Nithinan Boonyawattanapisut is the CEO and co-founder of HotNow and co-founder of Axion Games, one of the leading AAA independent video-game studio's in China. As a woman whose found tremendous, long-term success in a video-game career--she's the exception to the rule--she's also happy to share the why, how, and what to attribute to her success thus far. 

Nithinan falls into the category of serial entrepreneur, opting for on-the-edge innovation and market-gap problem solving. With gaming innovation, Nithinan is working hard to improve profitability for both brand advertisers and creators, monetizing a market that is long overdue for monetization. Did I mention that she also oversaw record-breaking games such as Gears of War, one of the most successful Xbox games, Infinity Blade, the fastest-selling iOS app in history at launch, and Rising Fire, selected as Tencent's headline shooting game for 2018? All of which makes her business and product savvy, too, a perfect fit for this design and innovation column. 

Let's Talk the Platform First

HotNow is Nithinan's location-based digital marketing platform with more than 700,000 application downloads and over 50,000 partner stores, including notable retailers such as McDonald's, Baskin-Robbins, and Dunkin' Donuts. HotNow is designed to appeal to modern consumers by leveraging gaming tactics to access curated selections of deals and promotions. Simply put: HotNow makes it fun and easy for retailers to digitally advertise in a way users actually want, thus monetizing a realm of the market that has seen low and slow conversions in the past. 

Cost Doesn't Match Profit

The cost of producing games has been on the rise exponentially, along with the rise of gamer expectations around graphics and immersive experience. Computing power, oppositely, is getting cheaper and faster. The growth in production costs puts a crunch on the entire industry, leaving most games unprofitable. The gaming model that's most popular is the freemium model, in which the download is free and the games then rely on in-game purchases for support. But only 5 percent of users are actually making purchases and the other 95 percent create a major loss for the developer. This isn't a viable model, when only 15 percent of all games are profitable and the rest cut their losses

There's Serious Money in Advertising

Digital advertising has grown into a behemoth of a market, offering opportunity after opportunity for brands and creators to profit--except that isn't happening, and Nithinan has made it her goal to fix that. Gaming is easily the largest form of entertainment media on earth, but if you look at the value of digital advertising being created, it represents less than 2 percent of the total digital advertising value. Immersive media should have a higher conversion rate, and it can--with coupons, deals, and promotions that translate into real-life value, not just value trapped in one singular game. 

Currency Driven by Demand

Just like a real-world economy, Nithinan's idea to essentially create "a new country, with its own currency and economy" creates value both internally and externally. Adding real-world value encourages sharing of the tokens, coupons, and deals, and even trading, holding value, and increased participation. And just like the principle of real currency, the value is driven purely by demand and the users' activity on the platform. 

Crypto and New Currency

In this new digital world we live in, currency has a new face, at least part of the time, and while businesses have been slow to adapt, when they do, the foothold conventional currency has will be increasingly diminished. As users realize they aren't tied to these massive institutions or even one currency, we will see major shifts. 

Opening New Doors

Nithinan sees the future in this realm, and rather than just be a part of it, she wants to be at the forefront, unlocking the doors and showing people in. But there's no rush, because Nithinan understands that the timing, channel, and product must be right, much like in product and retail markets. Most recently, HotNow developed Evergleam Hill, the world's first  fully integrated crypto game. Facilitated by the HOT Token, Evergleam players will be able to plow their way through prizes, vouchers, and even actual gold in the upcoming launch of the casual mining game, unearthing value from the virtual world for the real one. The product epitomizes the direction of gaming, advertising, currency, and everything in between.