Web3 gaming, powered by blockchain technology, has the talent, technology and funding needed to succeed. Now the segment just needs one critical piece of the puzzle: fun.
4 Ways To Make Web3 Gaming More Fun
1. Engage players with the game, then introduce a crypto wallet.
2. Develop a killer app for Web3 gaming.
3. Make gaming products accessible to mainstream audiences.
4. Offer gamers true ownership of their in-game assets.
Web3 games allow for in-game assets such as characters, skins, weapons and cards to be minted as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are truly owned by players. How? These NFTs don’t live on game company servers, but on digital ledgers that are distributed across multiple machines.
This removes a company’s ability to revoke access to assets, preventing the loss of value experienced by players of shuttered games. It also theoretically allows for in-game assets to be used across different games, allowing, say, a Zeus lightning bolt item to be used in both a puzzle game and a multiplayer auto battler made by different companies.
These features should be lauded by both game developers and the billions of people who enjoy video games. Unfortunately, the Web3 gaming segment, led by the much-maligned Axie Infinity, has gotten off to a rough start due to many developers in the field focusing first on the crypto aspects of their products: buy or win this NFT, and you can flip it for profit!
To even start playing many Web3 games, you need both a crypto wallet and to spend potentially hundreds to thousands of dollars on a starter NFT. This is no way to onboard a critical mass of people into the future of gaming.
It goes to show: For Web3 games to succeed, they need to focus on fun, not financials.
Why Web3 Games Should Be More Fun
Finance is a large aspect of all our lives. It’s a huge driver of the crypto field at large — investors speculate on the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum, a multitude of other digital currencies and even NFTs. For the most part, though, speculation doesn’t belong in video games. Aside from e-sports athletes, people don’t play games to earn money. They play games because they’re fun, allow them to interact with their friends, relieve stress and even boost their mental wellbeing.
Focusing on financials is not even good business. Sure, during the crypto bull run that ended earlier this year, when investment into the field was so frothy and powered in large part by greed, nobody really cared about the game aspects of Web3 games. These gamers just wanted to buy an asset that rose in price or earned yield. They didn’t care about the fundamentals of the game, or why they were playing it.
How To Make Web3 Games More Fun
Web3 gaming will not grow by just appealing to crypto enthusiasts. The segment needs ordinary people to sign up for crypto wallets, and that won't happen by touting the potential financial return of assets. Web3 game developers must ask themselves: Can people play this game without even realizing that Web3 is a part of it? Is it actually fun?
Once players are actively engaged with the game and have earned an NFT, then it’s time to introduce crypto wallets. If players want to interact with these in-game assets, they can, and the benefits of doing so should be made clear.
Both mobile and social games provide a good blueprint for Web3 gaming. Mobile games, the most popular form of gaming around the world by far, did not start with in-app purchases. They began by charging smartphone users a nominal admission fee, typically $1, and providing fun experiences. Eventually, most of the mobile games market retained the initial fun experience and went free to play, with booster items or extra characters available for purchase to those who want them.
One statistic Web3 game developers should be mindful of: only around 5 percent of smartphone users spend money on in-app purchases in games. Clearly, most people playing a Web3 game won’t spend money to purchase NFTs.
Web3 gaming lacks a killer app, one that drives a large number of new users to a platform. Every platform, from virtual reality to blockchain, is meaningless until there’s a killer app. For social gaming, this was Farmville. What Farmville did for social gaming was tell users we’ll provide real value to you for connecting with your friends in the game. Not only could you compare farms, but trade animals and gift in-game items that help both players advance. It’s these aspects that broke the barrier and justified the existence of social networking inside video games.
Fun, casual games have a core loop that makes it for people to start playing, keep them playing and get those who want to extend their time in the game to spend money. Web3 gaming cannot ignore the lessons of the past decade and flip this equation. It just won’t work.
The Future of Web3 Gaming
The current crypto winter will allow the market to shake out the bad projects from the good. Both consumers and investors will start asking tough questions, such as, will this game be sustainable in the long term? Does it have a good onboarding plan? Will millions of players be playing?
Web3 games need to compete with the numerous gaming experiences available across mobile, PC and consoles.
The Web3 gaming segment is starting to mature. With that maturity, developers will have to prove their products are accessible to mainstream audiences. That requires them to be fun, first and foremost. Web3 games need to compete with the numerous gaming experiences available across mobile, PC and consoles.
Slapping Web3 on the box and touting blockchain connectivity won’t cut it. At their core, these games need to have great gameplay loops. From there, developers can tout the benefits blockchain brings to gamers: true ownership of their in-game assets. People will adopt Web3 gaming when they’re given the proper motivation.
This is how the Web3 gaming segment will grow and thrive.