.**

Buying **is the process of recording a transaction on Freename’s database and not on the blockchain.

Minting is the process of pushing a user’s domain from Freename.io data onto the public ledger of a blockchain and into a user’s wallet. Giving the user full control over the TLD/domain.

It is very easy to mint a domain/TLD once you purchase it. Simply:

  • Log into your personal area
  • Select the TLD (or domain)
  • Press “mint TLD” (or domain)

What is Domain Minting?

Minting is the process of publishing a Freename domain (or TLD) on the blockchain via your wallet to gain full custody of the domain. This means that the only person that has control over the domain (or TLD) is the person who controls (has access to) the wallet.

Minting is the process of pushing a user’s domain from Freename.io data onto the public ledger of a blockchain and into a user’s wallet. Giving the user full ownership over the domain.

Minting on Freename.io is as simple as the following steps:

  1. Go to the Freename.io website
  2. Enter the TLD/domain you want to buy in the search bar
  3. Add the TLD/domain to your cart
  4. Go to checkout
  5. Create a Freename.io account
  6. Purchase the TLD/domain with cryptocurrency or a credit card
  7. Go to “portfolio and incomes.”
  8. Click on mint TLD/domain

Which domains are Protected?

Protected domains and TLDs are domains and TLDs that we’ve detected are associated with a brand, organization, or notable person. We believe it is important to increase adoption for the next generation of the internet by helping to onboard brands into the Web3 era. If you are interested in applying for a Protected domain, please contact us.

TLDs/Domains associated with a notable person, brand or organization are considered Protected Domains. Protected domains help onboard brands in Web 3 increasing adoption. Protected domains also protect users from others impersonating/stealing their domains.

Reach out to Freename.io to apply for a protected domain.

Why use Freename?

Freename domains are unique by their very nature: only with Freename you can register domains with unique TLDs for your digital identity while passively earning money!

Freename.io is not only the leading TLD and Domains platform in Web 3, but also lets users generate passive income!

Owning a Freename Web 3 TLD entitles users to receive passive income whenever a domain is bought on their TLD. Users can register and mint TLD/domains of their choice if available.

What is a Domain?

A domain name is a string of letters and/or numbers that points to the IP address of the corresponding website. Generally, it is easier to remember a name than a long string of numbers.

A domain name is an address that people type into a browser bar to find a website. It consists of a Top-Level Domain (TLD), everything that comes after the dot, and the Second-Level Domain (SLD), everything that comes before the dot.

For example, “Freename.io” is the domain name, “Freename” is the SLD and “io” is the TLD.

Which Chains are Supported?

Freename has a multi-chain approach. You can choose on which Blockchain to mint your Web3 Domains and TLDs ranging Among Polygon, Cronos, and Binance.

A user can mint a Freename.io domain/TLD on the following blockchains:

  • Polygon
  • Cronos
  • Binance

Freename plans to expand its multi-chain approach by adding blockchains upon which domains can be minted.

Are there Renewal Fees?

No! Once you’ve bought a Freename Domain or TLD, it’s yours forever, no renewal fees ever!

No. There are no renewal fees on Freename.io. Once a user has paid a one-time payment for a domain/TLD, they own it. Forever.

This is the significant advantage of Web 3 domain/TLD over traditional alternatives.

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