Community//

Dana Paul of Ritual Motion: “Every successful game has a great storyline think of Super Mario”

We’re working to change the misperceptions around gaming and prove there can be — and already is for many — a balance between the gaming world we love and a healthy, mindful lifestyle. We believe that gaming and the esports industry suffers from a stigma that has long since been proven untrue, but for many outside of the market […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

We’re working to change the misperceptions around gaming and prove there can be — and already is for many — a balance between the gaming world we love and a healthy, mindful lifestyle. We believe that gaming and the esports industry suffers from a stigma that has long since been proven untrue, but for many outside of the market still persists — the picture of a “gamer” as a 20-something, living in their parents’ basement, gaming all hours of the day, eating junk food and acting socially reclusive. We know this to be untrue of the community at large and have spent a great deal of time interacting with our audience of 250,000+ gaming and esports enthusiasts through surveys and data collection that inform our content creation, product development and social outreach. This audience is vibrant, thoughtful, highly valuable to marketers, and connected through the largest social media platform in existence — gaming. We intend to ensure this message is being promoted on behalf of our community in order to disrupt the status quo or stigma around gaming.


As a part of our series about what’s around the corner for the toy, game, and video game industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dana Paul, Co-Founder and CEO of Ritual Motion, a Rhode Island based company focused on the health and wellness of gamers and the esports community. Established in 2019, the brand has enjoyed rapid growth in one of the most vibrant and dynamic emerging global industries.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the “backstory” behind what brought you to this particular career path?

My family has always been into esports, but my career shifted to esports about 2 years ago. I came home and my kids were in our family room with all of their friends watching a live esports tournament online. I asked my oldest son what he was watching and he said, “This is the Boston Uprising.” I asked who they were and he told me that they were the team owned by Bob Kraft, the same Bob Kraft who owns the New England Patriots. For the first time, I was able to watch an Esports tournament on a big screen and I realized that there’s an incredible amount of repetitive hand motion going on so we asked a group of young 20 somethings and teenagers if their hands hurt after they play video games for a long time — and they all laughed and said, “Of course, yes.”

At the same time, I was working for a medical device company that, 20 years ago, brought to market a glove to help protect people who work in manufacturing for carpal tunnel, hand fatigue, wrist injuries and hand injuries due to repetitive hand motion. I grabbed a handful of gloves, brought them home to my kids, asked them to give them out to their friends. I let them use them for a couple of weeks and when I reconnected with them I asked them what they thought. They said the gloves absolutely made a difference but they were really ugly, as you can imagine they were a medical device and beige. I said we can fix ugly and we can also tweak these so they could be more in line with gamers and esports athletes.

We partnered with the manufacturer and we reconstructed the whole glove from the ground up. We also created a way to make them using dye sublimation so we could print customized skins, whether it was for one person or 1,000 people, on-demand. But this was just the beginning — after that, we decided to dig in deeper on the sport through research and realized that the industry was 40% female, 60% male which did not make sense to myself and my partner. If anything you would think esports and video games should be a complete level playing field, kind of like chess or checkers — it’s more a game of strategy. At that point we decided that our main mantra would always be, authenticity, inclusion and diversity. We also realized at that point that no one was addressing or talking about health and wellness so we created the focus of the company to be squarely in health, wellness and education for the gaming and esports community.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I think one of the most interesting facts is that folks that I’ve worked with in previous Ventures whether we were start-ups or companies that I’ve had, whether they were employees or clients, I have been able to reach back out to that network and have them become part of Ritual Motion. It’s been an incredible experience having people that I’ve worked with in the past become part of the current team and I guess the biggest lesson I’ve learned from that is to always do the right thing by other people.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

That’s a very easy answer to this question — my dad. My dad was one of the hardest working and most honest men I’ve ever met. I strongly believe that you could always achieve a work-life balance as long as you truly try to achieve a work-life balance. I will never forget — I must have been 12 years old when he told me a very simple philosophy. “If you do what you’re truly passionate about you never have to worry about work again or money,” focus on your passion and not on money. I truly didn’t understand this until I was at the age of 34 when I started my first company on passion not money, and have never looked back.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Back in April when we realized a lot of fundraising events that needed to take place in physical locations were going to happen we created SIA Social Impact Activations. The formula was simple: find a good cause, find a foundation that supports that cause and create an activation around it to create awareness for that foundation and raise money. The first one we did was Playing for Pride. We realized that in the month of June most pride events were not going to happen due to Covid so we parted with the Stonewall Foundation to create awareness and help raise money by putting together a virtual gaming tournament. We had over 1,600 people participate in the tournament and raised thousands of dollars and created lots of awareness for the Stonewall Foundation. We are taking this simple formula and have applied it to events like Varsity Votes, Smash Out Breast Cancer and now Gaming for Tots, which supports Toys for Tots. This is part of Ritual Motion’s DNA, give first.

Ok fantastic. Let’s now move to the main focus of our discussion. Can you tell us about the technological innovations in gaming that you are working on?

