Compiled by: Blockchain Knight
It’s hard to say that we have reached a turning point in Web3 games. The number of active wallets is still less than that of a typical mobile game, let alone real human players. The revenue of no new game exceeds that of early P2E games, and funding has decreased significantly, to the point where it looks like a mistake under the hype of artificial intelligence.
However, I am more excited than ever before because Web3 games can still maintain the status quo and even show signs of growth in such a depressed market.
Virtual reality and cloud gaming have not taken off and have never received strong support from major companies during their low periods, while Web3 games have gained support from major companies in the field.
In recent months, we have seen high-profile announcements from AAA publishers such as Square Enix, Nexon, and Ubisoft, and low-profile investments from companies like Take-Two.
Existing and newly established studios have launched Web3 projects, including experienced developers such as CCP, the mastermind behind the in-game economy of EVE Online.
Google Play has just released clear guidelines for NFT applications. Even EA (Electronic Arts) has connected itself to Web3 through a collaboration program with Nike’s dotSwoosh.
So this is good news, and these positive signals indicate that people should persist and continue building.
Although no one can find the best practices and there is no successful large-scale game to refer to and imitate, there are already enough good practices to provide directions for developers, which is a good thing. In this industry where failures outnumber successes, we need as many favorable factors as possible.
However, time and time again, I see developers going the wrong way and overlooking the unique opportunities of Web3.
1. Create games for a wider audience
Many frictions arise from developers forgetting about basic player segmentation. In fact, for any free game, you need to assume that more than 90% of the audience will never spend in your game. They don’t need to own an NFT, but it would be great if they did.
Too many developers expect players to have a large number of crypto assets and NFTs when designing games, which inadvertently creates barriers for players to enter the game.
I believe there is another way to reframe this issue, which will enlighten many Web3 developers: stop developing games with the expectation of having all players join.
More than 90% of players will never spend, and among this less than 10% of players, it can be said with certainty that consumer segmentation shows that only about 2%-5% of players care whether their game items are on-chain.
All grand plans about secondary market transactions, interoperability, and all other Web3 skills you create will be loved by 2% of the audience.
They are as important as consumer players, but games need to be viewed from the perspective of 100% of consumer players and non-consumer players. If you consider this when designing, you will be more successful.
2. Not all games need to be AAA games
The average development cost of AAA games is $80 million, while “Flappy Bird” only takes one developer three days to complete.
Unless you have enough funds (and double the marketing costs), we can now dispel the idea of competing with “Hearthstone”, “Call of Duty”, and “The Legend of Zelda”, thus avoiding frustration.
When it is extremely difficult to get started, it makes sense to focus on AAA game players. You hope that those high-value people who are proficient in technology can overcome all obstacles and eventually enter your game.
But now, you can get a wallet via email and buy NFT with a credit card. Casual games have released a large number of addressable audiences, and they can be listed faster and distributed on any platform.
I am not denying the high-quality, well-polished hardcore games. They are great, necessary, and coming. However, general developers are better off seizing the opportunities brought by new seamless technologies.
3. Establish new mechanisms using the unique attributes of Web3
In EA Sports games, you buy the same player every time. But what players hate most is being told that the fun they are enjoying is “wrong” and making them feel like fools because they are repeating the same “mistake”.
So why do we forget that Web3 can bring amazing new mechanisms? It seems that we don’t pay enough attention to the positive significance of new network technologies.
Between mediocre P2E products and 3A-level Web2-to-Web3 ported products, we forget that on-chain functionality can bring interesting new possibilities for game design, and few people are exploring these possibilities. These mechanisms may bring “viral spread” and create the first Web3 game “killer application”.
I recently wrote an article introducing some undeveloped features that developers can create games that can only be completed with Web3.
What about a game built entirely around on-chain functionality? Or using dynamic NFTs to reduce the impact of items in the game. Maybe the more skin trades, the dirtier it looks?
Some of them are experimental ideas that may not be accepted by casual gamers. These mechanisms may only appeal to a certain group of paying players. However, we know that core players are willing to put in extra effort for novel and interesting things, and the timing for gameplay innovation is ripe.
For those who believe that this field has already ended, we need to remind them that some of the earliest free games were launched in 1999.
Over the years, developers disregarded them, players considered them money-making schemes and scams, and governments tried to regulate them. All of this happened in the 18 years before the release of “Fortnite”.
The waves in gaming come and go, but Web3 represents a trend, and I believe it will become the foundation of some of the greatest games in the future. I think we have already begun to see some promising themes that developers can focus on and usher in the next generation of games.