Web3 gaming took a wrong turn and it’s time to turn back
Why are web3 games played?
75% percent of crypto gamers say it’s to earn money. Play-to-earn (P2E) gaming introduced a promise to their gamers. Since then, the value of P2E tokens and NFTs has plunged, resulting in an abandonment of what’s now known as crypto gaming.
But, is this the end of web3 gaming?
The failed attempt of the P2E model gives us even more conviction about what it takes to build a sustainable and enjoyable game. To do that, we’ll discuss what gaming mechanics are, how web3 tech can be integrated, and where we think web3 gaming will be in a few years.
Our game plan for this article (TL;DR)
- Play-to-earn introduced a faulty mechanism of “first come-first earn” that catered to investors more than players. Unsurprisingly, these games didn’t last when the earning stopped.
- Web3 gaming is about introducing player enhancement mechanisms on top of the current successful gaming mechanics. These features include: player ownership, interoperability, and opportunities for creators.
- The future is being built keeping the players in mind. The possibilities are out there but will take time. It’s up to the game developers to prioritize and create never-before-seen quality web3 games.
The past: Play-to-earn gaming
Play-to-earn games give players an opportunity to earn tokens based on their gameplay. These tokens are exchangeable and have monetary value. As a player, you can earn these tokens by winning them in a skill-based game or by selling an in-game asset after it increases in value. or by buying them on a marketplace?
The model most P2E games are based on started with owning an in-game asset NFT to be eligible to play. Once you own your playable character, you can participate in the game’s activities and try to earn as many tokens as you can.
The problem with this model is that the tokens became inflationary. That means that players had more ways of earning coins than spending them. The result of an inflationary economy is that the value of the token decreases until it’s worthless. At this point the players stopped playing and deemed the game doomed.
Nevertheless, we have to point out that P2E has introduced many users to the web3 ecosystem. Also, due to the media relevance of the topic, many game developers started paying attention to this new market segment emerging. And some of them are now developing web3 games.
The present: There’s another way
Web3 gaming needs to focus on one main thing — creating games that are fun to play!
Using tried and true game mechanics that make players want to stay, play, and pay to keep a sustainable game economics while providing ongoing value. Web3 mechanics can and should be used as features to enhance the gaming experience, but shouldn’t be regarded as the game’s main USP or its reason-to-play.
If there’s one thing we can learn from the mobile gaming industry, it’s that you shouldn’t judge an entire industry by its first products. Unfortunately, the current gaming industry is reluctant to adopt the web3 gaming paradigm. In a survey conducted among gamers, only 1% (!) said they understand web3, yet they rated their feelings about web3 gaming as a 4.5 on a scale of 1 (hate) to 10 (love). What will it take to get gamers to adopt web3 games? It all starts with basic game mechanics.
The pathway to build a good game
The current gaming industry teaches us what players like to spend their money on:
- Progression — to save time or skip steps and get ahead in the game (boosters).
- Focus — removing ads to keep the experience as clean as possible.
- Content — unlock exclusive content and new experiences (expansions).
- Playtime — subscriptions to have the ability to keep playing a game.
- Prestige — show off your skills and achievements (skins).
Web3 gaming mechanics have a way to improve players’ experience without disregarding the best practices and without the need to introduce new game mechanics. Leveraging the technology for features that feel native to players will allow them to seamlessly enjoy the benefits of web3 without having to compromise on the advantages of their beloved games.
Before we show how web3 games can be integrated into current game mechanics, it’s important to break down the benefits that web3 game mechanics introduce:
- Ownership of in-game assets — by registering in-game assets on the blockchain, players can increase the value of the virtual goods they’ve earned and trade them on an open marketplace.
- Interoperability — using decentralized servers allows game developers to leverage resources from other games and encourage players to play with their most prized possessions in multiple games.
- Burn mechanics — creating a sustainable economy depends on having a deflationary economy. Allowing players to turn their existing in-game assets into different or improved assets will keep the demand low and increase the value of these assets.
So, how can these mechanisms be implemented in a fun and playful way to create GOOD web3 games?
The future vision for web3 games
Web3 games should start with adopting classic web2 revenue generation models AND THEN ENHANCE THEM using web3 technology. What does that look like?
A couple of examples:
The Australian AAA game has been in development for a couple of years and presents a vision for a multi-layered Interoperable Blockchain Game. The game focuses on open-world exploration, NFT creature collection and autobattling.
The game is structured around 2 modes of play –
- A city-builder game (like Minecraft) that allows players to contribute to an open-world environment while maintaining ownership of their land and their creations.
- A creature capturing game (like Pokemon) where players discover, hunt and capture over 100+ Illuvials. These Illuvials are NFTs that can be traded and sold for cryptocurrencies. Players can develop and fuse these creatures to increase their value.
In addition to these core-game elements. The Illuvium team introduced
3 ways to earn while playing:
- Earn while playing — earning crypto in ILV tokens as in-game rewards through gameplay.
- Wager on Battles — participating in and/or wagering on matches in the PVP battle arena.
- Trading on the marketplace — selling and trading in-game NFT items on the IlluviDEX, Illuvium’s NFT marketplace.
Angry Dynomites Lab
The world’s first massive co-op NFT game introduces a crafting-based game that requires players to collaborate if they want to succeed. The game focuses on multiplayer cooperation to complete crafting tasks and earn rewards.
Rooted in sound game economics, the added blockchain layer provides opportunities for players to play together and achieve their goals. Blockchain technology enhances the experience in a couple of ways -
- Ownership — ADL is building a more casual version of the successful factory building games to ensure a continuously fun experience. They intend to utilize the blockchain to store the built assets and allow players to trade and add value to their creations.
- Decentralization — Players in ADL will unite to build artifacts to help the poor Dynomites survive. Using interoperability provided by the blockchain, players will combine their efforts to craft artifacts using the many materials that can’t be attained by a single player.
ADL has a plan to mint NFTs on the Ethereum Mainnet, use ERC-20 Tokens on Polygon, and run their game logic on the backend.This varied approach creates a trusted chain for NFTs, cheap gas fees to exchange tokens, and no gas fees at all for playing the game.
🦖 A Dyno’s perspective
The bottom line is that games need to be FUN! Game developers that are focused on blockchain technology are missing out on what’s important. NFTs, tokens, and blockchain integrations should be no more than features that engage players and increase their gameplay. We must remember that building good games take time — approximately 3–4 years of development, so the next couple of years should be when we start seeing successful web3 games emerge.
Our goal is to build a player community that’s based on fun and collaboration and distance ourselves from the play-to-earn paradigm that’s focused on earning.
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