Our mission is to support our audience of gamers and esports enthusiasts by promoting health, wellness, diversity and inclusion through our content, products, services and social impact events. Innovation, to us, is to uncover new and creative ways to accomplish this mission. Our first product, Gaming Skins, were an innovation on a medical device for factory workers who had a lot of repetitive hand motions during the workday. We redesigned and reconstructed them after a vigorous round of testing and feedback with gamers in mind to help prevent hand and wrist injuries and stave off fatigue. They’ve been doing very well with our audience and since then we have launched more products in the nutrition and blue light eyewear space using the same thinking.

We’re also using technological innovation in the programs we’re bringing our audience. For instance, we’ve had a series of successful events that leverage gaming and charity-driven technology platforms to drive awareness and funding for causes that our audience believes in. Right now we are hosting a program called Gaming for Tots to support Toys for Tots. It includes 12 days of streams with Twitch, featuring a new influencer each night. We’re driving donations through Tiltify, a gamer-focused charitable giving platform. And the program culminates in a virtual tournament on the smash.gg platform. Gaming for Tots is a formula that we have found that works amazingly well to engage our audience and “do good” through gaming innovation.

How do you think this might disrupt the status quo?

We’re working to change the misperceptions around gaming and prove there can be — and already is for many — a balance between the gaming world we love and a healthy, mindful lifestyle. We believe that gaming and the esports industry suffers from a stigma that has long since been proven untrue, but for many outside of the market still persists — the picture of a “gamer” as a 20-something, living in their parents’ basement, gaming all hours of the day, eating junk food and acting socially reclusive. We know this to be untrue of the community at large and have spent a great deal of time interacting with our audience of 250,000+ gaming and esports enthusiasts through surveys and data collection that inform our content creation, product development and social outreach. This audience is vibrant, thoughtful, highly valuable to marketers, and connected through the largest social media platform in existence — gaming. We intend to ensure this message is being promoted on behalf of our community in order to disrupt the status quo or stigma around gaming.

You, of course, know that games and toys are not simply entertainment, but they can be used for important purposes. What is the “purpose” or mission behind your company? How do you think you are helping people or society?

At Ritual Motion we are focused on becoming, and remaining, the leading health and wellness brand in gaming. Our mission is to support our audience of gamers and esports enthusiasts by promoting health, wellness, diversity, and inclusion through our content, products, services and social impact events. We spend a good deal of time mobilizing the gaming audience we’re connected to through activations that support national and local charities. This can come in the form of influencer streams, tournaments and other virtual events. Recently, we hosted a charity streaming event connected to RI Hub’s entrepreneur event which benefited the Rhode Island Foodbank. In a matter of minutes, we were able to drive more than 500 dollars in funding for people who are in need through the streaming effort. On a larger scale, we’ve held events for The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Toys for Tots, Rock the Vote, Gamers Vote and The Stonewall Foundation. We intend to continue this tradition in the future and plan to host 4–6 social impact activations in 2021.

I’m very interested in the interface between games and education. How do you think more people (parents, teachers etc.) or institutions (work, school etc.) can leverage toys or gamification to enhance education?

Kids are completely immersed in gaming culture today even to the extent parents have not yet comprehended. From the time a child can press a button they are beginning to interact with gaming technology whether it’s a toy or an iPad or a phone. Younger generations watch more hours of gaming-related streams and videos than they watch traditional sports on TV. We believe a key to connecting with the next generation is being able to communicate through tools and platforms where they connect with each other. For instance, Discord has become a hub for communication during gaming for both players and observers. Schools could consider leveraging Discord or a similar platform to engage students with on-campus communications and activities.

How would you define a “successful” game or toy? Can you share an example of a game or toy that you hold up as an aspiration?

I feel any game or toy that encourages community play and helps you learn is a success. So, a perfect example for my family was Guitar Hero. It not only tied in music, which is a great common denominator, but it got the whole family involved and it allowed everyone, even for my kids, to work at a certain skill set. More importantly, three of my children ended up pursuing music lessons because of Guitar Hero.

What are the “5 Things You Need to Know To Create a Successful Game” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Story line. Every successful game has a great storyline think of Super Mario.
  2. Who is your audience? You can’t have a game like COD, a first-person shooter game if your audience is a group of elementary school students.
  3. What is the end goal of the game? Every successful game always has a finishing point. For example, Fortnite, there’s always a battle royale with one person at the end of each game win.
  4. What platform is the game on? Mobile? Computer? etc. If you create a game that’s cross-platform your chances of success are higher as is adoption.
  5. Is it sticky? Is it a game that people will play while they’re at a red light in their car or the waiting room of a doctor’s office? Or in front of their computer at home? Has to be fun, challenging, and most importantly, entertaining.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would say these are our social impact activations. Our goal is to identify a cause, for example, underprivileged kids. Identify a foundation, such as Toys for Tots, that helps support that cause. And create an activation around that to create awareness and raise money for that cause and foundation.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Do good first to others and good will always follow you.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

My LinkedIn profile is https://www.linkedin.com/in/danapaul130113/

Follow Ritual Motion at the below:

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Rex Stover and Jeff Palumbo of Lenovo: “Gaming was already one of the fastest growing and most popular activities”

by Jason Hartman
Community//

Rex Stover and Jeff Palumbo of Lenovo: “Listen to customer feedback”

by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts
Community//

Rex Stover and Jeff Palumbo of Lenovo: “Listen to customer feedback (good and bad)”

by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.