The gaming industry doesn’t need Web3, but gamers can

The gaming industry doesn't need Web3, but gamers can

We have been in a bear market for many months now, following almost 18 months of crypto hype. This boom was dominated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and at this time a special narrative emerged around Web3 games. Building on early successes like CryptoKitties, Web3 games have become the Holy Grail that finally brought together the scarcity of NFTs, the stimulation of cryptocurrencies, and the usefulness of the metaverse.

So here we are, a year and a half later, one of the most remarkable bull markets in the history of crypto. However, Web3 games didn’t turn out the way many predicted. The gaming industry hasn’t been taken over, and we don’t have any prime examples of live Web3 games in the market today. The future of Web3 gaming is still bright, but it’s impossible without understanding where we went wrong in this last cycle. In particular, how we promoted low-quality products to an industry that didn’t need them and gamers that didn’t need them.

Everett Muzzy is Senior Vice President of Content, Community and Social Media at Serotonin.

Games do not need cryptocurrency

The traditional gaming industry is on the verge of breaking up. Its market capitalization will be $222 billion in 2022 and is projected to increase by nearly 50% in the next four years alone. All of this growth is projected even without Web3. Gaming innovation is happening at breakneck speed thanks to engines like Unreal, augmented reality software, virtual reality hardware, and more.

Given the impressive pace of innovation in Web3, today’s infrastructure cannot scale to the processing power required to run today’s AAA games. This should surprise no one and does not mean that Web3 will never scale to the extent it needs. However, this means that the crypto industry was trying to bring technology to market that did not meet the infrastructure needs of the existing industry. We may have wanted Web3 games to explode on the scene, but the reality is that the gaming industry simply doesn’t need blockchain technology right now.

See also: How the Metaverse could be a game changer for NFT Gaming

No, games don’t need cryptocurrency, but gamers can

The most popular arguments in favor of Web3 games do not concern the infrastructure capabilities of the technology for the reasons outlined above. Rather, validation for Web3 games generally depends on providing gamers with a richer and more complete gaming experience. The argument goes like this: games built on blockchain technology can provide gamers with true asset ownership, financial opportunities, and creative feedback loops with studios, to name but a few. The history of gaming is replete with examples of how gamers have felt cheated or cheated by the industry they love. Web3’s principles of sovereignty and cooperation can offer gamers the opportunity to get more out of the games they’ve already invested their time and effort into.

Despite this narrative, the biggest critics of Web3 games since the start of the recent bull market have not been game studios or publishers, but the players themselves. Supporters of Web3 games have been subjected to pathetic sarcasm, ranging from disappointing gameplay to outright cheating.

If gamers and Web3 are supposedly so close in their core values, why has the relationship become so strained in the last bull market?

Gameplay, gameplay, gameplay

Ask just about anyone what the most successful Web3 games are and you’ll get answers like Axie Infinity, DeFi Kingdoms, and Wolf Game. These applications attracted significant attention (and capital) during the bull market and became the first wave of “verified” Web3 games. In fact, these games were nothing more than decentralized finance (DeFi) applications with elements of design and gamification. Any traditional gamer familiar with the authenticity, storyline, and aesthetic of games like Stardew Valley will surely get angry if they are told that DeFi Kingdoms is the future of gaming.

Almost every Web3 game introduced to the market during the bull market broke a well-known rule of game design: don’t overvalue the experience. Gamers have made this clear in the past. In 2012, Diablo III was released with an in-game auction house that returned Blizzard a percentage of every transaction. Diablo III gamers were so outraged by the auction house that in the next update, Blizzard removed it completely.

Read more: Beware of illegal players playing crypto games | Opinion

The lesson is actually pretty simple: gamers despise putting monetization ahead of gameplay. Nearly every Web3 “game” on the market during this latest bull market was primarily a financial app – and gamers smelled it right away. (It’s worth pausing here for a notable exception: NFT collectible card games. The Web3 versions of these games have proven to be quite successful, likely because their traditional card game counterparts also have a fundamental financial element in their trade, sale, purchase, and rarity.)

Web3 games are conceptually not at odds with what gamers want, but before gamers even begin to consider the benefits, gameplay must be prioritized over everything else.

Next level

In this latest loop, gamers have found themselves on the other side unharmed. Web3 didn’t have a major impact on their day-to-day lives, and they didn’t have to contend with reprioritization of their favorite games or the studios that make them. However, both the gaming and Web3 ecosystem will continue to innovate. As the Web3 infrastructure catches up with the capabilities of Web2, blockchain-based games will be reintroduced to the market. These games will need to appeal to gamer communities and should look to this recent bull market for examples of how not to communicate.

More than anything, gamers want fun, aesthetic games. We want to fade into history. The constant reminder of financial overtones interrupts the escape and degrades the experience. For Web3 games to be successful, they must first be fun to play. Sounds simple, but the recent attempt to bring Web3 games to market suggests that we have a lot to learn in cryptocurrency.

Written by khirou

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