The VBA will be shutting down on January 31, 2023
Update: Due to community feedback, VBA will be doing $28,500 in an “Buyback Airdrop” instead of $10,000 in Box Office Rewards.
We have incredibly sad news to share today. We’ve made the difficult decision to shut down the VBA after the season0 celebration tournament on January 31, 2023.
We know this change is unexpected and painful. So, while there is no good way to manage this, we will do our best to provide transparency into how we arrived at this decision and how we plan to take care of the community.
The short version is:
- Despite spending millions building and marketing the VBA, we have not been able to attract new users to the product since we launched. We believe that it would have been impossible for us to achieve the scale we need to be a profitable business with the runway we have left.
- As part of shutting down the VBA, we will make the NFTs immutable and set the creator royalties to 0%, effective immediately. The end of season tournament will run from 1/17/23–1/31/23 with the website and API access shutting down on 2/5/23. A full schedule of key dates can be found HERE.
- The VBA team is not keeping any funds from sales of or royalties on s0 NFTs. Instead, we will be paying out the remaining $40,000 in our rewards treasury + $20,000 extra from the team (total $60,000) over the next 6 weeks. The s0 Tournament will have a $30,000 prize pool, ~$28,500 will be allocated towards a Buyback Airdrop, and the remainder will go towards final Box Office drawings for DIMES.
Why we’re doing this
As a startup, growing is essential to staying alive. Unfortunately, it should come as no surprise to you that the VBA has struggled to grow over the past 6 months. While we have a dedicated community of ~600 teams that play in the VBA every week — we haven’t been able to increase that number in the past 6 months since launching the game, spending millions of dollars building new product features and numerous marketing campaigns in the process.
We believe that this is the result of the following reasons:
First off, sports management games are a small market. While there are some overlaps between the massive fantasy sports market and ours, they are fundamentally different. Without an IP license with the NBA and/or the growth of a nascent web3 ecosystem to support us, there is no current path for VBA to be a commercial success.
Second, to win big in a small market, everything needs to go right, and current markets are quite bearish for the foreseeable future.
At the onset of 2022, the crypto market looked very different than it does today. We believed that web3 would be the new mobile and allow us to onboard millions of new consumers alongside this new paradigm. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. We haven’t been able to attract new users and with the bear market coupled with the collapse of LUNA, FTX, etc, consumer appetite for web3 products and NFTs is practically non-existent while simultaneously showing the flaws of many web3 business models.
In recent weeks, we also explored moving towards a purely web2 mobile product, but the more we looked into that space, the more we realized it would take us years of R&D to even be on par with the web2 basketball games that exist today.
Given our inability to attract new GMs and unfavorable market environment, we felt we were on a path to slowly die and it didn’t make sense anymore to continue after already spending millions to build and market the game.
What this means for our NFTs and DIMES
To do our best to ease to support our NFT community as we shut down the product, we plan to do the following:
- We will make the NFTs immutable and set the creator royalties to 0%. The website will remain live through the end of season tournament on 1/31/23 with API access remaining open until 2/5/23. We are also exploring options with other projects to continue the VBA vision.
- We plan to distribute $60,000 ($40,000 from the entire treasury + $20,000 from the team) over the next 6 weeks through the End of Season Tournament and a Buyback Airdrop. We originally only committed 2000 SOL towards s0 rewards from the initial pack sale, and will be adding all the revenue from individual player sales and royalties to these rewards. VBA is not keeping any revenues from the sales or royalties of s0 NFTs, it is all being paid back to GMs in the form of rewards — true to the intention and competitive spirit of the game. We acknowledge that this decision impacts our most passionate and dedicated community members the most and believe that this strategy is the best way to reward GMs according to their dedication while giving everyone options to make informed decisions during this wind down period.
s0 Celebration Tournament (runs Jan. 17 to 31): Prize Pool is being tripled to $30,000 USDC. Details on the structure can be found HERE.
The s0 Celebration Tournament will begin January 17 and run through January 31.
NFT Buyback Airdrop of $28,500 will take place at the end of s0. Full details on this can be found HERE.
These funds will go to all GMs who complete the form (https://forms.gle/Yxe38KeMWEc3Zzk1A) by Jan 4th 2 PM PT. Ownership data will be snapshotted on Jan 5th 2 PM PT. USDC will be airdropped by Jan 6th 2 PM PT.
Daily Challenges will conclude after today.
Player Re-roll Event
In the lead up to this final tournament, we will hold Player Re-Rolls one last time. Player re-rolls in exchange for an empty pack open again from Tuesday, Dec 13 to Tuesday, Dec 20. The re-rolls will take place on Wednesday, Dec 21.
You can submit a request to re-roll a player here: https://forms.gle/w7Pb7w5Zy9THTCjq6
VBA API and Website
The VBA API and website will be supported until February 5, 2023. The last week of games will be the final bracket of the EOS tournament that concludes on January 31, 2023.
Discord and Socials
The team run Discord and Socials will shut down after February 5, 2023.
For a complete list of upcoming dates, please visit our Help Center article HERE.
We have also scheduled an AMA to talk through any of these questions, which will take place in Discord Wednesday, Dec 14 at 12 PM PT / 8 PM UTC, a recording will be published if you are unable to attend. Please leave any questions for the AMA in the AMA questions Discord channel and we’ll make sure we address them during the AMA.
Thank you for all your passion and support this past year. This was an incredibly painful decision for us and it’s hard to let go of something that we were all so passionate about. It’s been a pleasure building for this community of passionate hoops degens.