Haters going to hate, while players going to play
Japanese-based gaming giants Sega, Bandai, and Square Enix are committed to a future where blockchain games are the norm—announcing in a recent interview that the small portion of gamers that show resistance to NFTs will not hold back the gaming industry from embracing blockchain technology.
NFT-infused blockchain gaming will drive a record number of users into blockchain applications in 2022. However, as traditional gaming companies eye up the space, they also look to fix what they perceive as a broken model that relies on speculative investors more than players enjoying fun games.
The announcement came from Oasys representative Ryo Matsubara, who emphasized at The Tokyo Game Show 2022 that the project’s big-name partners, such as Bandai Namco, Sega, and Square Enix, are not jumping on the crypto bandwagon. There’s a long-term vision for blockchain-based gaming.
Bandai Namco developed games such as Tekken and Pac-Man and is a Japanese multinational toy manufacturer and distributor. Their involvement is interesting as they bring gaming and physical distribution expertise.
In contrast, Sega’s most famous game is commonly seen as Sonic the Hedgehog. At the same time, Square Enix is the developer of the top-rated Final Fantasy franchise, which started in 1987.
Focus on blockchain games
The Tokyo Game Show, one of the world’s most popular video game events, returned to Japan this year after a three-year break due to Covid 19 restrictions. It returned with a bang and significant focus on Play-to-Earn blockchain gaming. Moreover, blockchain gaming trends emerged as the most important event in the space that found itself taking a break.
Also, blockchain games have evolved in the three years from purely play-to-earn models to play-and-earn. The goal now is to make web3 games fun and exciting to play so that token rewards cease to be the only incentives for playing.
Investments in new Play-to-Earn games hit record highs while the number of active users playing these games shot up at insane rates. Data from DappRadar and The Blockchain Gaming Alliance also shows that the industry remains very bullish despite significant setbacks in the crypto market.
Speculation Vs. Gameplay
One criticism of blockchain gaming over the last year or so has been that developers dont pay enough attention to tokenomic models. They are creating a situation whereby the game relies almost entirely on in-game trading and NFT sales to develop further and grow.
While countless games with broken models, more concerned with revenue, were launched, there have been some shining examples of how well things can work when the fun is at the heart of a project.
It is also essential for these brands to approach NFT-infused blockchain gaming with fresh eyes and not simply stick blockchain onto existing popular IPs. Moreover, this completely new gaming model will need more time to mature before big companies look at integrations with traditional games and take risks with established IPs.
Interestingly, DappRadar tracks 1180 blockchain games across more than 40 blockchains. Using filters, it’s possible to see which ones have attracted more than 1,000 users in the last 30 days. 117 dapp games, or around 10%, achieved this number out of the 1880 games ranked on DappRadar.
Retention is an issue. Fickle users hop from one opportunity to the next, reminiscent of how users behaved back in the summer of DeFi.
Looking outside Japan, major western gaming companies such as the developers of Fortnite, Epic Games, have increased their exposure to blockchain gaming by listing a new free-to-play NFT-infused game called Blankos Block Party by Mythical Games last week.
The move follows comments from Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney in July, stating that his company “definitely” wouldn’t follow Microsoft’s Minecraft in banning NFT integrations in games.
Kickback from gamers
There has been significant kickback from traditional gamers around the subject of NFTs, while for those perhaps not so entrenched in gaming, NFTs simply makes sense. The idea of being able to own and trade in-game items feels logical for this writer, but apparently, gamers are not so keen.
One reason could be that traditional gaming companies tend to monopolize their players and hold them inside tight economic loops designed to keep money inside their ecosystem. Gamers are known for complaining about ever-increasing costs of access to games and different paid assets and upgrades needed to complete a game or mission.
Moreover, the models we see today for blockchain gaming emerged in the last few years, while gaming giants like Sega and Square Enix have been making games for decades. The two groups need to consider combining the idea of playing to earn with playing for fun.
Play for fun
One company with a laser focus on building and distributing fun games first is Kongregate. Kongregate was founded in 2006 as a web gaming destination with the vision of creating an open platform for indie games to foster that growing community.
With over 15 years of experience building, distributing, and developing games for desktop and mobile, Kongregate offers to host and publish games through its dedicated portal.
Their latest creation, BitVerse, is an NFT game universe composed of several games that revolve around the unique NFT characters that dwell in it, the Bitverse heroes, which players can customize, level up, and interact with in many different ways.
Join Ian as he speaks to the team from Kongregate about blockchain gaming, NFTs, and more!
The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your research. The writer holds positions in various cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, and RADAR.