YouTube gaming leader Ryan Wyatt announced today that he will be leaving YouTube and Google for blockchain company Polygon Studios.
February will be Wyatt’s last month on YouTube. The activity he is involved in is collaborating with companies like Atari and DraftKings on NFT projects.
“I will be very proud of YouTube but it’s time for another push in life and where my passion bothers me,” Wyatt wrote in a farewell statement posted to Twitter. “I’m interested in developing blockchain applications and looking forward to moving into the Web3 space.”
Wyatt has been on YouTube for more than seven years, overseeing its efforts to broadcast games and high-profile poaching from Twitch streamers like Valkyrie, DrLupo, and TimTheTatman. In a Washington Post article published last year (which I saw today after the author tweeted it), Wyatt, himself an esports commentator, emphasized the importance of work-life balance for contracted streamers.
“I think flux mills are a real thing,” Wyatt said at the time. “I think burnout is real. I don’t want to bring people here to stream 150-200 hours a month. I don’t think that’s healthy. That’s not what we’re trying to create on Youtube.”
The company Wyatt has a stake in is called Polygon, but it’s not affiliated with the gaming site of the same name – a confusing choice, especially since their purple logo is somewhat similar. Calling itself the “Ethereum Internet of Blockchains,” Polygon is creating an open-source protocol and framework designed to help developers build, secure, and scale blockchain-enabled Ethereum. The significance for laypeople, according to Polygon, is that the Ethereum blockchain is a common but problematic way to create cryptocurrencies and NFTs, and Polygon makes it easy for blockchain developers to securely connect to it.
Wyatt will lead part of a company called Polygon Studios, which he says is associated with “gaming, entertainment, fashion, news, sports and more.” Polygon Studios’ website is a shareholder, but the Studios section of the company’s blog shows what it’s focused on: primarily game concepts and NFT projects that are “gambled on for profit.” For example, Polygon has teamed up with Atari on an NFT project, and last October partnered with fantasy sports competition and betting app DraftKings “to accelerate the adoption of NFT and Web3.”
We recently took a look at next year’s NFT game projects and while there is a lot of talk about decentralization, “metaverse”, cryptocurrency and NFT, no major game publisher has announced for most blockchain game publishers at the moment. What’s in the current room looks exactly like a failed catalog of Kickstarter projects from 2013, but here’s yet another great character getting into the business — that’s anyone’s guess to figure it out.
In related news today, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the site “wants to expand the YouTube ecosystem to help developers take advantage of new technologies, including things like NFTs.”