A rival to Steam?

This article is split up into two sections with the first one being a look at Plai, while the other half of it is more business-centric.

So, if you’re a gamer, stick to the first part, but if you’re an entrepreneur or want to know more about being an entrepreneur than I’d suggest you scroll a bit further down.

A little update from the team behind Plai:

A little something-something for those interested in starting with Plai, you can use this coupon code “gamescope” in the Plai app and you’ll get €5 free game time on all your games!

Gamer-Centric

I’ve been so fortunate to chat with Frank Christensen, the CEO of Plai, both in person at last year’s Game Scope, but also by mail. It has resulted in this article, where we hope to uncover what Plai is exactly.

Plai (site)

From Frank himself:

First of all, I would like to thank you for giving us the chance to tell you about our service Plai. Plai is a service that enables more gamers to get more value for their money.

Right off the bat, I’m intrigued as like good value and I’m also a gamer. Joking aside, you’re probably wondering how Plai hopes to achieve this and what it will mean for you.

You might’ve guessed by now that Plai isn’t a game, but rather an online store and game library like Steam. But, let’s get the hows and whys out of the way:

We do this by removing the up-front payment for games and allows users to only pay for the time they play until the price of the game is reached. We call this Pay-as-you-Play.

To some it may sound a bit strange at first, while to others it might sound too good to be true — and it’s both and neither at the same time. By removing the up-front cost, Plai has created a ripple effect, affecting multiple aspects of digital stores and online game libraries.

Frank mentions some of them in his mail like:

[…] we would like to think that we are solving the discoverability and competition problem in the gaming industry.

But honestly, I believe Frank is being overly modest, as Plai’s innovative way of “selling” games is like no other. Steam is, of course, the most notable and most recognizable, however, it’s “just” a digital store with the greatest of sales.

Next, you have subscription-based services like Origin Access having you pay yearly to access a wide array of select games. Lastly, you have the console versions like the PS Store, which with its exclusivity comes higher pricing, but exclusive titles.

I guess, if I should describe Plai like I’ve described the other services, I would perhaps call it “reverse-renting”, where you choose a game to “rent”, while you have the game as long as you want to, but you pay for it, ie. rent it until you’ve paid the full price.

If you’ll excuse the confusing wording in the last paragraph, I’ll get to my point. Where my point being, Plai is highly innovative. To my mind being a more user-friendly and transparent business model, than the likes of its “rivals”.

Business-Centric

However, because I had the chance to chat with the CEO, I was a bit curious to know a bit about the business side of things. For example, what Plai’s first milestone was.

Plai took it’s first baby steps back in 2016 […] we only had a proof of concept on the business model and that was our first significant milestone.

Adding to that:

Our second milestone was making an MVP (Minimum Variable Product). That milestone was a huge one for Plai because we had to show Plai to the end-user for the first time and of course it went well thanks to Tobias (CTO) and Peter (COO/developer).

Now. I believe everyone who’s ever gambled on a dream has felt the sting of fear. Although I don’t know if Plai was the biggest gamble Frank has made as an entrepreneur, I was quite interested in hearing what his biggest fear was going into this.

[…] my biggest fear was and still is, people not telling us the truth when they are giving us feedback on Plai. Because if we can’t get honest feedback, we can’t develop Plai to be something people would love to use.

With Plai, Frank and I also talked a bit about what propelled Plai forward — or what spark that ignited the flames under the project. Frank mentioned two things in particular, with the first spark being winning the Danish Entrepreneur Championship in 2016. However, with the second spark being the biggest according to Frank.

[…] I would like to think that our first participation at Game Scope back in 2016 has been the biggest spark that ignited a flame. This is no bullsh*t […] this was the place we introduced Plai for the first time to the end user and the feedback we got from those three days was indispensable.

Entrepreneur Tips

But, what does Plai, or moreover, what are the key principles to being an entrepreneur?

(Here’s the list version):

#1 Our fundamental principles are to define your company’s goals clearly, so the team knows the direction the company is going.

#2 […] don’t be afraid to change those goals or direction as long as you communicate them to the team.

#3 […] adapt and persevere according to your customer’s needs. […] it’s better to develop a product people like to use instead of not using it.

#4 Create small milestones […] and don’t forget to celebrate the small success this milestone gives the team.

#5 […] see setbacks as new learnings and not as failures.

#6 […] don’t forget the individual on the journey in a startup, be sincere and honest to yourself and the team.